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Silo Made Its Best Call Before The First Episode Even Aired

Contains spoilers for Apple TV+ show "Silo"

Apple TV+ show "Silo" has a name that immediately and effectively informs the viewer about the premise. The streaming platform's latest science fiction offering locks what little remains of humanity in a massive silo-like underground structure where they've lived for generations without any real idea of what happened to render the outside world uninhabitable, or even whether it'll ever be safe to go back outside. The show's title is a perfect descriptor of the loopy, dystopic, claustrophobic conditions inside the massive vault where the residents live under draconian rules. 

Knowing how perfect the title "Silo" is, it can be surprising to find out that the show originally bore a very different name. The series is based on Hugh Howey's book "Wool," and originally bore that title. When the Apple TV+ show received a series order in 2021, everyone from Variety to The Hollywood Reporter to Howey himself referred to it as "Wool." There is, of course, a story behind that title — but when you compare it to what Apple TV+ eventually ran with, it's clear that by dropping the "Wool" title, "Silo" made its best call before the first episode even aired.

Wool is a trick title that comes with a stealthy spoiler

Calling his self-published hit novel "Wool" was a deliberate choice from Hugh Howey, and in a 2013 blog post on his website, the author discussed his reasons for choosing it. He felt that "Wool" was a title that would stand out, but it also was a stealthy spoiler for Holston's (David Oyelowo) arc. After all, the character starts out as an enforcer of the silo's rules, with proverbial wool pulled over his eyes. It's not until his wife Allison (Rashida Jones) goes outside that he slowly starts a mission to find out what's really going on and ultimately ventures out himself, as shown in the first two episodes of the series. In other words, "Wool" may be an original and imaginative title for a book, and certainly didn't exactly hinder its success. However, TV is a far more visual medium, in which the title just doesn't make sense. Calling a sci-fi mystery show about a post-apocalyptic silo "Wool" wouldn't really work because it's both confusing and deliberately designed to subtly give away the central premise. 

Interestingly, Howey has noted that pretty much everyone from his friends to potential publishers has pushed back against the title and that he himself doesn't know how a change of title would have impacted the book. Perhaps now that the "Silo" name is attached to the series from the beginning, the author, too, gets to find out how it works in practice.

Avoiding the original novel's name allows the show to embrace the bigger picture

Though the book series "Wool" started has come to be known as the "Silo" series, the show was on the "Wool" title train for quite a while, to the point that even Apple's own March 2023 press release acknowledged the show with a "formerly known as Wool'" asterisk. So, what prompted the title change? 

One possible reason for changing the title is that the show is now reportedly based on the entire series instead of just the first book as original reports indicated. However, it's not like "Game of Thrones" changed its name when the plot moves beyond the first book in "The Song of Ice and Fire" series. As such, and considering the title's controversial history, it may very well be that the powers that be simply noted once again that "Wool" just isn't a great descriptor for a series that features very little needlework and lots and lots of concrete. Only, this time they did something about it.