The premiere of HBO’s highly anticipated new series Westworld is rapidly approaching, and details about the show continue to trickle in. One of the more intriguing questions about the new version of Westworld, which is based on the 1973 movie of the same name, is the scope and depth of the reboot as compared to the original.
The plot of the new Westworld, which follows a futuristic theme park where humans interact with uncannily life-like automatons, will certainly be more expansive in its plot lines than the original movie directed by Michael Crichton. One way to get an idea of exactly how the show plans to expand is in the promotional materials and episode titles/descriptions released before the premiere, many of which are now available.
HBO recently released descriptions for episodes 2-5 of the first season, along with a series of images from the October 2 premiere. The description of the pilot episode, appropriately titled ‘The Original,’ was already released and reveals little details beyond what was already known — besides that “the park’s head of programming is alarmed by subtle changes in some of their main attractions,” an oblique way of saying things are about to go wrong. Fresh photos from the premiere show Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford, the creative director of Westworld, his underground facilities where his automatons are created, and other characters that may or may not be robots.
Episode 2 is set to air October 9 and is titled ‘Chestnut’:
“A pair of guests, first-timer William (Jimmi Simpson) and repeat visitor Logan (Ben Barnes), arrive at Westworld with different expectations and agendas. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Quality Assurance head Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious. Meanwhile, behavior engineer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) tweaks the emotions of Maeve (Thandie Newton), a madam in Sweetwater’s brothel, in order to avoid a recall. Cocky programmer Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) pitches his latest narrative to the team, but Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has other ideas. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence (Clifton Collins, Jr.), to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.”
Episode 3 will air October 16 and is titled ‘The Stray’:
Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) head into the hills in pursuit of a missing host. Teddy (James Marsden) gets a new backstory, which sets him off in pursuit of a new villain, leaving Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) alone in Sweetwater. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) investigates the origins of madness and hallucinations within the hosts. William (Jimmi Simpson) finds an attraction he’d like to pursue and drags Logan (Ben Barnes) along for the ride.
Episode 4 will air October 23 and is titled ‘Dissonance Theory’:
Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) joins William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) on a bounty hunt in the badlands. The Man in Black (Ed Harris), with Lawrence (Clifton Collins, Jr.) in tow, finds a critical clue in his search to unlock the maze. Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) discuss the future of the park. Maeve (Thandie Newton) is troubled by a recurring vision.
Finally, Episode 5 (the midway point for the season) will air October 30 and is titled ‘Contrapasso’:
Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) reach Pariah, a town built on decadence and transgression — and are recruited for a dangerous mission. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) meets an unlikely ally in his search to unlock the maze.
Based on these descriptions, it sounds like the Man in Black is the first robot to truly go rogue while both humans and fellow automatons end up searching for him, all while Dr. Ford struggles to keep his park under control.
The risk that any TV adaptation from a movie takes is stretching itself too thin. Westworld executive producer J.J. Abrams certainly has a pedigree for creating complex, expansive television, but turning an 88-minute movie into a 10-hour (at minimum) TV show is a proposition that will require plenty of organic plot and character development ideas. The new Westworld already looks technically and visually impressive, as indicated by the new photos and trailers, but the story itself will be paramount for the show to not only match the quality of the original but transcend it. It will need a more compelling story than the short-lived Beyond Westworld, which lasted only three episodes on CBS in the 1980s.
Westworld premieres Sunday, October 2 @9pm on HBO.