Welcome back to Westworld pardner, saddle up for an existential android crisis from HBO
Jump the queue…
Book your tickets and your coffins now. The late Michael Crichton’s dino theme park is already making a genetically modified comeback: now its android- staffed predecessor – Westworld – is about have its circuits tweaked for HBO. Guests of the original park’s Western area found themselves relentlessly pursued for real by a shortcircuited bad- ass baldy gunslinger – think The Terminator meets High Noon. The experience was still better than Butlins.
The new show is going to instead be focused on the droids who populate Westworld, programmed to help the guests live out whatever fantasy they – and their vacationing consciences ( whatever happens in Westworld stays in Westworld) – want to experience. The quirk is that they don’t know they’re androids, being reset after each visit has played out: yup, we’re in Dollhouse territory here, with a huge existential dollop of Blade Runner.
The Nolan Brother
The philosophy of AI? Scientific soulsearching? Epic action? Sounds tailormade for Jonathan Nolan – Christopher’s brother and co- writer of Interstellar and The Dark Knight – who’s writing and executive producing the show. His fellow Westworld producer is one JJ Abrams, and the show is operating under the usual Bad Robot shutthehellup levels of security: many Bothans died to bring you the following information…
Undergoing an existential crisis is cowgirl-next- door Dolores Abernathy and lovestruck pistol-packer Teddy Flood – played by Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden. The pair are forever destined to have a guest come between them, as love- rival Teddy must be defeated before the victor can see Dolores in the saddle. This pattern is stuck on repeat until Dolores uncovers the truth.
The man i n the sky
The man behind Dolores, Teddy and the rest of Westworld’s menegerie of characters is Dr Robert Ford, played in a spectacular casting coup by Anthony Hopkins. Although, let’s be serious, we’re envisioning an episode nine Ned Stark- style exit for the expensive elderly legend.
Dr Ford isn’t running Westworld on his tod. His backroom staff – complete with their own agendas and rivalries – are also supplying their share of drama: the team include Jeffrey Wright, as head of programming Bernard Lowe, and Miranda Otto as Virginia Pittman, the ambitious head of Quality Assurance, whose job title will be an oxymoron by the end of the series.
Semi- fleshing out Westworld for visitors are a whole cast of character- types for guests to interact with. These include locale madame Maeve Miller ( Thandie Newton), her most popular attraction Clementine Pennyfeather ( Angela Sarafyan) and bandits like Harlan Bell ( Rodrigo Santoro). Don’t expect to see too much of the other alternative worlds from the original movie – Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, the Future – so HBO’s blood- splattered Rome set will have to stay in mothballs.
Bald, black, bad, back…
Of course, the big question is whether the proto- T800 Man in Black is back, and we’re not talking about Johnny Cash. And yes, the villainous gunslinger will be once again be talking trash and prompting gunfights in saloons across Westworld, with suitably slap-headed Ed Harris taking on the role made iconic by Yul Brynner. Get the boy a bib…
When to expect i t?
Westworld will air from autumn 2015.
Building the “perfect” androids. Ooh yeah, it certainly ain’t “Eastworld”. Westworld: where nothing can possibly go wronggg…
Will Ed Harris be as stoney silent as Yul Brynner was?