Description: This science fiction western series from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy was inspired by Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973) and is set at a Wild West theme park created by Dr. Robert Ford (Sir Anthony Hopkins) with human-like androids, where guests are encouraged to indulge their fantasies and desires.
Creators: Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan
Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris
- Where life begins.
- Every hero has a code.
- Some places make you feel alive.
- Find your purpose.
- These violent delights have violent ends.
- Chaos takes control.
- Free will is not free.
- Ben Barnes (Logan) broke his foot before arriving to the first day of shooting. Being afraid of losing the job, he didn’t tell anyone, and just used the limp to look like a character choice. He then had to maintain the limp throughout filming.
- The quote “These violent delights have violent ends” is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
- Writer, producer, and director Jonathan Nolan describes this show as “the next chapter of the human story, in which we stop being protagonists.”
- During Season 1, a photo of Juliet, William’s wife, is briefly visible in a shot. This was not deliberately a photo of an actress whom showrunners intended to cast as Juliet; rather it was simply a stock image of a woman in Times Square that the props department bought from Getty Images (on the Getty website, the title of the photo is “Cab passing woman in Times Square at night” and the photographer is Eric Von Weber). However, many viewers recognized the model in the stock photo as Claire Unabia, who had appeared on the reality competition show “America’s Next Top Model,” so when the character of younger Juliet appeared during Season 2, Unabia was actually cast in the role.
- The modern songs heard on the player piano in the Mariposa Saloon and Hotel are the idea of writer, producer, and director Jonathan Nolan. Nolan and composer Ramin Djawadi explained that the covers are to remind people that the world is a theme park, and that everything is scripted. The songs are chosen by Nolan.
- Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy wanted to give the series a Blade Runner (1982) feel, and wanted to make the series much darker and more cerebral than Westworld (1973).
- Writer, producer, and director Jonathan Nolan took inspiration from video games like BioShock Infinite (2013), Red Dead Redemption (2010), and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) to deal with the narrative’s moral component on a spectrum.
- In one scene, a character refers to the only “rule” of Westworld being that you cannot die. The name of the company that runs Westworld is “Delos”, which is also the name of a Greek island, known for the earliest case of “Prohibition of Death”, a political social phenomenon and taboo, in which a law is passed stating that it is illegal to die.
- When you see the original gunslinger in the basement, the background music and noise is from Westworld (1973).
- In the below-ground storage area for decommissioned androids, you can see a globe statue at the bottom of the dilapidated escalators. An identical one was on display in the arrival area in Futureworld (1976), the sequel to Westworld (1973), the first hint that older areas of the original park have been abandoned. In fact, if you look closely at the globe, you can see the word “Delos” spelled out along the circumference, the name of the company that owns the park.
- The repetitive three-chord phrase, often heard in the background music, comes from Westworld (1973), where it underscored the Gunslinger’s slow but relentless pursuit of the hero.
- The first season was a massive success, and averaged 11.7 million viewers per episode across multiple platforms, according to HBO, the most ever for a freshman drama.
- Warner Brothers had been trying to remake Westworld (1973) since the 1990s. In 1996, Michael Crichton, the writer and director of the movie, met with J.J. Abrams, wanting him to write the screenplay, but Abrams was unable to come up with a way he thought worked. In 2000, Joel Silver was announced to be working on the remake. Silver hired Richard D’Ovidio to write the screenplay. In 2002, Arnold Schwarzenegger was announced to star in and produce the movie with John Brancato and Michael Ferris writing a new screenplay. Schwarzenegger subsequently left the project when he was elected Governor of California. In 2005, Tarsem Singh was announced as the director. In 2007, Quentin Tarantino claimed he had been offered the movie. In 2008, Billy Ray was hired to write a new screenplay. In 2013, Abrams pitched the idea of a television series to creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. As Nolan told Deadline: “J.J. came to Lisa and me with the suggestion that Westworld wasn’t to be realized as a movie, since it had been ripped off so many times, and inspired a number of science fiction films, rather a television series from the robots’ point of view.”
- Jonathan Nolan named the town Sweetwater after the farm in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), which is his favorite western.
- The train arriving at Westworld is set on a flatbed truck driving up and down State Route 128 in Utah. So when characters are looking out the train window, they’re actually looking at the Utah landscape, not a greenscreen. The showrunners chose Utah as they wanted the show, and the park, to have the feel of the vast landscapes.
- In the unaired pilot, Miranda Otto played a character named “Virginia Pittman”. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, after the pilot, producers re-conceived the role, and Otto left the show. She was replaced by Sidse Babett Knudsen, with the character now named Theresa Cullen.