There's no denying artificial intelligence has taken a preponderant place in entertainment — are there many things more fascinating to experiment with than the concept of a conscience that's not human, but could very well challenge mankind? As the seasons of Game of Thrones are getting shorter, HBO is betting on a whole new beast of a show: Westworld, an adaptation of the 1973 movie of the same name.
So what is the new Westworld actually about? Who's starring in it? How much has been revealed so far about the plot? Hot on the heels of the latest teaser trailer that was just released June 21, and in order to estimate what we should expect from HBO's upcoming offering, let's look at everything we know so far about Westworld.
1. Westworld: The Plot
In the words of HBO, Westworld is "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin." In less cryptic terms, it's a show that follows the robots who've been created to populate a theme park as they slowly become more sentient than they were originally meant to be. To spice things up, Westworld is a theme park that was built for debauchery, which is already quite a messy setting even without the inhabitants questioning their role.
In the new trailer, we can hear the main humanoid character Dolores starting to have doubts about the realness of her world:
"I'm terrified. I feel spaces opening up inside of me, like a building with rooms I've never explored. I think there may be something wrong with this world. Something hiding underneath."
We don't know what happens if and when she decides she doesn't want to be part of a fake Western bubble, but that realization is bound to make a few sparks.
2. Westworld Is Adapted From A 1973 Film
The '70s western-thriller Westworld was written and directed by the late Michael Crichton — none other than the novelist who wrote the original Jurassic Park story, which makes me think he has a thing with amusement parks getting out of control. In the film, a park called Delos, which includes a West World, a Medieval World and a Roman World, turns from playground to death arena when the programmed robots start experiencing systemic failure.
3. The Cast Of Westworld
Even if you're unsure about the potential of the story, you'll be happy to see that Westworld features a solid cast.
Evan Rachel Wood, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the 2003 film Thirteen, and whose TV work includes True Blood and HBO's Mildred Pierce, plays Dolores Abernathy, one of the robots of the Western park who discovers that she's living a life that was entirely set up.
The Silence of the Lambs' Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Robert Ford, the creator of Westworld — basically the equivalent of Jurassic Park's John Hammond.
Ed Harris, who coincidentally appeared on The Truman Show, will play a villain called the Man in Black.
X-Men's James Marsden, who was also the goofy prince in Enchanted, is gunslinger Teddy Flood. Gunslingers are the park's cowboys who are programmed for fake shoot-offs — until, you know, the safety measures get blown off like petals on a dried out dandelion.
4. Who's Behind Westworld?
Westworld was created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan's brother who co-wrote The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Interstellar. Along with Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing the show.
5. Westworld Was Off To A Rocky Start
For a while Warner Bros. were considering a remake of the original movie, but it's eventually HBO who placed a series order for Westworld at the end of 2014.
In an interview with io9, Nolan acknowledged that the task of bringing the show to life had been much bigger than he had anticipated, which led them to delaying the show in order to get ahead with the writing.
"We needed to shut down in order for [co-creator] Lisa [Joy] and I to write the rest of the scripts. [...] We came out of the gate very, very, quickly, because we wanted to get on the air as early as possible, and so we started shooting with only a handful of episodes in hand."
It's actually a good sign for the show that the creators took more time to get it right, and judging from Nolan's description, it seems it's unlike anything we've ever seen on TV before.
"We're doing a period Western, and a science fiction [movie]. Basically, we're shooting 'Alien,' 'Days of Heaven' and 'Unforgiven' simultaneously, and then cutting them all together... It's just a massive, massive undertaking."
There's one season so far, set to premiere in October 2016.