HBO’s Westworld is in full-on promotional mode ahead of its October premiere. The unique sci-fi/western hybrid looks to build off the classic 1973 big-screen original, written and directed by legendary author Michael Crichton, and based on the talent involved and the previews that have been released, the new TV adaptation of Westworld promises an immersive environment, stunning visuals, and complex characters – including androids.
J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan appear to have created a setting even more sprawling than that revealed in the original Westworld and, with a full ten episodes at their disposal, plan to dive even deeper into the themes that Crichton explored in his version of Westworld and in many of his later works, most notably Jurassic Park. The volatile relationship between humans and technology, and the very nature of reality itself, will be heavily explored in the new Westworld, as evidenced by the already-released previews – and a new behind-the-scenes clip accompanying it.
In addition to a fresh 30-second teaser for the upcoming premiere, HBO has also shared a behind-the-scenes video featuring commentary from Abrams and Nolan themselves, in addition to several major players in the show’s deep, impressive cast. Nolan succinctly describes Westworld as “a classic full-boat western meets a science fiction film,” as classic Western themes and aesthetics merge with the underlying technological and scientific advancements from Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) that helped create Westworld’s hyper-advanced pseudo-theme park.
As it does through much of the late Crichton’s work, technology and science play a significant role in the unraveling of the story as its continued intersections with human nature paint a bleak picture of what is possible when humans take such advancements too far and lose control of their own creations. “When you open it up, there are these great emotional questions talking about our greatest fears, our greatest passions, and how we behave when those are challenged,” Abrams says in the video. Hopkins as Dr. Ford utters in a clip from the preview the very Crichton-esque line, “You can’t play God without being acquainted with the Devil.”
Also hearkening back to Crichton’s original film is the idea of an uprising among the theme park’s android characters, most notably from “The Man in Black” (Ed Harris), ostensibly a nod to “The Gunslinger” played by Yul Brynner in the 1973 original. “You’ve always been a prisoner. I’m here to set you free,” the Man in Black says in the teaser to Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), a fellow android who says in another clip, “I feel spaces opening up inside me, like a building with rooms I’ve never explored.”
Considering Abrams and Nolan’s involvement and the talented actors on screen, Westworld clearly has great potential as it appears to draw heavily from its source material and expand the story’s reach even further than previously imagined. “We were interested in a moment in which humans are able to create their own realities, and control them and populate them and interact with them however they choose,” says Nolan in the behind-the-scenes preview. “What happens to a place where you live without limits, supposedly consequence-free?”
Westworld premieres October 2nd on HBO.