Despite HBO’s “Westworld” being canceled before season five, the principal cast will still be paid for it. The show is a modern adaptation of Michael Crichton’s 1973 film. It is a dark sci-fi odyssey about artificial consciousness and what free will really is.
While “Westworld”’s creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan had high hopes for season 5, HBO confirmed it wasn’t going to happen. “We always planned for a fifth and final season,” Nolan explained during NYCC 2022. “We are still in conversations with the network. We very much hope to make them.” It is a bummer all around that the show will not come to its planned conclusion.
It turns out the principal cast will still get paid for a season they now don’t have to shoot. Word is when contracts came up for renegotiations pre-season 4 airing, agents insisted on a “still getting paid even if the season doesn’t happen” clause. This isn’t an uncommon practice. Most productions will pay to secure a cast before a renewal decision is made, and moreso if the cast includes big names. “Westworld” boasts Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Tessa Thompson, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, and Aaron Paul. The core cast put pay-or-play deals in their contracts for season 5 during the renegotiations.
Unfortunately for HBO, season 4 received very mixed reviews, and cost more to make than it was bringing in. Not to mention HBO is part of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger debacle, which has already cost us 200 episodes of “Sesame Street” on HBO Max, as well as numerous project deaths. The cancelation came just one day after a quarterly earnings call with WBD CEO David Zaslav. “The grand experiment of creating something at any cost is over,” Zaslav ominously said.
Zaslav also detailed the company’s plans to raise the savings target to $3.5B. (Which is up $500M over their initial target goal.) The salaries the “Westworld” are owed for the nonexistent season are believed to total around $10M-$15M.
Stay tuned to Nerdbot for more cancelations as they happen.