Jonathan Nolan & J.J. Abrams Bringing ‘Westworld’ Remake to HBO

Published 2 years ago by

Westworld Poster Jonathan Nolan & J.J. Abrams Bringing Westworld Remake to HBO

Writer-director Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi-western Westworld still boasts one of the most high-concept premises of all time: “A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.” Such a genre mashup was rare for its time period, and the image of The Magnificent Seven star Yul Brynner as a robotic gunslinger has become (sort of) iconic.

Warner Bros. has been trying to remake Westworld for years, and now Variety reports that The Dark Knight Rises co-writer Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) are teaming up to turn the property into a TV series for HBO, to be produced by Jerry Weintraub (Behind the Candelabra) and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions.

HBO has committed to producing the pilot, which will be directed by Nolan, who is also co-writing with his wife, Lisa Joy (Burn Notice). The remake series sounds like it will dig a fair bit deeper into the AI themes than the original, and will be “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”

westworld robot yul brynner Jonathan Nolan & J.J. Abrams Bringing Westworld Remake to HBO

This project marks the next series collaboration between Nolan and Bad Robot, who are entering season 3 of CBS’s hit series Person of Interest. HBO’s pilot commitment denotes their faith in Westworld, which was followed up by a movie sequel, Futureworld and a short-lived TV series, Beyond Westworld.

Much like ’70s cult-sci-fi favorite Logan’s Run, launching a Westworld remake has faced years of obstacles. Names like Mirror Mirror director Tarsem Singh, Quentin Tarantino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Russell Crowe have all been attached at one point, with producer Jerry Weintraub now looking to TV as his best bet to get this long-gestating project off the ground.

Check out the wonderfully-70′s trailer for the original Westworld movie below:

Westworld has a much lower profile than J.J. Abrams’ other two famous sci-fi properties (his rebooted Star Trek franchise and a little film called Star Wars: Episode VII), but it’s another chance to put some kind of fingerprint on a property which still somehow resonates throughout geek culture, even if its been on the margins for decades. The original film has its campy (yet weirdly sinister) pleasures, but expect Jonathan Nolan to put a grounded, somewhat realistic spin on the premise.

Still, the last time Hollywood combined two venerable genres, the world was treated to Cowboys & Aliens. However, that film didn’t have the DNA of the late, great Michael Crichton behind it, and under the guidance of Nolan and Abrams – and within the anything-goes realm of HBO – this updated Westworld will definitely be worth checking out.


Expect more news on HBO’s Westworld series as details emerge.

Source: Variety

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
TAGS: Westworld
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  1. Crazy.

  2. Not to sound like I am griping, but doesn’t Abrams have enough on his plate as it is. Star Wars. Secret show he is involved in, then this. The man is going to run himself into the ground one of these days.

    • He’s only the creator, which basically means he doesn’t have to write or direct, just develop (which looks to be nearing completion).

    • Is J.J. Abrams the new Aaron Spelling or just the reincarnated version of him? This man is into everything.

  3. I always thought Westworld and Logan’s Run would make for good remakes. Surprised neither has been done yet.

    Tired of JJ Abrams, though.

    • I’ve been waiting for a remake of Westworld and Logan’s Run (I thought they were doing a remake of Logan’s Run. I wonder what happen?) and also Rollerball ( not talking about that terrible remake they did a while back).

    • Love both of those movies and have been waiting for remakes, but not necessarily a bad remake.

  4. This sounds awesome. Westworld was a great movie (that inspired Terminator) and would make a great series.

  5. I am 100 percent down for this. The premise sounds weird and different and it’s being written by Jonathan Nolan, how can I say no?

  6. Ha, this news comes just as I finished re-watching the 2nd season of Person of Interest. Seriously people, watch this show. Absolutely amazing, and doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves.

    • Isn’t their viewcount each episode like 15 million?

      • Even with its high ratings, no one ever talks about it. Also the panel at comic-con this year was not well attended. Though it is a sci-fi show, it gets no geek cred. Utterly amazing show. Less than a month till season 3!!!!!!

    • Best show on Network television.
      With one cool Jim Caviezel
      its charismatic center.

      • Agreed! Very well written and acted!

  7. Question is now, what current actor could possibly top or equal Yul Brenners performance as the Gunslinger

    The only one i could see in the role is Mark Strong

    • I think Neal McDonough can be the Gunslinger. He scares me when his hair is blond. I don’t know why, but he was absolutely creepy in an episode of Law and Order. Mark Strong could be a good one too. But what about Javier Bardem? I still have nightmares about him from No Country fold Old Men. But you are correct, no one could top or equal Yul Brenner’s performance.

  8. Westworld was ahead of its time.
    Done right it could be done better now
    given all the advancements in technology.

    Jonathan Nolan has quite the track record
    and anything he is involved in is quality.

  9. This story and video keep freezing! I remember WW back in the day, will have to rewatch it again on Netflix. Always liked Brenner! I could handle a reboot with bigger better special effects!

  10. Why the hell didnt he just do the Dark Tower series? It brings about the same level of complications as this film will.

  11. I just watched Westworld on Netflix a couple weeks ago. What a coincidence.

  12. High concept?

    Wow have standards fallen

    • Very high concept, considering the year it was made.

    • It was made 40 years ago, fool!

  13. Just saw this movie for the first time like a week ago on either Sundance or IFC, can’t remember, but it was a good flick. The remake probably won’t be very good, but I will watch anyways.

  14. Completely disinterest until ‘HBO’ cropped up. Now I am like a dog tilting his head slightly, wondering if I did actually hear a word I recognise.

    • Ha, similar to my reaction. Westworld and Nolan register somewhat, but Abrams does not pique my interest much. However, HBO…mmmaybe could be good.

  15. There is NOTHING that could be added to the movie.. It says what it says, it was a thing of its time.

    There’s NO REASON WHATSOEVER for a reboot/remake.. its just a cashgrab, because it has a repuation to cash in on.

    Yet another sign of Hollywood’s creative bankrupsy.

    • All movies are made to grab cash, as no one intends for them to lose money…but I agree that Hollywood has few original ideas these days.

    • I watched WW & Future World about a year ago after not seeing them for donkey’s years, and if you want to experience the story go back and watch the original. Other than the overly clunky computers (which personally I love) it’s aged well.

      FW wasn’t so great, as once you’ve seen the first one, there’s not much else to do with the plot.

      And that’s why a TV series won’t work very well. It will either become jam packed with pointless plots & people or it will be (another) one of those shows that’s 10% story, 90% close-ups & action each week. It will inch along.

      There’s only *so* much you can do with a killer robot in a theme park and 90 minutes is all it takes to do it.

      I hope this goes the same way as the Logan’s Run remake. They’re both pointless in the extreme for me.

      I’d rather Abrams concentrated on SW & ST rather than doing all these little side projects.

      • In all fairness there was already a WestWorld TV show called ‘Delos’… it died for EXACTLY the reasons you state.

  16. Ha, this news comes just as I finished re-watching the 2nd season of Person of Interest. Seriously people, watch this show. Absolutely amazing, and doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves.

    • ummmm, what? copy and paste my comment much? is this some weird spambot? am I being punk’d?

      • Yes, it’s a spambot, Huntress. The same type of repost has happened to me.
        The spambots are getting more and more sophisticated evading filtering systems.

        • Oh good, I was afraid it was going to become this type of situation:

          • Now that is hilarious, Huntress.

            I have not seen that before
            and you made my night_:)

  17. ‘Ya had me at “Jonathan Nolan & J.J. Abrams”
    Count me in!

    • Exactly.

    • And this is why we can’t get anything nice… They are probably two of the worst directors in existance.good directors have range, those two are one trick poines.. Mr Grimdark and Mr Lensflare.

      It’s the SUBJECT MATTER people enjoy… these a**holes just get linked to it by default.

  18. If it’s good enough to inspire a Simpsons episode, it’s alright by me. Should be interesting to see what they do with it.

  19. wow is that the original trailer? talk about ahead of it’s time…even had the freakin “WHAAAMMMM” thing in there lol

  20. I remember this movie, I loved it. Very cool concept. I don’t know who can pull off Yul Brenner level though.

    • Especially with a continuing series and not a film where
      maybe you could get a Russell Crowe who could do it.

      Crowe already played a virtual-reality serial killer
      that managed to escape into the real world in
      a move called Virtuosity back in the 90s.

      Yul Brenner looked ominous standing
      still motionless like a coiled spring.

      • Yul was the first “terminator”.

        • :D Yeah, come to think of it. Good call, Jeff.

        • How in the bloody hell did such a comparison escape me? !? +100000

          • I wouldn’t be surprised if Brenner in Westworld
            was the actual inspiration for The Terminator.

            • That was my thinking…if not an overt inspiration, then at least in someone’s subconscious after seeing the film.

              Yul was the first, but Arnold took it to a “whole ‘nother level”.

              • Yes, the original Terminator is a sc-fi classic.
                One of the all-time best. Part horror film too.

              • Moreso than you think. The Terminators was originally supposed to be an average looking person, not the hulking behemoth it ended up being. James Cameron’s original concept art is of Lance Henrickson as terminator.

                • Right. And Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in
                  T2 was more the original concept there.

                  • If I recall correctly, I believe Arnold was originally supposed to be the hero in the film, but after discussion with Cameron, it was decided that he would be the Terminator. A good choice, in my mind, because his accent and physique added to the role. I also liked T2, but the series fell apart after the second one.

                    • I seem to recall that too, Jeff.
                      In fact I think it was Arnold’s
                      idea to switch the roles up.

          • And Michael Crichton’s book, of course.

  21. I remember there was A brief TV show called Beyond West World. One disgruntled worker at the Delos co. caused the disaster at the park. Then escaped with 100 robots trying to cause trouble world wide. I believe it lasted about five eps. then vanished.

  22. This is gonna be just as confusing as lost i’ll bet

  23. I, for one, welcome and all Nolan/Abrams collaborations.

  24. How much unnecessary sex and nudity will they jam into the first episode? And will it have incest and little people?

    Maybe Sean Bean will die again.

  25. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

  26. people, people, people, let me get one thing clear for all of you who say, ”i cant help thinking JJ Abrams is taking on too much” and ” how does jj find all this time in between doing star wars”. Just because it says JJ Abrams and bad robot are developing something does not mean JJ Abrahms is involved at all, Bad Robot is a company of many employees and im sure by now he has come across the concept of delegation. Do you think when Nike announce a new kit deal with a football team (or soccer as you americans like to call it) the CEO of nike is frantically scribbling away in his garage thinking ”jesus another kit i have to design, this will be the 4000th this year”. Try and apply a bit of reality to your comments, i understand a lot of you may be young kids (i think this more and more with every post i read) but use some common sense please!!!!!

  27. Fantastic!!! I’ve been waiting for this franchise to be restarted for years. And there is a lot of potential in exploring other possible robot-worlds besides the Wild West (i.e., Roman World, Medieval World, etc.). Hearing J.J. Abrams’ name attached to it makes me a little nervous though.

  28. They should do a remake of The Partridge Family where the family are literally animatronic partridges who gain self-awareness and turn on their greedy band manager, escaping with their sympathetic maintenance technician into the underworld of twenty-second century Cleveland.

  29. Huh, this is so weird. I thought Nicolas Winding Refn was gonna direct Logan’s Run? What happened to that one?

    • after “Only God Forgives” do you even have to ask?

      • Yes we have to ask. Only God Forgives and many of Refn’s early films are dedicated to filmmaker Alexandria Jodorowsky. Once you see his films, you will understand that style. Not saying it will make more sense or change your preference in his style, but it makes more sense overall.

        Personally, Only God Forgives is one of my favorite films of this year. I love the odd, quiet, beautiful visuals of the film. Was it flawed? God yes, but it was definitely great.