HBO fans Westworld received a shock late last week when the award-winning dystopian sci-fi drama was canceled before its fifth season. Despite that winding plots and a thrilling commentary on humanity versus artificial intelligence, Westworld was apparently the victim of an aggressive cost-cutting mandate issued by the network. The show’s big budget, combined with declining ratings over the past two seasons, proved to be its downfall, but it turns out the A+ cast members are still going to get paid.
Deadline reports that WestworldThe cast of have had “pay or play offers” for season 5, guaranteeing the cast – which includes Aaron Paul, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson and Jeffrey Wright – will always paid, despite the cancellation. The site reports that contracts may have been renegotiated ahead of Season 4, and networks offering such guarantees to their cast aren’t unusual, especially for ensemble casts that might otherwise be difficult to pull together.
HBO is expected to pay the cast $10-15 million, which is still much more financially feasible than paying for another season, because THR reports that Season 4 cost “at least $160 million” to make what turned out to be its final eight episodes.
Despite grades for Westworld dropping for 2020’s Season 3, and dropping another two years later upon his return from pandemic-related delays, co-creator Jonathan Nolan said he still had plans for a fifth and final season. It’s terribly frustrating for the fans, including myself, to know that there was a plan that would bring the often confusing stories to a conclusion, and now we’ll probably never see that play out.
Over its four seasons, the series racked up 54 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning nine trophies. There’s no doubt that the HBO drama has made its mark on the television world, with another good landmark being the fact that it’s been brilliantly parodied in The simpsons‘Annual Halloween episode “Treehouse of Horror” this year.
As the cast will still receive a check from HBO, we can follow them through their other projects. Evan Rachel Wood can currently be seen with a picture-perfect portrayal of Madonna on The Roku Channel’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. And after Teddy’s surprising return to Westworld Season 4, you can take a look at one of James Marsden’s best movies and TV shows.
There may not be more Divine stories on the way, but the first four seasons of Westworld are still available to stream to fans with an HBO Max subscription. You can also check out some of the best original series from HBO Max and see what’s coming to cable and streaming for the rest of the year with our 2022 TV schedule.