While HBO already canceled Westworld after Season 4, some fans are still hopeful that a Season 5 is in the cards.
HBO's American dystopian science fiction series first premiered on the network on October 2, 2016. It was then renewed for consecutive seasons in April 2018, March 2020, and June 2022 respectively.
Westworld's debut on HBO was a widespread success since it received the network's highest viewership ratings for a premiere since True Detective's first episode. More so, Westworld Season 1 is the most-watched first season of any HBO original series in history.
However, reception for Westworld went downhill from there.
HBO Already Canceled Westworld
In November 2022, HBO, via Variety, announced that Westworld will be canceled after Season 4.
In an official statement, the network expressed how they were "tremendously grateful" to the work of showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy while also giving high praise to the show's cast, producers, and crew:
“Over the past four seasons, Lisa and Jonah have taken viewers on a mind-bending odyssey, raising the bar at every step.
We are tremendously grateful to them, along with their immensely talented cast, producers and crew, and all of our partners at Kilter Films, Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television. It’s been a thrill to join them on this journey.”
The series was then removed from HBO Max on December 18, 2022.
Will Westworld Season 5 Be Released?
Unfortunately, Westworld Season 5 will not premiere on HBO after being canceled.
Considering the low viewership numbers and its insanely high budget, there is virtually a 0% chance that Season 5 will be developed.
What Was Westworld Producers' Original Plan For Season 5?
In October 2022, Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy told Variety that they had plans for the show to end with Season 5, noting that they had "always conceived of a fifth and final season" for the series.
Back then (which was a month before Westworld's cancellation), Nolan said that they were "still in conversations" with HBO about the series' fate.
Why the Cast Will Still Receive Salaries for Westworld Season 5
Despite the cancellation, Deadline reported in November 2022 that the core Westworld cast will still be paid for Season 5 due to their "pay-or-play deals."
The outlet's sources noted that the actors' options came up sometime in 2021 before Season 4 had aired and they were reportedly exercised. Deadline also mentioned that the cast "might have renegotiated their deals" during that time.
This move was not unusual as per Deadline since networks (in this case, HBO) sometimes pay to secure a cast member before a renewal decision is made, especially if the ensemble is star-studded.
The salaries the cast is reportedly owed for Westworld Season 5 are "believed to total in the $10M-$15M range."
In Season 3, Westworld's budget was $100 million, totalling about $10 million per episode. Proceeding with Season 5 would've cost HBO "north of $80M" according to Deadline.
Why Did HBO Cancel Westworld?
In the midst of Westworld's cancellation in November 2022, Deadline shared that HBO decided to pull the plug on the series due to its low viewership numbers and high cost.
After a stellar first season, Westworld's ratings have declined steadily throughout its run.
Among critics, Westworld had a slight improvement in reviews from Season 3 to Season 4, with its Rotten Tomatoes score having increased from 73% to 75%.
However, fans had been vocal about Westworld's dense mythology and complex storylines that had become harder to follow, and this was further reflected in the show's viewership numbers.
Interestingly, Westworld's cancellation came a day after Warner Bros. Discovery's quarterly earnings report. During that call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced plans to raise the company's savings target to $3.5 billion, which was $500 million over its initial target.
The first four seasons of Westworld are available to purchase on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Blu-ray.