What’s happening and what’s coming for Westworld

westworld-2The Westworld showrunners discuss the complex history of developing the show for HBO, the relevant themes it will explore, and their plans for possible future seasons.

The first season of HBO’s sci-fi drama, Westworld, is about to premiere and already it’s making quite a buzz. But the road to the making of this series, based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, has been a long and arduous one. An article on Deadline details the history behind the adaptation, as well as the thoughts of the executive producer J.J. Abrams and showrunners Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest) and Lisa Joy.

According to Deadline, HBO committed to a pilot for Westworld as early as August 2013, and since then it has made heavy investments on the show, including a two-month production hiatus to give the showrunners enough time to give the season a truly epic finale. The show boasts an all star cast including Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, and Ben Barnes.

westworld-poster-2The 1973 film focused on a Western-themed park where a gunslinger robot (played by Yul Brynner) goes berserk on the guests. The Westworld show will focus more on the robots’ point of view, and on how the human guests have been abusing the androids in their pursuit of their pleasures. But like the film, the show will be exploring similar themes that are resonant in this day and age too: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and technology that begins to take control of our lives in dark and dangerous ways.

Nolan told Deadline:

J.J. came to Lisa and I with the suggestion that Westworld wasn’t to be realized as a movie since it had been ripped off so many times and inspired a number of sci-fi films, rather a TV series from the robots’ point of view….[the human guests] are the dark, malevolent, unstoppable forces of evil.

Joy explained:

These guests take the robots for granted; that their actions don’t matter. But then we see that there’s something happening with the robots, and from that point of view we examine human nature, and question the actions that the guests are taking. What does this say about us?

As for potential avenues for any future seasons, considering the film had other settings like Roman World and Medieval World, there are endless possibilities. Nolan said:

The film’s story was virtually limitless and so is television at this moment with audiences enjoying shows that break out of their traditional story structures…. We definitely look to fully exploit that aspect of storytelling in Westworld!

Don’t miss the premiere of Westworld on October 2 on HBO.

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