Game over: Westworld canceled at HBO after 4 seasons

The robot revolution will no longer be televised.

HBO has officially pulled the plug on Westworld following the Emmy-winning sci-fi drama's season 4 finale, which aired Aug. 14.

"Over the past four seasons, Lisa [Joy] and Jonah [Nolan] have taken viewers on a mind-bending odyssey, raising the bar at every step," HBO said in a statement Friday. "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."

Joy, who created the series with Nolan, previously told EW the season 4 finale was not their intended series finale, though it felt more final than past finales. "We have, like Dolores, one more story to tell — and whether we get to tell it, we'll see," she said. We now have seen, and they won't get to tell it.

Tessa Thompson in Westworld
Tessa Thompson in Westworld

HBO 'Westworld' star Tessa Thompson makes a human chair as "Chalores" in season 4.

This is one of the more high-profile cancellations in the wake of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger that left multiple projects on the cutting room floor, including the HBO Max original movie Batgirl.

Inspired by the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, Westworld premiered in 2016 with a mind-bending, multiple-timeline-oriented puzzle box story set in an adult amusement park where robot hosts are programmed to act like characters in a Wild West environment for the enjoyment of human guests. Subsequent seasons saw the robots breaking free of their programming, revolting against their human oppressors, and infiltrating the real world, prompting all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of reality and humanity's dependence on technology.

Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and Ed Harris starred on Westworld since season 1, while Tessa Thompson and Aaron Paul became more prominent in later seasons.

The series started off as a juggernaut for HBO and received nine Emmy wins and 54 total Emmy nominations over four seasons. But Westworld's ratings declined over time, and the COVID-19 pandemic also delayed production, causing a two-year gap between the season 3 finale and the season 4 premiere.

If Westworld had been renewed for season 5, Joy and Nolan would've brought the series back to where it all began.

"We always had this idea that, in the last season, we would let the person who was at the whim of other people's stories and predilections and desires be able to write a story of her own and really flip the test back," Joy told EW. "In terms of a launching pad for that [in season 5], the old regimes and the old world and a lot of the old players have been dismantled and destroyed [in season 4]. So, in this final test, what is Dolores [Wood's character] gonna do? How will the world look different? How will she, as the final tester, create a different universe in a different game and a different way?"

The answer will have to remain locked in some vault, barring a reboot 10 or 20 years down the line.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content: