For those of you familiar with Westworld, you’ll no doubt know that it’s based off the 1973 film of the same name. What you may not know, however, is that other worlds, like Roman World and Medieval World, were explored in the movie. HBO’s series chose to keep the focus mostly on the titular location for season 1, but near the end of the finale, we do catch a glimpse of what appears to be Samurai World.
It’s a moment that’s fuelled much speculation in the past week or so and has led fans to believe that when the show returns for its second season, it may shift the focus and give us a chance to explore some of the other theme parks that exist. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though, as from what we’re hearing, it’s still Westworld that will remain at the “center of the narrative.”
That’s according to co-creator Jonathan Nolan, who recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and told them that the Samurai World tease wasn’t a sign of things to come in season 2. Rather, it was there for Maeve to understand that she’s actually part of a franchise:
We knew that anyone familiar with the original film knew about Medieval World and Roman World. We also wanted to articulate the distinction between what the park was when it started 35 years ago and what it’s changed into. And also the almost obscene moment in which Maeve, who thought she understood the totality of the artificial world she’s in, suddenly realizes she’s part of a franchise. That kind of delicious moment. I would hasten to point out that for Lisa and myself, the second season is about opening up the world a little bit, as the hosts start discovering it. That was the idea from the beginning: We only know what the hosts know.
Further on, Nolan explained that while we will see more in season 2, it’s still Westworld that will be the main focus of the show:
As the scope opens up in the second season, we’ll see more, but Westworld remains the center of our narrative. That’s the title of the show and that’s what we’re doing, so that will remain the center and heart of what we’re doing. But we’re going to see the hosts start to realize and almost be offended by this notion: “Wait, we’re not the only ones here? There’s more?” 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. As soon as Akira Kurosawa would make a film, it would get remade with cowboys. The idea that those stories worked in two very distinct genres and languages, and the relationship between those genres, to me was irresistible as an homage to how Kurosawa was responsible for some of the greatest Westerns of all time.
While Nolan’s reasoning is sound, fans will definitely be disappointed to hear that Westworld isn’t transitioning to another park when it returns. Not that there was anything wrong with the Western setting, but it would no doubt add some excitement to the show if we got to jump around a bit and find out how both the hosts behave and what type of narratives feature in the other parks.
We suspect that the HBO series will eventually push its Western setting to the background, but for now, it seems like we’ll be staying in Westworld for the immediate future. Whether that’s a smart decision or not remains to be seen, but we’ve had no reason to doubt Nolan and co-creator Lisa Joy up to this point and as such, we’ll continue to trust that they know what they’re doing.
What do you think, though? Is sticking to the Western setting for season 2 a smart move for Westworld, or should the show begin to take steps into the surrounding theme parks to keep things exciting? Sound off in the usual place and let us know!