The Westworld panel was probably one of my most hyped SDCC panels. The first season of the show surprised me and I began to felt HBO had found a worthy successor for their network once Game of Thrones bows out. This is why it makes me a bit sad to announce that their panel was kinda lacking in my opinion, opting mostly for a Q&A between Reggie Watts and the cast, with only the very end opening the floor to fan questions. I’ve narrowed down the most interesting bits of the Q&A though for people curious.
- Video games actually turned out to be a big inspiration for the development of Westworld. Johnathan Nolan explained that lots of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto were played during the time he was getting a grasp of what he wanted the show to be. This makes sense as those are two good examples of games that people turn to when they want to maybe do some reckless things they would be punished for in real life, much how the Westworld park is.
- Nolan was interested in focusing more on the perspective of the androids of the park rather than the humans as he felt most mediums typically do the opposite in the “Human Vs. Machine” genre. Though he did shout out Blade Runner, but that largely depends on how you interpret the ending.
- Many cast members weren’t aware at first if they were going to be playing humans or androids while filming the pilot. Jeffrey Wright, who plays Bernard, was informed that he was actually an android only after production began and the pilot had been filmed. Considering the reveal that Bernard was an android was one of the big twists of the season, it makes sense that Wright would be let know beforehand to start to drop subtle hints.
- Ed Harris, who plays William/The Man in Black, appreciates that there are the people who dig deep into the show and figure things out before everyone else, but he’s a bit too confused to do all that and would rather enjoy the ride without thinking too much. He also considers Westworld to be in a genre of its own on television.
- Evan Rachel Wood was at first nervous when he realized the scope of Dolores’ character as the show basically rested on her shoulders. After some thought, however, it excited her to portray a character with so many layers and not a simple damsel in distress.
- The hardest scene for Evan and Jimmy Simpson, who plays the younger William, was the scene where it is first revealed that William is actually the Man in Black. They considered it the end of the love story that was blossoming between Dolores and William that they were rooting for, so it was devastating to film.
- Evan’s first realization of how big Westworld had become was when she was approached in Target and told to “Freeze all motor functions!”
Once the fan Q&A started, the most important question was asked. The final episode of Season 1 revealed that Westworld wasn’t the only park Delos Incorporated offered and there was actually a Samurai theme park as well. The fan wanted to know what was up with the new parks and if there would be more of them in Season 2. Nolan’s response? “Doesn’t look like anything to me.” Which we all know is the sentence given when the androids of Westworld are confronted with something they shouldn’t see. So, that’s sounding like a yes.
Finally to close out the panel, we were treated with the first trailer of what to expect in Season 2. Notable scenes include Bernard standing over a dead Tiger, which is something that doesn’t seem would be in the Westworld park, Teddy and Dolores gunning down people who could either be human or android, and the Man in Black covered in blood and very happy about the new difficulty in Westworld that he always desired. Check out the trailer below and look for more details on when Season 2 will premiere in the future!