Westworld has taken the world by storm. It was originally a film brought to the screen by famous writer Michael Crichton, the man also behind the original Jurassic Park book wrote the script and directed it, which is in itself a huge achievement. But it spawned a sequel, Futureworld and a TV series: Beyond Westworld. And although the original film was fascinating and entertaining, the TV series took it to whole new heights. Delving more into the philosophy of identity, self and destiny is actually fascinating.
The new series, (created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy) brings us a theme park with extremely lifelike androids that have their own storylines and are there to service the guests in whatever desires they may have. Once you realize just how despicable some of the guests can be, it’s very easy to root for the androids…but then what does that say about our own opinions of the human race? They’re the type of questions Westworld conjures. But it’s layered with intricate details and references that could prove vital in the future, because it’s clear this show will constantly have surprises up its sleeve. Here are 15 things you missed, but need to know for season two!
15 BLACK HAT
Before the huge twist of the two different timelines, we thought we had two separate characters from the Man in Black and William. After all, one was a ruthless killer and the other was a gentle natured nervous man on a company retreat. But once it was revealed that they were the same person, set decades apart the internet lost their collective minds.
Rewind back to the introduction of William as he’s putting the finishing touches to his Wild West outfit. He stands in front of two walls lined with different hats. One wall has black hats, but he picks one of the white ones. It signals that his twisted intentions weren’t too far away, but he was good… for now. The level of detail the creators have layered into Westworld is astounding.
Everyone remember Elsie? She started to figure out that someone was leaking information from inside Westworld, threatening to do harm to DELOS. Who knew a show about killer robots could also integrate corporate espionage into it? She assumed it was Theresa since she was the last person to log into the relay. But she was grabbed and presumably knocked unconscious by an unknown person or host.
But one of the tablets seemed to show her location still active in Sector 20. Add that to the voice clip found on the Westworld site of Elsie saying “Hello?” and it seems like we haven’t seen the last of the behavior technician just yet…who knows, although we did see a flash of Bernard’s memory in which he was strangling her so…
When the show was originally being aired and fans were running wild with the various theories, there was a minor detail in the set design that kept cropping up alluding to the fact that there are two timelines being shown. It’s all about the design of the Westworld logo. The one everyone’s familiar with is the one on all the real-world branding of the show that frequently pops up.
Then there’s the one that appears during scenes with a younger William, which has a 3D effect to it rather than the slick line-art modern version. There’s a third version that’s on some of the boxes in storage. So when it comes around to the second season, keep an eye on any Westworld logos, if they change -- it’s a different time period.
12 THE WOLF THEORY
Before we get into this theory, disclaimer; it’s pretty wild. So we know that there are multiple parks that DELOS has been running. But there’s one common element that appears throughout every single massacre that we’re shown. And let’s be honest, there’s quite a few massacres. A single wolf is spotted running around all the carnage. But what does it mean?
Well, one theory has a particular idea that incorporates HBO itself. What if all the different parks underneath the DELOS banner, are actually all the different shows that HBO produces? Obviously, the wolf is a clear reference to Game of Thrones. Whilst this is a nice idea, it’s highly unlikely. However, the origin of the wolf and the significance of it relating to the murders will probably be something to keep an eye on.
Even though the Westworld series isn’t connected to/or a continuation of the original 1973 Westworld film -- that didn’t stop Jonathan Nolan from paying homage to what’s previously come before. Because in the sixth episode of the series, Bernard is searching for older files when for a brief moment, a figure in the background is illuminated by his flashlight.
It’s clearly meant to look like Yul Brynner’s original Gunslinger android from the original film, right down to the pose he’s left in. And although it might insinuate that the film is canon to the current storyline, Jonathan Nolan was insistent when he was speaking to Entertainment Weekly that it was just a “little top of the hat, we didn’t want to feature it too heavily, we don’t want you reading too much into that.”
10 POINT OF VIEW
This actually gets more technical than you might think. The majority of the series is shot using Steadicams or with the aid of stabilizing devices. This actually plays into the overarching narrative of the hosts -- they’re all mechanized, with no freedom or control over their actions whatsoever. But when they start to become self-aware and want to have their own destiny, everything changes.
We don’t just mean for the park, but from behind the scenes. Once the hosts (like Maeve) realize what’s happening, the show begins to use handheld cameras to show the destabilization of their minds, their world and their place in Westworld. It’s such a subtle detail, but it’s fantastic one that we wouldn't blame you if you missed during your watching of the first season.
Dolores has gone through such an incredible story arc across the season. In both the linear sense, and the glitches that she experiences as her old memories bleed into her reality. But once she realizes what’s been done to her over the years, and even wakes up a dormant personality in Wyatt, she’s on a whole new journey.
But apparently, we’ve already seen a glimpse of what this new direction will have in store for Dolores. When she faces off against The Man in Black, and realizes who he is, they engage in a vicious fight in an abandoned church, and according to Jonathan Nolan, that’s “just a taste of what’s to come”. So it sounds like Dolores will be embarking on a reign of violence in season two.
Plural. We all know that there’s a Samurai/Shogun world, as we saw the logo and some of the hosts from Maeve’s perspective in the finale. But apparently there’s a whole load of other areas that DELOS have been operating alongside Westworld. According to the Westworld site, there are six other parks.
Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have both danced around the nature of these parks. But it seems like Medieval World and Roman World could be other DELOS projects. If we see those during the second season is yet to be revealed, but it wouldn’t be surprising since Nolan has also said that there was no intention to just stay in one place. It seems like there’s going to be an increasing number of self-aware hosts on the way. Any bets on Futureworld?
7 JURASSIC PARK
There are some clear parallels between Jurassic Park and Westworld. Resurrecting something from the past for profit until it all goes awry and people are left fighting for their lives. There’s also the scientific aspect of what we should and shouldn’t meddle with, in Westworld it’s obviously creating sentient beings but controlling them as we see fit. But there are a few literal references scattered throughout the series to the Jurassic Park franchise.
When Luke Hemsworth (yes, there’s ANOTHER Hemsworth brother) is attacked by Ghost Nation, the androids attack him in the exact same way the Raptors attack Muldoon in Jurassic Park. Felix the technician revives a robotic bird and whispers “come on little one”, the same way that Hammond does with the baby Raptor. There’s the intense speech that Dolores gives about “great beasts once roamed the world, big as mountains. Now all that’s left is bone and amber…”
6 FORD’S DEATH
Oh Ford, you scheming intelligent deviant you. Sometimes he felt villainous, and other times he was benevolent. But he realized that humans are inherently awful (ouch) and decided to let the hosts decide their own fate. Unfortunately, that means the hosts are all going to revolt and commit acts of extreme violence. Yay!
However, some fans pointed out that when Dolores shot Ford it mirrored a real-world tragedy. Ford was shot in the back of the head whilst in front of a crowd -- much like when Abraham Lincoln was shot in the same way in front of a crowd at FORD’S THEATER. Yeah. It takes a simple bit of dot-connecting, but the reference is there. Doesn’t it make you wonder what other easter eggs you missed…
5 THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS
“These violent delights have violent ends” it’s the phrase that Westworld has commandeered for its own nefarious use. Spoken by Arnold, Bernard and Ford, it has a particular significance. Yes, it’s a reference to Dolores storyline in the park with Teddy. But it’s built into Dolores for another specific reason by Ford.
When the phrase is mentioned to her, it engages the Wyatt personality within her -- Manchurian Candidate/Winter Soldier style. It turns her from a docile, vulnerable woman into a ruthless killing machine. You just have to look at the dangerous twinkle in her eye after the line is spoken, Evan Rachel Wood is a phenomenal actress. Keep an ear out for the phrase in season two, who knows how far she’ll go -- perhaps the phrase would also cancel Wyatt?
The host that started the tumble down the rabbit hole. You’d be forgiven if you forgot about Peter Abernathy since there’s a sprawling list of characters and storylines, but Dolores’ father was the one who found the photo that made him question what his true purpose was. But he was lobotomized until Charlotte Hale found a use for his body. She loaded him with 35 yearsworth of secrets and data.
She then plans to sneak the Host out of the park so she can get rid of Ford once and for all. However, now that Ford is really out of the picture (or is he…?) Abernathy might serve a larger purpose. If he blows the lid on everything that’s been going on at DELOS, then there might be a dismantling of the park. And if the hosts feel that threatened, there could be a full scale war in the works.
3 MAEVE’S DAUGHTER
We first saw Maeve’s daughter from a previous life in the first episode of Westworld, and she’s the reason that Maeve decided on a very important change of destiny in the finale of the series. She wants to find her fictional daughter, especially after the pain of remembering the times that they were attacked by native Indians (and the Man in Black!).
We know she’s still in the park, as Felix slips her a note that reads ‘Sector 15 Zone 3’. Westworld is a sprawling place, so she’s going to have find a map detailing all the different sectors. But now that she’s got a team of hosts behind her, it won’t be long until they track her daughter down. Especially since she’s still got one of the tablets. Expect an emotional reunion, although knowing this show it’ll likely be a tragic one.
2 SHOGUN WORLD
During the finale we learnt that one of the other parks that we were going to visit in the future was Samurai World, or as its now known as: Shogun World. We saw some example hosts, dressed in Samurai armor. They certainly looked the part.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jonathan Nolan discussed the idea behind the inclusion: "The reason we went with the shogun, Imperial Japanese motif for that world is in large part because of the beautiful relationship you had between the golden age Westerns and the golden age samurai films.” Plus, it’s great for representation as Lisa Joy noted; "It's wonderful to work with actors we haven't worked with before," added Joy. "This allows us a lot of access to Asian actors and the Asian community, which is very important to me as part-Asian myself."
1 DATE WITH DESTINY
When Maeve decided she wanted to leave the park and make her way to the ‘mainland’, she was so close to succeeding. The host made it all the way onto the train before changing her mind and deciding to go back to find her daughter. It’s such a huge moment, because at first it seems that it’s part of her narrative.
Until you realize that her narrative was actually set so that she’d make it back to the mainland, as her tablet reads “mainland infiltration”. It’s an incredible moment when you realize that she actually has free will now, she can do as she pleases. And even though she was so close to making it out the park, her choice to stay and find her daughter is resolute. Until the writers decide to pull that story beat from under us in several seasons time of course.