HBO’s expensive television update of Michael Crichton’s Westworld has traveled a long and arduous journey in getting to audiences’ living rooms. Originally slated for a 2015 release date, the series was put on hiatus so that the creators could “get ahead of the writing.” This came as some surprise, after the series received a green light from HBO following a pilot episode that was originally filmed in 2013. Nevertheless, the production trudged on, experiencing various hiccups along the way, including a borderline scandal with regard to extras and the alleged explicit material they were being asked to participate in.
Despite the setbacks and the charges of racy material coming from the stalled production, anticipation for the sci-fi series seems to have increased since the release of the first trailer. That tease was released quite a while ago, and it offered audiences a glimpse at what was in store for them, including Anthony Hopkins as a scientist, as well as James Marsden and Rachel Evan Wood in an old west setting, from which the series gets its title.
For those who are unacquainted with either Crichton’s novel or the 1973 film of the same name, the premise follows a futuristic theme park wherein lifelike robots help create the old west for tourists eager to experience life as a cowboy or settler. Much like Jurassic Park, things go awry and the robots run amok. But Nolan’s update of the series is said to be “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin,” which affords the series more to explore as it becomes the next big thing for HBO.
Now, after many months of waiting and story upon story about the delays the series has faced – rather than, you know, concrete details about the show and a firm premiere date – HBO is ready to get the Westworld train back on track, releasing a new trailer ahead of the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season 6, ‘Battle of the Bastards.’ And according to Nolan during a recent panel at the ATX festival in Austin, the success of GoT was something of a template Westworld used on its admittedly long journey to becoming a reality.
As reported by IGN, Nolan described the challenges of making the series by saying the following:
“It was actually Game of Thrones that made us feel like we could pull this off. The 30-second pitch for Westworld was that we were sort of making Days of Heaven and Alien simultaneously and then putting them together. Which is kind of my dream project, right? Exploring two genres simultaneously and playing with the juxtaposition of both. It’s fantastic. And HBO felt like the only place we could make this. And Game of Thrones was really the inspiration for us. Game of Thrones had this commitment to practical production value, which is not necessarily what’s in play these days.”
As you can see in the trailer above, the series is first and foremost visually striking, with Ed Harris’ Man in Black serving as both an antagonist for the unaware AIs running through the simulation and a problem for his creators, Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard Lowe (played by the great Jeffrey Wright). So far, the series seems to be playing up the violence that marked the old west and likely serves as a major draw for those eager to participate in the attractions that Westworld has to offer. But it also raises some interesting questions about the nature of the violence and the permanence of death – is it all for show, or is something more sinister going on? – as some of the characters seem to meet their end in grisly fashion.
Then there’s the question of artificial life forms and what purpose they serve, especially when they appear to be achieving some sense of self-awareness. Wood’s Dolores raises this question by saying, throughout the trailer all of which is undermined when another AI (maybe) is questioned on whether or not she’s “real” – whatever that means in this strange and fascinating-looking series.
Screen Rant will have more details for you on Westworld as they are made available.
Source: HBO, IGN