In Depth

Westworld season 2 will ‘f*** with Reddit’

HBO show’s announcements at SXSW include a new fan strategy and a Westworld video game

Westworld showrunner Jonathan Nolan has hinted at plans to “take fan theories to the next level” in future seasons of the show.

During a South by Southwest panel, Nolan promised fans that the second season will “f*** with Reddit as much as possible”, says NME. 

“True Detective had a lot of fan theories that proved to be theories. There are lot of theories about Westworld’s first season that proved to be plot twists,” he explained. “I think for every fan theory, we actually had an episode that dealt with it.

“We’re figuring out how to sort of interact with that in the second season. A somewhat controversial plan that we’re working on,” Nolan added.

HBO has also built an entire town at SXSW modelled after the series. 

Fans had to wait in an hours-long queue before boarding a series of buses to an undisclosed location, where they could explore faithful reproductions of locations from Westworld’s main setting, Sweetwater, including the Mariposa Salon and the Coronado hotel.

Production on the recreation took a 40-person crew five weeks to build, according to IGN. There were 60 actors or “hosts” with a 444-page final script.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment also used SXSW to announce a pre-registration offer for its upcoming Westworld mobile game.

The games team has been “working closely” with Westworld writers and producers to “develop a narrative that can complement the themes of the series”, says TechCrunch.

The game is expected to be released later this year for Android and iOS platforms.

 
1 March

Westworld season 2: is Dr Robert Ford definitely dead?

Westworld returned to the public consciousness with a lavish ad during the Superbowl which got fans of the show guessing on who and what would return in season two - and whether there is any hope for Anthony Hopkins' character Dr Robert Ford.

Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have remained tight-lipped on what to expect from new episodes, but in a brand new interview with Entertainment Weekly, they've provided an update on some characters who have been absent from the trailers so far as well as those confirmed to appear.

Programmer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) and security chief Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are still out in the wild of Westworld. “They’re finally getting to experience Westworld as guests and not in the managerial halls, but I’m not sure they’re enjoying their experience,” Joy said in the EW interview.

Also alongside them is “Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) - the park's British head writer - who is held hostage by Maeve (Thandie Newton) as the season begins,” reports The Independent. “He’s found himself in the most uncomfortable position he can possibly be in,” Quarterman tells the paper. “These hosts have always been props to his stories, and now it’s like he’s become a player in one of his own stories.”

Tessa Thompson is also returning to reprise her role as Charlotte Hale, who was lost in the crowd in last season’s finale when Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) shot Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Joy said not only is she back, but she “causes trouble.”

“She went from this controlled person playing this chess game with Ford,” Joy said. “He takes out her king and queen in one fell swoop. Now she’s left at the mercy of the hosts like everyone else.”

This season will also bridge the gap to show how William (Jimmi Simpson) went from innocent newbie to seasoned veteran with so much influence over Delos. But one actor who won’t be returning is Anthony Hopkins, his time as the park’s creator Dr Robert Ford has come to an end but that doesn’t mean we won’t see the character in a different guise or era, Joy and Nolan said.

Another big reveal from the Entertainment Weekly interview was what the sinister-looking white robot standing behind Bernard in the Superbowl trailer was.

Explaining how fans of the drama will be discovering new things alongside Bernard, Nolan said: “Bernard [will make] his way through the wreckage of the fallout from the first season... discovering things about the park that even he doesn't know and coming upon creatures like the drone host.”

“The drone hosts relate to the corporation's secret project which is hidden in plain sight in this park,” he revealed.

5 February

Westworld season 2: six new worlds and release date revealed

Westworld’s season 2 trailer debuted during Sunday’s Super Bowl, but while many are eagerly awaiting the April air date it is speculation about the show’s six new worlds that has really got fans talking.

There has long been speculation Westworld is just one of several in the park, but while the new trailer provides few clues as to possible new worlds and with HBO remaining steadfastly tight-lipped, a new well-hidden website tied to the series confirms Delos has at least five other worlds within it.

The website DelosDestinations.com was discovered by Reddit fans who decoded a secret message hidden within the Westworld season 2 trailer.

The series has so far only hinted future seasons could break out from the show’s western setting. Rumours of a “Samurai World” was apparently confirmed in the season one finale after images of samurai robots were seen under construction. The extra world’s existence has also been backed up by the new website which shows the first shots of a Japanese-inspired world known currently as “S World,” which could mean Samurai World or Shogun World, says Gizmodo.

Show creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have hinted that Medieval World and Roman World (depicted in Michael Crichton’s 1973 original film) - or at least versions of them - could be coming in the future. There has also been speculation the show could contain a Future World (as seen in the 1976 Richard T. Heffron sequel).

When asked about possible new worlds, Nolan told EW: “I would say the conception of the show from the beginning is we would slowly but surely learn more about the world and worlds our hosts inhabit. There’s a lot more story to tell in Westworld but that doesn’t mean we will only be in Westworld.”

Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard Lowe, Thandie Newton’s Maeve Millay, and Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores Abernathy are all set to return in the new season while the Delos Destinations homepage also reveals the identity of a new character: James Delos, the founder of Delos Inc., who according to EW is to be played by Scottish actor Peter Mullan.

The amount of money HBO spent on a Super Bowl ad suggests that the company “is banking big on Westworld being its new major show, taking over from Game of Thrones which is set to conclude in 2019”, says The Independent.

Like the first, season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and will air on Sky Atlantic and through NOWTV in the UK. It will be simulcast with the US, meaning when the show airs on HBO on Sunday nights, it will also be broadcast in the UK at 2am early Monday.

Westworld: season 2 premieres on 22 April 2018. 

9 May 2017

Will William return to Westworld in season 2?

Westworld actor Jimmi Simpson doesn't know if his character William will return for season two of the hit HBO series, but he can think of "some interesting ways to bring him back".

At the end of season one, it was revealed that William, a guest at the theme park who fell in love with host Dolores (Evans Rachel Wood), was a younger version of the brutal Man in Black (Ed Harris), who had abused his former sweetheart for decades.

In a webchat with Gold Derby, Simpson said he wasn't sure there was enough story left to continue with his character now audiences knew the twist.

However, that didn't stop him suggesting some ways he could return, including "maybe William shows up as a host and has a scene with Ed".

Simpson also revealed he had been as in the dark about the Man in Black's true identity as the audience.

"They told us so little," he said. "But now knowing the truth, you are always wide open for any stimuli from every scene so you are paying more attention. And when it happened, it was difficult to play."

He did have one hint that his and Harris's character might be one and the same - a make-up artist asked to change the shape of his eyebrows, leading him to reason the only reason for doing this was to make him look like someone else.

He put this theory to one of the show's creators and "she said to not tell anyone I knew that", he added.

Nevertheless, the revelation was still a shock him.

"I hoped they would change their mind but as it unfolded, I think they did it perfectly," he said.

"My job was not to play William turning into the Man in Black; my job was to play William who has his heart broken. I bet over the next ten years he came back endless amounts of times, hoping she would find this mode that he found with her.

"It's after years of that heartbreak that he became the man that he unfortunately became. At least that's what I was playing."

28 April 2017

Westworld season two will see a very different Dolores

Evan Rachel Wood has told fans of HBO's sci-fi thriller Westworld to expect a "completely different" Dolores in season two.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Wood said she was "really curious" to see an "unleashed" version of her conflicted heroine following the ending of the first series, when the sweet rancher's daughter lead an android uprising against the park's mastermind Dr Ford.

She said: "Those final seconds, I think we were seeing a completely different side to her, completely different programming and completely off of her leash.

"I don't think she will be the same person; she'll be an evolved version."

It sounds as if there's plenty of action in store for season two, which will air in 2018, although executive producer Lisa Joy has hinted to fans that Westworld's famously head-spinning plot will be easier to follow this time around.

Joy told TV Insider that the multiple timelines of series one - which left many confused viewers scrabbling for a pen and paper - will not be back.

She said: "At that point, it made sense to do multiple timelines because it showed how Delores felt and that confusion."

Season two, she said, will see them "experiment in different point of views and different angles.

"You don't necessarily want to repeat the same thing," Joy added.

28 March 2017

Westworld season two: The big questions that need answering

Season one of Westworld was a mind-bending web of multiple timelines and mysteries – and, while the finale answered a few key questions, there are still some that need answering.

By the end of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's gripping series, it was finally confirmed that William was a younger Man in Black and that many of the scenes had actually been flashbacks to different eras of the park.

The "maze" with which the Man in Black was so obsessed turned out to be a road-map to robot consciousness created by the park's co-founder Arnold as a way of dealing with grief over his son's death.

Brothel-keeper Maeve also appeared to figure a way out of Westworld, but it's possible that was all part of a narrative designed to distract staff.

Westworld's explosive climax, which saw Dolores and other hosts gun down guests and Delos employees, including co-creator Dr Robert Ford, was perhaps more satisfying than many expected. 

Yet it also left some big questions hanging, saving some of its most intriguing mysteries to be unpicked in the show's second season next year.

Here are some of the biggest quandaries.

 Is Ford really dead?

In a seeming mea culpa, Ford repeated his old partner's actions to get Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) to kill him of her own free will so she could reach a new level of consciousness.

But did he really sacrifice himself to the cause? If Westworld fans learned anything from season one, it's that nothing is ever as it seems.It is possible Ford built a robot version of himself for Dolores to kill or uploaded his consciousness to a host before he died.

Who is left alive?  

Westworld's death count was high, but some of them may not have occurred. 

While we saw Elsie (Shannon Woodward) being strangled by her mentor Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and the Ghost Nation squad ambush Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), we never actually saw either character die. 

Logan (Ben Barnes) also disappeared, riding naked on horseback and laughing madly into peril. But he may still be out there somewhere.

Meanwhile, many of the robots were killed in the finale but, as we have seen before, they can be brought back to life – as long as there is anyone left alive to rebuild them.

IMDb lists only five actors so far: Thandie Newton as Maeve, James Marsden as Teddy, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard, Ed Harris as the Man in Black and Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores. Series two also has 20 episodes, says the site, double the first series' number.

Where on earth is Westworld?

The show has partly answered the question of when events are happening. The "current" narrative takes place 35 years after Arnold programmed Dolores to kill him and the other hosts. But fans still don't know where Westworld is.

Bernard refers to the park as the "mainland", but that could be anywhere. Some viewers have even speculated that it is on another planet. Season two may offer more clues.

What will the hosts do with their new-found consciousness?

In an interview last month, Wood said the first season is "an amazing prequel and a good setup for the actual show", suggesting we have only just begun.

We know Delos's top-secret project goes beyond simply running an amusement park to entertain the rich, so is Westworld an experiment to comprehend and control human consciousness? Or do they want to breed a race of super-soldiers, or perhaps have an evil plan for world domination?

It is unclear whether the hosts will take control of the park and any remaining humans, or whether they hope to leave. 

Dolores's original father, Abernathy, was among the hosts in cold storage - apparently programmed to escape the park. Did he ever make it? Will we find out next year?

Will there be more parks?

In Michael Crichton's 1973 film Westworld, guests can also visit Romanworld and Medievalworld, although the show's creators have said those specific parks will not feature in the TV version.

However, that is not to say there won't be other themed areas. The season finale hinted there could be an S-World, likely to be Samarai World, although it was not clear if it was fully functional or a work in progress. Meanwhile, Maeve was told her daughter was in "Park 1", suggesting there is more than just Westworld…

Westworld theories: Are fans right about Dolores?

28 November

With just two more episodes to run, the first series of Westworld, HBO's science fiction thriller, is about to reach its climax.

Critics have hailed the programme, which juxtaposes humans and super-realistic androids in a western-themed amusement park, as a mix of enthralling drama and outright insanity.

But the series has also managed to confuse viewers about exactly who is who, who knows who, who is what, and what is happening when. Here are a few of the sensible – and not so sensible – theories as to what's going on:

The is more than one Dolores

Dolores is the oldest artificial human – or "host" – in the Westworld park, and one of the central characters in the series. The fact that she appears to move easily around locations has prompted speculation that more than one of her is being presented to the audience.

It's "certainly unclear" how Dolores is being "pulled from the park without anyone noticing" for her meetings with Bernard, says Empire's Owen Williams. After all, there's no reason why hosts should not be mass-produced. Dolores herself has been seeing doppelgangers everywhere but it's not yet clear if they are real or if she's going mad.

The drama is unfolding in multiple timelines

After episode eight, it is now "indisputable" that Westworld is being told to us in multiple timelines – and even eras of the park – all jumbled up in the same episode, says Vulture.

In episode eight, the Man in Black bumped into the host who greeted William when he arrived in the park, says the site, and said he remembered her but thought she had been retired. While this doesn't quite confirm the fan theory that William is the Man in Black, it does prove the guest's timeline happened long before the events involving the Man in Black.

Some fans are certain there are at least three different timelines in the show: the scenes involving Teddy and the Man in Black; the sequences featuring Dolores and William, and the town massacre before William arrived.

This would provide an alternative to the idea that there is more than one Dolores. Instead, one Dolores is having flashbacks of her previous experiences.

Arnold is still alive

Dr Ford – Westworld's founder and creative director, played by Anthony Hopkins – has told Bernard that Arnold, his old partner, died after trying to make the hosts conscious. But Ford is not a reliable narrator.

Programmer Elsie, whose job was to rectify the strange behaviour of some of the cyborgs, warned that the first-generation hosts had been re-programmed by someone calling himself Arnold. But she appears to have been killed by Bernard at Dr Ford's request. Or is Bernard also being influenced by Arnold?

One "Arnold is alive" theory proposes that he managed to upload his consciousness onto the central computer at Westworld before he died and that he's now manipulating events.

Other 'humans' are hosts

Fans' suspicions that Bernard – head of the Westworld programming division and creator of artificial people – was a host were confirmed at the end of the seventh episode when Theresa, the park's operations leader, finds design plans showing that he is indeed an automaton.

Until then, the internet had been alive with speculation about Bernard's non-human origins, much of it based on the idea that he's a copy of Arnold. But are there other hosts acting as humans in Westworld?

The park is underwater... Or a documentary

Use of multiple timelines and super-realistic cyborgs makes it easy for Westworld to play with the viewer's perceptions. This in turn has spawned a glut of fanciful theories about what's going on.

Two related and far-fetched ideas have it that Ford has either flooded Westworld or that the entire park is underwater. This might account for the futuristic transport needed to get guests to the park, but fails to explain the existence of a desert miles below the surface.

Another theory proposes that Westworld is a documentary pieced together by one of the park's escapees after a bloody climax. And there's more. The theory is that the programme is a "real" documentary from the future, in Terminator style. Tell that to the executives at HBO.

Westworld episode eight: The plot thickens

22 November

Cowboy-android thriller Westworld's latest episode revealed more about the sinister theme park and its robot inhabitants – but critics and viewers are still struggling to put it all together.

Last week, it was confirmed that Bernard Lowe, the designer of the artificial consciousness which animates the "host" androids, was actually a robot himself, satisfying fans who had long speculated he was being controlled by park director Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins).

In this week's episode, Trace Delay, the big reveal was the Man in Black's confession of his villainous past, in which he killed the daughter of brothel-keeper Maeve. 

It turns out the robot's human-like grief made the gunslinger realise the hosts were capable of more than synthetic emotion and so kick-started his quest to discover the mystery at the heart of the game.

But while fans might be relieved to get yet another piece of the Westworld puzzle, critics have wondered whether the multiple timelines and the blurring of real and scripted memories are becoming too much to process.

At points, says Alan Sepinwall in Uproxx, the intriguing narrative threatens to become bogged down in "dreams, loops, and other things that are starting to feel like they require more mental effort than the dramatic payoff will be worth".

Besides, with only two episode to go, this is "probably not the place to keep adding mystery layers", writes Empire's James White.

So what next? Vanity Fair's Joanna Robinson predicts the storyline isn't about to get any easier. She outlines fan theories suggesting that "William and the Man in Black are actually the same character" in two timelines and that Bernard is a clone of Ford's apparently dead partner Arnold, meaning that "sometimes when we think we're watching Bernard, we're actually watching Arnold". 

Got all that? 

The show continues this weekend. 

Westworld: Six questions about the new sci-fi hit

11 October

Intelligent, perplexing and unnerving, HBO's new dystopian sci-fi thriller Westworld, which premiered on 4 October on Sky Atlantic, has left fans baffled but intrigued. 

Based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name, Westworld is set in a theme park populated by sophisticated androids who exist solely to realise the wild west fantasies of human visitors. While the original movie made the park's visitors the protagonists, the TV series focuses on the android hosts and asks what happens when they develop consciousness.

The mysterious opening episode introduced key characters including Evan Rachel Wood as park host Dolores, Thandie Newton as host madam Maeve, Jeffrey Wright as Westworld programmer Bernard and Anthony Hopkins as Westworld's creative director Dr Robert Ford. Ed Harris appears as the mysterious Man in Black.

The episode saw the robot hosts behaving strangely, the Man in Black behaving dangerously and the park's staff very worried. It also raised a number of questions. Here are just six:

Who is the Man in Black and what does he want?

In the original Westworld, the Man in Black/Gunslinger was played by Yul Brynner and was a robot host who runs amok killing guests. But in this series, the character is a crazed human visitor, whose brutal actions seem to be aimed at uncovering some deeper truth about the park. Park directors seem to be too distracted by glitches in their upgraded robots to notice his unhinged behaviour. But who is he in the outside world and what is he really up to?

What's inside the hosts' scalps?

In the disturbing end to the first episode, the Man in Black scalps one of the park's hosts, revealing an unusual design inside his head. What is it? A pattern, a map, or some clue to a puzzle? And why does the Man in Black want it? 

Can the guests get away with anything?

In the premiere, it seems that guests are allowed to do pretty much anything they want to the hosts. If they shoot a bad guy, the same baddie returns the next day. Poor Dolores is attacked, but wakes up the next day with seemingly no memory of what she endured. So can the guests get away with anything, no matter how violent or depraved? Not exactly. The park and the guns seem to be designed to stop the humans hurting each other. But will the robots develop to hurt the humans? And what about that knife the Man in Black carries?

Why are the robots acting strangely?

The robot hosts are suddenly and sporadically remembering their prior lives, straying off script and questioning their reality. It seems to be linked to Dr Ford's latest software updates, but was it really an accident or a sinister experiment? And does anyone really trust Dr Ford?

Will we see other worlds?    

In the original movie, the Westworld park is just one of three themed worlds, which include Roman World and Medieval World. Given that the HBO series is set to run for several seasons, it seems likely that at some point we'll be introduced to one or more of those alternative worlds. Will we see guests heading off to dress as knights or donning togas, and is it possible that the androids of Westworld will find a way to communicate with their counterparts in these alternative realities? 

Who is 'the lady with the white shoes'?

It was easy to miss the drinking toast that Old Bill made with Dr Ford, but some fans think it might be a clue to what happens next: "Here's to the lady with the white shoes. Take all your money, drink all your booze. Ain't got a cherry, that ain't no sin. She's still got the box that the cherry come in."

Bill is the second oldest host to be built and clearly showing signs of malfunction as he drinks with his creator Dr Ford. After learning that Dolores is the oldest host to be built, some fans wondered whether she might be the "lady with the white shoes" and whether Dr Ford has a secret past involving the android.

According to Bustle, the rhyme is a variation of a decades-old real-life toast, although the lady or girl is usually wearing red shoes. Therefore, it might simply be a device to show how far the hosts have come over the years due to upgrades. says the magazine. But Bill's existence does present another question: How has Dolores been upgraded without any glitches, while younger hosts have become relics of the past?

Westworld: Is sci-fi thriller the next Game of Thrones?

20 September

HBO's big new science-fiction thriller Westworld is already being compared to Game of Thrones, with first reviews praising its "enthralling" look at the effects of artificial intelligence on humanity.

The series, developed by Interstellar writer Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for HBO, is based on the 1973 film of the same name, which was written and directed by Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame. It was set in a futuristic Western theme-park, where the robots malfunctioned and started killing guests.

The new television series explores a similar premise, but rather than looking at the robots as a threat to human life, it explores the psychological implications as the robots become more human and people become dehumanised.

Anthony Hopkins stars as Dr Robert Ford, the park's brilliant creative director, along with Ed Harris as the Gunslinger, Evan Rachel Wood, who plays a Western girl who suspects her life has been constructed, and James Marsden as her romantic interest. 

"Move over Game of Thrones, it's cowboy time," says Lucy Mangan in The Guardian, who adds this mega-budget remake "plays just as niftily" as the original did upon our contemporary fears about technology.

She adds it is unclear whether there is much overlap between fans of Game of Thrones author George RR Martin and Philip K Dick, whose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was turned into Blade Runner, but for those who like story - lots of story - "Westworld will hit the spot as hard as GoT ever did".

What makes the series particularly unsettling is how plausible it all seems, says Christopher Hooton in The Independent. This kind of setup used to seem fanciful, but with advances in technology and AI, the Westworld park "comes across like something Elon Musk might announce during a keynote in the not-so-distant future".

It's an "enthralling glimpse" into that all-too-near future, he continues, and in choosing not to give everything away up front, the show is also "eminently fan theory-ready", making it ideal for internet and water-cooler discussion a la GoT, Stranger Things and Mr Robot.

While the original was a "rollicking" action movie, the series is more cerebral, says Louisa Mellor at Den of Geek. This is television that demands our attention, "ambitious, clever, unmissable sci-fi".

Game Of Thrones fans will get splashes of violence, between the discussions on moral philosophy, she adds, but this isn't pulp TV; instead, it's "poised, brainy and dignified", or "as dignified as a show can be with the inevitable HBO array of arses and tits".

If Westworld lacks anything, "it's leavening humour", continues Mellor. So far, "there's no mordant Tyrion Lannister and Varys pairing to blast fresh air into its hermetically sealed sci-fi chamber". 

Still, she concludes, it looks set to be among those rare film-to-TV adaptations that "don't just earn their keep on the small screen, but excel".

Westworld starts on Sky at 9pm on 4 October   

Westworld: What do new photos reveal about HBO sci-fi drama?

23 August

Westworld, which is set to arrive on our screens on 2 October, is already being tipped as one of the must-see series of 2016. If the name rings a bell, it may be because Michael Crichton's novel was adapted into a movie in 1973.

HBO's ten-episode mini-series will be fronted by X Men star James Marsden, True Blood's Evan Rachel Wood, and screen legend Anthony Hopkins.

The dystopian sci-fi drama revolves around Westworld, a futuristic take on living history "in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged", the HBO synopsis tells us. Guests at the amusement park can experience a lifelike replica of the Wild West peopled with ultra-advanced androids as cowboys, outlaws and farmers.

But when the robots break loose, and, terrifyingly, develop sentience, they begin to turn against their human creators. So it is similar to Jurassic Park with robots instead of dinosaurs - and from the robots' point of view.

An intriguing new set of photos from the upcoming series gives viewers a glimpse of what's in store. One arresting image shows Hopkins in character as the mysterious Dr Robert Ford, creative director of Westworld.

In another, Evan Rachel Wood looks the picture of wholesome glamour as Dolores Abernathy, a Wild West girl who discovers her quaint frontier life is a fantasy engineered by Westworld's staff.

So far, all we know about Rodrigo Santoro's role in the drama is that his character is named Hector Escaton. However, judging by his black get-up in the new images, Escaton could well turn out to be The Gunslinger, the android outlaw played by Yul Brynner in the 1973 film.

Directed by Jonathan Nolan – brother of Christopher – and co-produced by JJ Abrams of Star Trek fame, Westworld has a stack of on and off screen talent behind it. Could it rival Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black as the talked-about TV sensation of the year?

Westworld: What to expect from the dark sci-fi odyssey

9 August

HBO's long-awaited science-fiction series Westworld is set to be this year's next big hit.

The ten-part thriller, based on the 1973 film of the same name written and directed by Michael Crichton, is set in a Western-themed amusement park staffed by androids that malfunction and run amok.

It stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden and was created by Jonathan Nolan, his wife, Lisa Joy, and JJ Abrams.

Hopkins plays Dr Robert Ford, the creative director of the "ultra-realistic" amusement park, while Wood is an android who discovers her life is an elaborately constructed fiction.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the opening scene shows her "being dragged by her hair to be raped off-screen" by the so-called "Man in Black", portrayed by Harris.

HBO has defended its use of rape and violence against women, describing it as an "examination of human nature" and saying that "violence and sexual violence have been a fact of human history since the beginning".

Nolan said he also wanted to tackle issues arising from the rapid developments in artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

"We wanted to go flat out, full scope, sleeves-rolled-up plunge into the next chapter of the human story in which we stop being the protagonists and our creations start taking over that role," he said.

The show looks at what happens when such creations discover they are made in our image. "It's easy to understand why they start to question whether they want to be like us at all."

Nolan has suggested the show's robot characters would be more central to the story than the human characters, turning the original film "inside out".

"You should be scared. I'm scared," Wood told Collider. "It's an intellectual nightmare. It is all very much based in reality."

Westworld was originally scheduled to make its debut last year, but was delayed following casting changes, rewrites and a production pause. It is now due to air on HBO and Sky Atlantic in October.

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