Westworld season 2 will feature one episode in Japanese

Westworld Shogun WorldWestworld showrunners discuss more about what inspired them to feature Shogun World instead of the other existing themed-parks in the sci-fi universe.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jonathan Nolan said that choosing this new setting would be a great way to pay homage to Japanese cinema, of which he is a big fan:

“And selfishly, it comes down to being obsessed with Japanese cinema as a kid and earnestly wanting to make an homage to Akira Kurosawa and the other films I grew up watching. My older brothers and I watched Sergio Leone Westerns and Kurosawa’s classic samurai films and were fascinated to discover they had the same plot. You had this wonderful call and response between these two genres — with the gunslinger and the ronin. They have identical tropes but are set within different cultures. Frankly, this was just a great excuse to go and make a samurai movie with all the trimmings.”

“In addition to Kurosawa films, which are plenty bloody, I grew up watching the Sonny Chiba films — those are the ones Tarantino is riffing on in his films with the superfluidity of gore and mayhem; this sense of an alternately brutal and beautiful world that raises the volume on what the guests might be looking for. It wasn’t just about gore, it’s also about being immersive. We wanted to feel like our story dropped into a totally different world. Basically, we have a whole episode in Japanese.”

Lisa Joy expressed more personal reasons behind the choice:

“For me, it’s also personal. I grew up in Asia, and I remember as a little kid being in Taiwan watching films there and being so awed by these new worlds of entertainment. You saw new talents with the actors, new fighting styles, new types of wardrobe. It was exhilarating to me. So we looked to all our [department heads] to make sure we had the full thrill of exploring Shogun World … researching hair and production design and costume, working with choreographers who were skilled at fighting styles we haven’t seen before, and of course working with incredible talent, from Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi, and the other actors that we cast and the extras filling it out. It was wonderful to see that world come alive.”

Nolan adds that while we won’t be spending the entire season in Shogun World, it will be a significant setting (hence the episode in Japanese).

“We want to try and gently temper expectations. Most of our season is spent in Westworld — the eponymous Westworld. But we do get a chance to glimpse some of the other worlds. And we have a couple of episodes that are spent in Shogun World with one of our storylines, while our other storylines continue elsewhere. So I say we’re trying to temper expectations, except to say that I think the stuff we did for Shogun World is spectacular.”

Westworld season two will premiere on April 22 on HBO.

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