‘Westworld’: 10 things to know about the show everyone’s talking about

Vernise Tantuco
Here's why everyone is talking about this sci-fi Western that's barely past its first season

'WESTWORLD.' Everyone is watching Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's new sci-fi Western series. Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

MANILA, Philippines – Everyone is talking about Westworld, the newest TV series that has the world in grips over its multi-layered, mysterious storyline.

The show has been compared to Game of Thrones in terms of its elaborate plot and the number of viewers it pulls in – not just by websites and critics, but by Warner Bros. Entertainment’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara.

So what’s the deal with this show that’s barely even finished its first season? Here’s what you need to know:

1. The show is a sci-fi Western by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

Westworld in the show is a theme park, where humans can immerse themselves in another world, filled with robots or “hosts.”

Meanwhile, the hosts think their world is real – but some are slowly starting to realize otherwise.

2. Westworld stars James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, and many more.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

The show, based on the 1973 movie of the same name, also stars Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright, among others, and is executive produced by JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Jerry Weintraub.

3. The actors were given the script to study bit by bit, so they didn’t know the whole story.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

Like the viewers, not everything is revealed to the actors all at once, so character deaths – and resurrections – are a surprise to them too.

4. The plot is so complicated that even they come up with their own fan theories about it.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

Like the fans, the actors in the show like figuring out what Jonah and Lisa have in store for Westworld. At an interview with Southeast Asian reporters in Singapore, James shared that he and Evan talked about what they thought was going to happen as they received their scripts. 

“Around episode 6 or so, I think we’ve read 7 at that point, she [Evan] goes, ‘This is blah blah, this is a host…’ and I went, ‘You’re wrong,'” James told the press. “I think that’s what Jonah wants you to think, but if he knows you’re gonna be there he’s gonna rip the rug out from underneath you. She goes, ‘I think I’m right.'”

5. James admitted that he gave up on the theories early, but Evan figured it all out mid-season.

Photo by John P Johnson/Courtesy of HBO Asia

“I had my own theories, [but] I did not break my brain trying to figure it out. Because I know Jonah and Lisa are so subversive in their storytelling that as soon as you think you know it, you do not. And I can’t speak in absolutes,” said James.

Later, he added, “Evan, on the other hand, was hell-bent on figuring it all out early.” Her theories turned out to be right, said James.

6. The actors have to strictly stick to the script.

Photo by John P Johnson/Courtesy of HBO Asia

Because they’re in the dark as to the rest of the plot, there isn’t a lot of room for improvisation, but according to James, there isn’t any need for it.

He said: “If you open up a host and you see how precisely engineered these beings are, that’s Jonah Nolan with Westworld the show. Every line of dialogue, everything, from props sitting on the table, to the color of the background player’s hat, everything is by design.”

7. Because he plays a host, James has had to act naked in front of the Westworld scientists, including Anthony.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

When asked what that experience was like, James assured reporters, “I was more excited to act opposite sir Anthony.”

But he also joked later on: “I just was like, trying to hold his gaze. ‘Look me in the eye!'”

8. Everyone in the main cast of Westworld can sing.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

Aside from James, Evan, Thandie, Jeffrey, and Ed Harris can also sing. “We tease Jonah [Nolan], we say we’re going to turn season 2 into a musical, and he’s like, ‘No, that’s not happening!'” shared James.

9. Season 2 for the show, which airs on HBO, has been confirmed.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

Westworld’s second season is set to air in late 2017 or early 2018.

10. A lot of things can be revealed about a person when you enter Westworld, where anything can happen and you can be anyone.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

One of the appeals of Westworld the theme park is that you can lose yourself in a completely different world. James says that if he visited Westworld, he’d go on a bounty hunt, but he’d also take his friends there and observe how they would behave differently.

Photo courtesy of HBO Asia

The final episode of Westworld season 1 is set to air on Monday, December 5 at 10 am in the US. 

What fantasy would you live out if you visited Westworld? – Rappler.com

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.