HBO’s next surefire hit, Westworld, premiered last night leaving viewers with plenty of questions. The showrunners spoke with EW about some of those questions in hopes of giving us some answers, or clarifications.
In the behind-the-scenes video, it was revealed the show takes place in the 21st century, to some surprise. However, we are unaware of what year, and the showrunners didn’t help to give much away there.
Jonathan Nolan: That’s something for the audience to discover. We very want as much as possible for the audience to experience the show from the host perspective – where it’s somewhere in the mid-to-late 19th century. So they’re just getting starting to get a handle on how that’s not the case.
Lisa Joy [to Jonathan]: Basically, James called you on giving away a spoiler on our behind-the-scenes video, Jonah. You were just busted, Mr. Secrecy!
One of the biggest surprises in the episode however, was the comment about the park not having a critical failure in 30 years, as this lead many to speculate on whether the show was canon to the original film.
Nolan: It’s playful but not meant to be literal. We wanted to connect to the ideas in the original film, but also take a look at this place as a cultural institution that is not new – because these ideas aren’t new. They stretch back to when Crichton was playing with them. We wanted to consider the park in that capacity, as a cultural institution in the manner of a Disney World. We feel like there’s a long story here. Like there’s something so pointed and sad for us about the idea that Dolores, this sort of evergreen frontier girl next door. She’s been that plucky heroine for 30 years.
While Nolan seems to debunk the notion of the show being canon to the film, EW pressed on by asking if the show would include other worlds such as Roman and Medieval like the film.
Nolan: I would assume nothing. We’ve got an awful lot of material to cover just with Westworld, but you want to stay tuned.
The interview then went on to touch why the humans appear to be the villains of the show instead of the robots like the movie.
Joy: It was important for us to establish that connection with the hosts from the beginning. We’ve been trained to have a distance from those characters in other movies and TV depictions of artificial intelligence. To look at them as the Other… So that was a lot of fun to play with. We started from the point of view because for us it was the most tenuous emphatic connection and if you didn’t nail it right on you might not ever get it. If you started from the guests, we already have that kind of human-centric bias. We had to shake that system.
Westworld certainly has plenty of questions to answer throughout the rest of the season, but plenty of intrigue for viewers to want to watch for those answers as well.
Westworld is on HBO Sundays at 9pm EST.