Every week, I swing for the fences with one massive theory about the future of Westworld. Am I wrong? Am I right? We probably won’t know for sure for years, so why not enjoy the present?
Months before Westworld’s premiere, my expectations were high for one reason: Jeffrey Wright. The actor may not be a household name, but he certainly should be, since he’s the best reason to watch the final two films of The Hunger Games, the later seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and five minutes of Quantum of Solace. Wright played the lead in arguably the most underappreciated biopic of the past quarter-century, Basquiat, and originated the role of Lincoln in Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Topdog/Underdog.
You might be thinking, “Chris, you sound like a Jeffrey Wright superfan.” Yes. Yes I am. Wright elevates mediocre work, and when a script matches his talent, he’s magical to watch. He is a genius, and the notion of him appearing on an HBO show not affiliated with Terence Winter was more than enough reason to get my hopes up.
Now, two episodes into HBO’s Westworld series, I know Wright plays the role of Bernard Lowe, the lead programmer, engineer, and lieutenant to Westworld’s creator, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Wright hasn’t been given much to do with Lowe, outside of some mysterious secretive conversations with the park’s robots, but I think that will change.
My baseless speculation:
Bernard Lowe is a robot, and his ability to create life is part of Dr. Ford’s larger ambition.
Dr. Ford has a God complex, and it would be easy to assume that his goal — the act of divinity he’s working toward — is the creation of life. That is to say, by creating Westworld and imbuing its inhabitants with free will — the apparent end goal of “reveries” — Dr. Ford feels he will achieve godlike status.
But maybe it would be more godlike to create life that can in turn create its own life, much like God created humans and humans created artificial intelligence. A true god begets gods. In a show that blurs the line between artificial life and divinely given life, that goal hardly sounds like a stretch.
15:1. This one’s a long shot, though I think my odds are better if I simply predict that somebody on the team is a robot. Or maybe that they’re all robots.
In the second episode, we learned that the company’s robotic creations aren’t confined to Westworld — they handle corporate busywork, like meeting new guests and preparing them for their adventures. And we already know from Ed Harris’ bot-scalping killer that a meta-game exists that’s bigger than the storylines available to the average guests. It seems plausible that Dr. Ford has created a matryoshka doll of bots leading bots leading bots, which might explain what went wrong 30 years ago.
Westworld: a nightmare for the paranoid!
Previous theories: Where the AI comes from