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These violent delights: all the trailers, reviews, and updates for HBO’s Westworld

“These violent delights have violent ends,” Friar Lawrence says in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He’s talking about Romeo’s abrupt marriage to Juliet, and how it’s likely to come to an equally abrupt ending — one way or another. But HBO’s Westworld series has adopted that line as a kind of mantra, voiced by many characters and used to suggest another thing entirely.

The show, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie, opens with a future Western theme park largely staffed by hyper-realistic humanoid robots, which park guests can follow on heroic adventures — or can rape and murder with impunity. As the hosts start to gain sentience and realize what’s being done to them, the guests may pay for their violent delights. Or will they? The series has been designed as a puzzle box, and the focus keeps shifting.

Here, we’ll look at everything from trailers to the show’s wild marketing tricks to the spoiler culture surrounding Westworld, as we unpack its narrative — and the increasingly elaborate meta-narrative being built around it. 

  • Apr 5, 2019

    Andrew Liptak

    Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have signed on with Amazon Studios

    Premiere Of HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Season 2 - Red Carpet
    Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

    Amazon Studios has announced that it has signed on Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and their company Kilter Films for an overall deal to create original series for Amazon Prime Video. The deal builds on an existing project the pair is developing for the studio called The Peripheral.

    That project is based on William Gibson’s novel by the same name, which is set between near-future rural America and a distant future in London after an apocalypse. Amazon began developing the project last year, with an eye toward picking it up with a straight-to-series order.

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  • Jul 2, 2018

    Tasha Robinson and Bryan Bishop

    Question Club: What do we want from Westworld season 3?

    Photo: HBO

    Spoiler warning: this piece discusses the biggest reveals from the Westworld season 2 finale. Proceed at your own risk.

    Westworld’s second season concluded with some major reveals, some high-profile deaths, and a list of unanswered questions. For a show that’s constructed around the ideas of perception and mystery, that’s to be expected. More so than any other show on television right now, Westworld uses narrative tricks and fragmented storytelling to keep as many plates spinning in the air as possible, letting the audience’s curiosity about something like “The Door” create an added layer of drama and anticipation that isn’t there if the narrative was told in a more traditional way.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Jun 25, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s season 2 cliffhanger is simultaneously awesome and obnoxious

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Heading into the second season finale of Westworld, audiences had already been treated to subreddits of twists, reveals, and switcheroos. Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), it turned out, was still alive(ish), and his consciousness was uploaded to a vast computer simulation called The Cradle. Delos, Inc. didn’t just buy Westworld because it wanted to get into the theme park business; it wanted to use host technology to create replicants of actual human beings, allowing the company to sell immortality to the highest bidder. And the Man in Black (Ed Harris), the show’s sturdy antihero, had gone increasingly mad on his search for “The Door,” until he actually killed his own daughter and began to question whether he was a host himself.

    There’s been a lot to unpack, even for a show that embraces puzzle box sensibilities as much as Westworld. But all that pales in comparison to the amount of narrative sleight of hand and fragmented storytelling that the second season finale squeezes into its 90-minute runtime. “The Passenger” is part philosophy course and part magic trick, with a healthy dose of The Matrix Reloaded thrown in for good measure. It ties up a lot of loose story threads while leaving some major questions unanswered, and does its best to set the stage for the show’s already announced third season. To top it all off, it ends with the most mind-bending — or is that obnoxious? — post-credits scene in quite some time.

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  • Tasha Robinson

    Jun 25, 2018

    Tasha Robinson

    The biggest questions left behind after the season 2 Westworld finale

    Photo: HBO

    Spoiler warning: this piece discusses the biggest reveals from the Westworld season 2 finale. Proceed at your own risk.

    The finale of season 2 of HBO’s science fiction series Westworld debuted on Sunday, June 24th, and it answered some of the questions it’s been prodding viewers to ask throughout this season. We now know what The Door is, and whether there’s a host version of the Man in Black wandering around, and how all those dead hosts ended up floating in the water in the season pilot. But the finale raised a lot more questions in the process of answering these few. Some of those questions are obvious, deliberate teases for the as-yet-unscheduled season 3. Others… well, they may be teases, or they may be puzzles, given how the showrunners love to throw out elaborate clues for fans to debate and decipher. But they still seem baffling given what little we know so far. Here are some of the primary mysteries we took away from the finale.

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  • Adi Robertson

    Jun 20, 2018

    Adi Robertson

    Westworld’s free Alexa game is like a radio drama crossed with a quiz show

    Illustration: HBO

    Westworld is known for slipping elaborate story hints into its viral marketing material, giving fans an early look at upcoming plot developments. Westworld: The Maze, a short game released today for Amazon Alexa devices, does the opposite. It’s a clever tie-in narrative that draws on players’ existing knowledge of Westworld lore — or at least their skill at navigating the Westworld wiki.

    The Maze follows a voice-controlled “choose your own adventure” format that other Alexa games have used. You play a host who’s just beginning to wake up to the nature of Westworld’s true reality, thanks to some cryptic advice from a mysterious character in Westworld’s Sweetwater saloon. Your goal is to find the center of a metaphorical maze, but to accomplish this, you also need to keep up the appearance of being an ordinary host. That means correctly answering other hosts’ questions about places, events, and people.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Jun 18, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s Man in Black is beyond saving

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    The last few episodes of Westworld have been some of the best — and most revelatory — of the entire season. The heartbreaking origin of the Ghost Nation tribe was revealed last week, and in the episode before that, audiences learned new insights about the creation of Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), and how the virtual simulation called “The Cradle” played a major role. It feels as if the show is pulling its disparate story threads together, all in anticipation of the coming season finale.

    In the latest episode, “Vanishing Point,” themes of free will and choice bind together four very different storylines. There’s the normally passive Bernard, who finally stands up and embraces his own agency by deleting Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) code that’s hitched a ride inside his robot brain. Teddy (James Marsden), who was robbed of free will by Dolores when she modded his personality without permission, chooses to turn his gun on himself rather than stand by her side. And Maeve (Thandie Newton), who has been relegated to an operating table while Delos extracts her superpower-enabled code, is also visited by the consciousness of Ford — who gives her “core-level” access to her own system, potentially making her even more powerful than she was before.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Jun 11, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s latest episode is a heartbreaking tale of suffering

    Photo: HBO

    Over the last few weeks, HBO’s Westworld has been steadily putting its puzzle pieces together. The show has revealed how Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was able to cheat death — virtually, at least — and it has detailed how Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) was a key participant in the creation of host Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright).

    The season’s eighth episode, “Kiksuya,” delves into the backstory of the mysterious Ghost Nation tribe — in particular, a warrior named Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon). Akecheta was one of the first hosts created for the park and was featured in the season’s second episode, “Reunion,” as a mystery man who helped pitch the Westworld concept to a skeptical Logan Delos (Ben Barnes). But as the most recent episode reveals, Akecheta is an integral figure in the park’s history, tied to the lore of The Maze and The Door, and responsible for informing many hosts about the nature of their reality. In a twist that seems likely to please the show’s most ardent fans, the episode also uses Akecheta to resolve a mystery that’s been lingering in Westworld lore since the show’s very first episode.

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  • Shannon Liao

    Jun 8, 2018

    Shannon Liao

    Jeffrey Wright says his Westworld character is ‘based on a Reddit user’

    Image: HBO

    Spoilers ahead for Westworld season 1.

    HBO’s Westworld is about robots, power, and the nature of humanity, among other things. In season 2 of the show, Westworld park programming head Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) is a cornerstone character, the audience’s window into understanding what’s going on in a number of plots. As he pieces together his faulty memories, the viewers are putting together clues to understand the larger story. But as season 1 revealed, Bernard is a host — a fully humanoid robot — which complicates both his memory issues and his identity issues. Created as an artificial replica of Westworld co-creator Arnold Weber, Bernard entered the story not knowing he was a host. Last Friday, Wright sat down at New York’s Split Screens Festival to discuss how the craft of playing a robot differs from playing a human.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Jun 4, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld Spoilers Club season 2, episode 7: Les Écorchés

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Westworld fans who were missing the presence of Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had reason to celebrate last week. Not only did the series delve into the Cradle, a Matrix-like computer simulation that serves as a backup for all of the park’s hosts, but in its final moments, it also revealed that the consciousness of Dr. Ford had been uploaded into the system — allowing Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) to chat with his former colleague inside a virtual Mariposa saloon. The moment reframed much of the season, explaining how the Man in Black (Ed Harris) has been able to receive messages from Ford, and suggesting that the bloody uprising of free will-enabled hosts may have been just another carefully orchestrated narrative, with Ford’s digital ghost pulling the strings.

    Last night’s episode, “Les Écorchés,” picked up that Ford storyline, but the spotlight was actually on another character: Bernard. Leaning heavily into backstory and exposition, the episode pulled back the curtain even further on how Bernard was created, and it also explained the park’s true reason for existing.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 28, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld Spoilers Club season 2, episode 6: Phase Space

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Last week, Westworld took a cue from The Matrix, turning Maeve (Thandie Newton) into a super-host with the ability to control her robotic brethren with nothing more than her mind. It made for a spectacularly bloody battle, delivering on the gory promise of Shogun World while also underscoring some of the thematic questions the show has been asking this season about the nature of free will.

    It was the kind of game-changing twist that Westworld fans have come to expect from the HBO series. But in last night’s episode, showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan turn things in yet another radical new direction — this time, toward something called “the Cradle.” A piece of technology that lets the park’s masterminds run narrative simulations, the Cradle becomes a crucial focal point in “Phase Space,” and it provides the answer to a question that’s lingered in the minds of viewers since the very first shot of the season premiere.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 24, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s digital marketing is giving fans sneak peeks at the show’s biggest secrets

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Warning: mild spoilers below for the first five episodes of Westworld season 2, including the promotional teaser for episode 6.

    For most of the people watching HBO’s science fiction series Westworld, when Betty Gabriel’s character Maling mentions “the Cradle” in the second season’s third episode, it’s just a throwaway reference. But hardcore fans know better — at least, the ones who have been willing to dive into the in-world websites, chatbots, and email blasts that serve as the show’s viral marketing campaign. They know the Cradle is a simulation technology, and Delos, Inc. uses it to test storylines before they’re deployed in the company’s parks. In-the-know fans are aware of the Cradle’s codename (CR4-DL) and have seen schematics of the system, which made a quiet appearance in a trailer all the way back in March.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 21, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld Spoilers Club season 2, episode 5: Akane No Mai

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Last week, Westworld took a bit of a detour, focusing largely on Delos, Inc.’s secret initiative to use host technology to clone human beings, starting with company founder James Delos (Peter Mullan). The episode delved into the ramifications of the operation, and the massive character shift that William (Jimmi Simpson) underwent in the decades after he took control of the company. But changing the story’s focus for a bit meant leaving other characters on the back burner, including Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), who were both last seen confronting a group of warriors from Shogun World.

    The season’s fifth episode, “Akane No Mai,” makes up for that by spending the bulk of its running time inside that new Delos park. The show has been teasing Shogun World since the first season’s finale, and the new destination delivers on the promise of a Kurosawa film-inspired theme park heavy on swordplay and gory violence. But it also becomes an opportunity for the show to poke some fun at the story architects of Delos, Inc. — and even parody some of Westworld’s own tropes.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 14, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld may just give The Man in Black a shot at redemption

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    One of the more notable characters introduced during season 2 of Westworld is the founder of the mega-corporation that runs Westworld and its sister parks: James Delos (Peter Mullan). He first showed up in the second episode, “Reunion,” demonstrating a noted lack of interest in the long-term potential of robotic hosts — until a crafty William (Jimmi Simpson) convinced him otherwise.

    As that same episode revealed, James Delos retired, giving William the opportunity to take over and become the ruthless Man in Black (Ed Harris) from later Westworld timelines. But there was a mini-mystery left unanswered, a lingering cough that indicated Delos was facing health problems and might not be long for this world. In spite of the wealth and success he had accumulated, and the technical acumen of his society, he seemed to be fatally ill.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 7, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s biggest new surprise has nothing to do with hosts

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    In the build-up to Westworld’s second season, HBO and the show’s creators were extraordinarily precise about what information they shared ahead of time, and when. Surprises are part of what makes the show tick on a week-to-week basis, so the promotional dance is about much more than just hyping big moments. It’s about setting the stage and priming the audience’s expectations — even if that is in and of itself a misdirect.

    One of the things teased at the end of the first season was the existence of a second park, with the initials “SW” revealed as its logo. Earlier this year, the show’s viral marketing revealed the name of that new park: Shogun World. With promotional clips offering quick glimpses of Maeve (Thandie Newton) wearing a kimono, it seemed all but certain that Westworld wouldn’t just be bringing audiences to this new destination, but that Shogun World might actually play a significant role in the new season.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    May 1, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld is getting a third season

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Westworld’s second season only kicked off two weeks ago, but HBO appears to be happy with what it’s seen from the show so far. The network has just announced it’s picked up the series for a third season.

    Created by showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy — and inspired by the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name — Westworld tells the story of a futuristic theme park populated by intelligent robots called “hosts.” The park allows visiting guests to act out their Wild West fantasies, usually by embracing the baser aspects of human nature. Over the course of the show’s first season, certain hosts began to develop self-awareness, causing numerous problems with the park’s operations, until things finally spun out of control just as the park’s co-founder, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) got ready to retire.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Apr 30, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s latest episode reveals what the park was really built for

    Photo: HBO

    The season 2 premiere of HBO’s Westworld was a flurry, catching audiences up on the show’s many characters and laying the groundwork for what will no doubt be the primary storylines of the new season. It was a lot to take in, with perhaps the most spoilery moment of the entire episode being the initial mention of The Door. Whatever that is, it’s part of a new game designed just for The Man in Black, according to a child-host who appeared to be delivering a message from the late Dr. Robert Ford.

    But in the second episode of the season, “Reunion,” series creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan lean into the backstory of the park: the name of the initial project, how it was pitched to investors, and when it was pitched to investors. It’s the kind of detail-rich mythology that fans have hungered for, but has previously only been hinted at in casual, throwaway references, or in shadowy moments of character backstory. But the episode also goes one step further. It was established in the first season that the Delos board of directors saw the park as serving a greater function, beyond just being an adults-only Wild West theme park. “Reunion” addresses that secret purpose — and it turns out a familiar character is responsible for it.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Apr 23, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s first new major surprise leads to more questions than answers

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    At the end of Westworld’s first season, the show upended what audiences thought they knew, spinning things off in unexpected new directions. In the season 1 finale, Dolores launched a host uprising, Dr. Robert Ford and the members of the Delos board were slaughtered, and Maeve was upgraded, improved, and headed back into the park to find her daughter. The scope of the series also began to expand with the tease of something audiences would later discover was Shogun World. Where things could go from there was anyone’s guess.

    The season 2 premiere, “Journey Into Night,” picks things up almost immediately thereafter. (Technically, it picks up immediately thereafter, and also two weeks later, and then some 30-plus years beforehand. The creators still love their multiple timelines, after all.) But the episode is a breathtakingly efficient exercise in setting up the various characters and arcs that will no doubt make up the bulk of the second season. Maeve enlists the help of Delos story architect Lee Sizemore and bad-boy host Hector in her quest to find her daughter. Dolores goes on a systematic killing spree as part of her larger plan to take Westworld back then conquer the outside world as well. Bernard pings between multiple timeliness, dealing with his potentially fatal injuries in the aftermath of the host uprising, and then, two weeks later, trying to remember what caused the mass execution of dozens of hosts.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Apr 20, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld season 2: our spoiler-free review

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Warning: ending spoilers for season 1 of Westworld ahead.

    During its debut season, HBO’s science fiction drama Westworld became as well-known for its storytelling style as for the actual story. The first season was a puzzle box, using editing and narrative misdirection to give the initial impression that it was a conventional television show with multiple plot threads happening concurrently. Instead, the first season of Westworld spanned decades, with multiple timelines, some as much as 30 years apart, intercut with one another. It played off the idea that its robotic host characters lived their lives in a series of often-identical loops, and audiences slowly unraveled the structural mystery over the course of the season. Eventually, we learned that William (Jimmi Simpson) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) were the same person, while Jeffrey Wright was playing not one, but two characters: park co-creator Arnold Weber, and a humanoid-robot host named Bernard Lowe.

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  • Apr 11, 2018

    Tasha Robinson and Devon Maloney

    Could Westworld’s crazy season 2 spoiler plan have worked?

    Photo courtesy of HBO

    Well that was intense. On Monday, April 9th, Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy held a Reddit AMA where they announced that they were planning to post a video spoiling the entirety of the upcoming second season of Westworld. Nolan put it like this:

    Of course the news was widely reported, and fans passionately weighed in on both sides of the debate: would having full spoilers available cut down on the cottage industry of outguessing the series as it aired? Or would it just make it utterly impossible for spoiler-averse viewers to avoid the trolls trying to interfere with their viewing experience? As it turns out, though, it didn’t matter: the post got its thousand upvotes, and in response, the Westworld crew posted… a custom-made Rickroll.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Apr 10, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Westworld’s spoiler reveal turns out to be an elaborate Rickroll

    Yesterday, Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy gave the show’s fans an intriguing offer: in order to fight endless theorizing and spoilers for the upcoming second season of the HBO show, they’d publish a video revealing the entire plot of the new season if a post on Reddit got 1,000 upvotes. The post hit the magic number a few hours later, and shortly afterward, Nolan commented with a link to a 25-minute video titled “Westworld Season 2 — A Primer.”

    The video opens with a shot from the trailers of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) on a beach, complete with voiceover of Wright narrating. There are references to “The Door,” which has been hinted at as a theme for the new season in the same way “The Maze” was for season 1. Everything seems on the level. Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores appears, and it seems like we’re about to get some more information on what happens next.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Apr 9, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s creators will fight spoiler culture by spoiling the whole second season

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    Update, April 10th, 8:13AM ET: After Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan’s original Reddit post received more than 1,000 upvotes, he went back on Reddit and shared the “spoiler” video around midnight. It’s essentially an elaborate Rickroll, Westworld-style.

    The creators of HBO’s Westworld have announced a novel plan to combat the perils of online spoiler culture: they’re going to give away all the big secrets from the show’s upcoming second season before a single episode airs. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy made the announcement today during a Reddit AMA, acknowledging the plan as a “potentially highly controversial decision.” They do say their cast is on board with the plan.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Apr 6, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    A guide to Westworld’s viral marketing, for fans who don’t want to translate binary code

    Photo by John P. Johnson / HBO

    The second season of Westworld premiered on April 22nd, and to promote the show, HBO has leaned into the series’ puzzle-box sensibilities by burying clues, Easter eggs, and sneak peeks in an avalanche of viral marketing. Over the last few months, the network has released trailers that point to secret websites, websites that introduce new characters, Twitter posts that lead to secret posters which lead to other secret trailers… the marketing for season 2 has been a labyrinth of information, delivering a drip-drip-drip of details without succumbing to traditional TV marketing tactics.

    All the hoop-jumping can be cumbersome for the average Westworld fan to track, but the marketing is a carefully orchestrated rollout, designed in collaboration with the show’s creators to set the stage for what’s to come, without giving away any big secrets that could ruin the show. So, for casual fans who want in on the reveals — or just want to marvel at the depth of HBO’s puzzle-creation — here’s a handy guide to everything Westworld’s viral marketing has revealed about the new season. In 2016, HBO updated Westworld’s online presence throughout the run of the show, with more teases rolled out episode by episode — so we’ll be updating this post with all the leaks and revelations that are unveiled in the weeks to come.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Mar 29, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    The new Westworld season 2 trailer promises blood as the robot uprising continues

    Last night, HBO announced that a new trailer for Westworld’s second season was coming by interrupting the broadcast on all HBO and Cinemax channels simultaneously — and now the trailer has finally arrived.

    Set to an epic, orchestral cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” the spot hits on all the major story threads that were left dangling from the season 1 finale. Bernard is still struggling to cope with what he is, while Dolores tries to convince him of the beauty and worthiness of all hosts. Teddy laments that he and Dolores have “ridden for 10 miles,” and all they’ve seen is bloodshed. Maeve wants to find her daughter — despite the fact that she may just be a figment of her programmatic imagination. There’s a quick glimpse of a figure from Westworld’s sister park, Shogun World, and Ed Harris’ Man in Black intoning, “I’m gonna burn this whole thing to the ground.” It’s juxtaposed with him walking toward a ragged door cut into the side of the mountain, which may be a nod to the secret code name of this season, “The Door.”

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Mar 29, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    Westworld’s hosts just took over HBO to reveal a new trailer is coming tomorrow

    The second season of HBO’s Westworld will premiere on April 22nd, which means it’s time for a new trailer — and this afternoon, the network announced one was coming in an unorthodox fashion. At 8PM ET / 5PM PT, the feeds for all HBO and Cinemax channels “glitched out” simultaneously, airing a brief teaser clip with footage from the upcoming episodes, while promising that the full trailer will arrive on Thursday, March 29th, at 11AM ET / 8AM PT.

    The clip is short, interspersed with digital noise and lines of computer code that will undoubtedly soon be analyzed by the show’s rabid Reddit fanbase. But the footage itself is intriguing. There are glimpses of heavily armed security forces, presumably from Delos, Inc., landing on a mysterious beach; a shot of Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard on a cliff, staring off in confusion; and a shot of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), striding purposefully while firing her pistol with nary a flinch. And underneath it all, Ed Harris as The Man in Black intoning, “They wanted a place hidden from God. A place they could sin in peace. We had something else in mind entirely.”

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Mar 26, 2018

    Bryan Bishop

    A day in real-life Westworld from a host’s perspective

    Photo: HBO

    At 2018’s South By Southwest Conference, HBO and the marketing agency Giant Spoon created an epic promotion for Westworld, HBO’s series about a far-future Old West theme park where the rich elite play out their fantasies of heroism and villainy. Giant Spoon significantly rebuilt Texas’ existing J. Lorraine Ghost Town as a two-acre, real-life version of Sweetwater, a small Westworld town packed with plot hooks for visitors. They populated it with more than 60 costumed actors playing “hosts,” realistic humanoid robots that play a significant part in the Westworld story. Our SXSW culture team visited Sweetwater, and in these three linked articles, we each explore our versions of the experience, both within the story and behind the scenes.

    The woman in the blue dress leaned in close to the sheriff of Sweetwater, whispering something into his ear — and he suddenly froze.

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