In 2016, HBO released the sci-fi Westworld and fans enjoyed the ambitious take on the 1973 classic. Artificial intelligence, robot intercourse, and deception are just a few of the themes that make the show successful. As the series shaped up, viewers got ensnared by the mystery of the Old West-inspired theme park. Theories circulated on the web. Some of them ended up being correct but something is irrefutably true is the allure of Westworld. With the new season upon us, here are all the exciting facts from season one that you might have missed.
There Is No Westworld Without Game Of Thrones
Another huge HBO series helped pave the way for Westworld. Game of Thrones set precedence by pushing TV boundaries on many levels. One thing it did for Westworld is open the door for the portrayal of alternate universes.
Co-creator and director Jonathan Nolan is open about the influence Game of Thrones had on Westworld. Fans were not accustomed to the cinematic visual style on the small screen until Game of Thrones came along, and Westworld was primed to continue that trend.
A Nolan Direction
If the pilot seemed different than the rest of the episodes, there is a good reason for it. Christopher Nolan’s younger brother Jonathan Nolan directed the pilot for Westworld. The Dark Knight director has a long list of great films under his belt, and now he can add Westworld to his list.
Jonathan shares screenwriting credit with Christopher movies like The Dark Knight Rises, Prestige, Interstellar, and more. Jonathan has a hunch for dark themes, so this show made sense for him.
Newton Preferred Skin Over The Corset
Thandie Newton plays the robotic but lifelike brothel madam. The veteran actress brings an added spark to the series as she begins to question the reality of the world. In one interview, she discusses her wardrobe and reveals why she liked her nude scenes better than when she wore the corset.
Newton said, “I couldn’t wait to get out of that [expletive] corset.” She felt more comfortable in her nude scenes saying the crew and cast were “really respectful and in awe of my bravery.”
The Stars Were Kept In The Dark
Westworld characters are continually learning something new about themselves as the show progresses. The “hosts” and others who are a part of the fictional world slowly come to learn they are not a part of reality.
The showrunners wouldn’t tell the actors more than what their characters believed in that moment of filming. Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris didn’t know the full story, and this made the show more realistic according to showrunners.
Tarantino Was Considered
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We’ve learned who directed the pilot, but someone else got asked to do that too. Since Westworld is western based and that happens to be one of the most popular genres, HBO knew who would be perfect for directing the pilot.
Quentin Tarantino made the shortlist for what would have been a playground for him. The talented director would have had the whole western world at his disposal but politely declined the offer, leaving the floor open for Nolan to handle the pilot.
Theresa Cullen Was Almost…
Dominique Charriau/Le Film Francais/WireImage
The head of operations at Westworld is Theresa Cullen. She makes sure the park stays held in check, and everything stays on script. Actress Sidse Babett Knudsen fills this role with grace, but another person had been originally cast to play Cullen.
Casting announcements had Mirando Otto set to play that role. You might know her from the Lord of the Rings or Homeland, where she portrayed Allison Carr. Due to a Showtime series commitment, Otto had to withdraw from Westworld in 2015.
It’s almost like the Hemsworth brothers are in every big TV show and movie since the first Hunger Games. It’s not surprising given how handsome and built they are. If you ever had to take second look because Westworld a character looked like a Hemsworth, you are correct.
Luke Hemsworth plays security chief Ashley Stubbs. He is in charge of watching the interactions between those in the park and the real guests who paid thousands of dollars to have fantasy fun.
Keep Acting If You Don’t Want To Be Replaced
We’ve more than likely all heard stories of people who work through injuries. It’s common in the sports world, but it was happening Westworld as well! Ben Barnes did his best to perform while injured and might have pulled it off.
Barnes broke his foot. He opted to keep it a secret out of fear he’d lose his job. Next thing you know, Barnes’ character started off with a limp. “I then tried to maintain it for the next year, so I could pretend it was a choice,” Barnes said.
Alice In Wonderland Inspiration
Towards the start of the series, Jefferey Wright (Bernard) gives Dolores an Alice In Wonderland book that she starts to read out loud. This plot move was more or less a foreshadowing of her character’s development as the show moved on.
A lot of her dialogue drew similarities to the book after that point. Alice says in the book, “I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different.” This theme is prevalent with Dolores as she questions her reality.
Game Of Thrones Connection
It makes sense that Game of Thrones and Westworld get compared often. They share the same network, and both are full of adult behavior and violence. Another thing the two share is music.
Both series have the same composer of their opening titles. Ramin Djawadi is the man behind the music. He also has credits from Pacific Rim, Iron Man, and Batman Begins. Batman Begins is where he first met Jonathan Nolan. They kept close and now work together again years later.
Westworld draws inspiration from a lot of classics. This next one might have been picked up by literature fans who enjoy this show. As the series carries on, the hosts become diseased with a virus.
The virus makes victims question reality and lash out uncharacteristically. One phrase they say that might sound familiar is “these violent delights have violent ends.” That line is from the timeless Romeo and Juliet! When Dolores utters this line, it sends chills down your spine.
A Giant Twist
One of the biggest shocks in the series is learning who Bernard is. Throughout the series, he appeared to be an essential piece of the show. He’s close with Dr. Robert Ford, a co-creator of Westworld and the Park Director.
What we didn’t know is that Bernard is a robot! Some clues got sprinkled around in a few of the episodes, but for the most part, fans were oblivious to this mind-blowing discovery. Bernard got made in the image of the other co-creator, Arnold, who got murdered by Dolores years ago.
The Price Is Steep
The appeal of this western park is greater than one can imagine. This isn’t your regular vacation — you can go off into a completely different realm and do almost whatever you like. If you think it’s expensive to travel another country, try going to a fantasy land.
The standard rate for one day in the park will cost you around $40,000. And some of these people are staying longer than a day, so the price goes up to approximately six figures. You have to be rolling in the cash to enjoy the Westworld park.
Westworld Isn’t The First
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Westworld isn’t the first series that attempted to bring Michael Crichton’s robot premise to the small screen. The success Westworld gathers is nothing like what Beyond Westworld in the ’80s did.
CBS gave us the sci-fi drama about a Delos worker trying to prevent the company’s scientist from taking over the world with robots. The show had many flaws, and because of this it only lasted three episodes. HBO learned from that and capitalized amazingly.
A Jurassic Start
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Westworld has some Jurassic-level beginnings. The renowned filmmaker Michael Crichton gifted the world with Jurassic Park. He also created the first Westworld to come out in theaters which inspired the TV series.
There’s a clever Jurassic Park reference in the show that you’ll catch if you pay close enough attention. The scene in question is derivative of the dinosaur movie. When a host technician tries his shot at developing, you see him trying to revive a bird. This scene has Jurassic Park written all over it.
A Fly On The Wall
An insect despised by all is the fly. Flies bother us for one reason, but they played an important role in Westworld. The fly served as a symbol of the imminent destruction about to fall upon the land. In the pilot, Deloras has one crawl across her face, but there’s more to it.
We hope you didn’t think that the fly had been CGI. Evan Rachel Wood shed some light on that scene in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. She said, “We weren’t even allowed to harm a fly on set…. the one crawling on my face, not the one in my eye, obviously, but the fly on my face [was real]. They have fly wranglers. This is someone’s job.”
Raise The Budget
Westworld already breaks the norm for regular TV shows by being shot in such a cinematic way. It also pushes boundaries by not conforming to regular budgets. It isn’t a blockbuster movie so you wouldn’t expect for the first ten episodes to have a budget of $100 million, but it did.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the pilot episode received 25 percent of that budget. That means one episode cost more to make than some of your favorite low-budget movies. HBO is all in on this series.
Double The Sites
If you’re not ahead in the marketing world these days, then you’re behind. People are constantly looking for the “next” thing and marketing helps bring that to them directly. Westworld took an interesting approach to their websites.
Outside from the HBO homepage site, the show has two other websites for consumers. DiscoverWestworld acts as a promotional site where people can set up a possible trip to the park and chat with a host. DelosIncorporated doesn’t have the fancy design, but it’s not supposed to. Its set up to give you an inside look into things that go on behind the scenes.
Pay Close Attention To Detail
A conversation with Aeden on Westworld‘s official site/DiscoverWestworld.com
One of the other exciting strategies that Westworld implements on their websites is quite innovative. Fans have scoured both sites in hopes of finding Easter eggs and were successful in finding some of them. But tat isn’t the cool part. The websites change as the season develops!
As the robots in the series started to act funky, so did the websites. There are glitches and the host you talk to, Aeden, begins to realize his existence. It’s creepy and thrilling at the same time.
It’s An Angle Trick
Do you find yourself defending the hosts more than the real humans? Don’t get us wrong, the hosts are compelling characters to follow, but it usually makes more sense to pay more attention to the people who are alive. Well, there’s a good reason Delores is so compelling to viewers.
The showrunners use specific angles to induce empathetic feelings towards the robots and not the human characters. The composition and framing allow viewers to see things from a host’s perspective. This filming enables us to see them as the main characters and not just the hosts they are.