Westworld Bits: Jeffrey Wright On That Big Twist, Timeline Explored, And A Few Easter Eggs

In this edition of Westworld Bits:

  • Watch HBO's featurette on "The Well-Tempered Clavier."
  • Jeffrey Wright talks about the surprising developments surrounding his character.
  • Director Michelle MacLaren talks about making those big plot twists happen.
  • Jimmi Simpson pays coy about his involvement in season 2.
  • Ben Barnes promises a terrifying season finale.
  • What we know about the Westworld timeline, laid out in photos and charts.
  • The Westworld theme music recreated in 8-Bit.
  • How a name on a door fulfills an early fan theory.
  • It looks like a few fun easter eggs were slipped into the background of some shots...
  • As is always the case, HBO has released a tiny featurette delving into the most recent episode of Westworld, with Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and Jeffrey Wright all discussing the cataclysmic revelations of "The Well-Tempered Clavier." Like past featurettes, there's not too much here to sink your teeth into –you get the impression that Nolan and Joy don't want to risk saying anything that could endanger future revelations.

    Vanity Fair writer, Westworld conspiracy theorist, and Decoding Westworld co-host Joanna Robinson shared this screen shot on Twitter, proving that one of the most seemingly random fan theories from the earliest days of the show was true. Some fans realized that you could take the name "Bernard Lowe" and make "Arnold" out of the letters, with the remaining letters able to spell "Weber." Thus began the theory that Arnold's last name was Weber...which was confirmed by seeing his name on a door in "The Well-Tempered Clavier." There are many ways to solve a maze, I guess.

    westworld The Well-Tempered ClavierTV Line has a new interview with the man behind Arnold and Bernard himself, the great Jeffrey Wright, who spoke about how he modulated his performance depending on which version of the character he's playing:

    Well, I think the differences existed in the writing of the two characters. So in some ways, the audience has been shown the answers to these mysteries from the beginning of the show. And I guess part of that difference is the result of the only time we see Arnold is when he's engaging with Dolores, and there's a very specific drive behind those scenes. For all those reasons, there's a very subtle increase in warmth with him, even though Bernard is a warm character and an empathetic character. But with Arnold, it's even more organic in some ways. And for me that just kind of reflected off of the writing. His blood is a little bit thicker. There's just a slightly more groundedness and casualness and fatherliness to him, particularly relative to Dolores. To me, it just came off the page. I didn't realize it until I was doing it, that there was a slight space between the two of them in their regard.

    And when the interview pointed out that in-park Hosts have been brought back from worse injuries than Bernard's self-inflicted gunshot, Wright deflected the question:

    At that point, the mind is kind of dysfunctional, you know? [Laughs] I don't know what I was able to think. Ford is a clinical guy, it seems. Even with Bernard. That's what it is.

    So, is Bernard gone for good or will someone step in to save him? While Dr. Ford is the only living human who knows the truth about Bernard, Maeve discovered his true nature...and she is heading straight back to the Westworld labs as part of her escape plan...

    dolores and arnold in westworldThe Hollywood Reporter has posted an excellent interview with Michelle MacLaren, the the veteran television director (credits include Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The X-Files) who helmed "The Well-Tempered Clavier." Of course, the centerpiece of the conversation revolves around the key scenes where Bernard learns that he was built to replicate the deceased Arnold:

    I was really excited to find out that Bernard was Arnold. I had absolutely no idea. I thought it was so interesting that we got to see that he's a host yet again, too, and the psychological impact that it has on Bernard. Then it goes to a whole new level with finding out that he's Arnold. When you reveal something that's been really well laid out — there have been many Easter eggs leading up to this moment — so much of it is about him being revealed as a host that, at least for me, I didn't suspect that it went so much further, to discovering that he was Arnold, until you get to that point where you're closer and closer [to the reveal]. What I love about what the writers did is that they came at that reveal from several different points of view. They all had to come together in that ultimate moment when we reveal that Bernard is [based on] Arnold. I love that we get to see that from a number of different angles that meld together. I also think Jeffrey Wright did a wonderful job in that moment when he's Arnold, of being slightly different from Bernard. To me, that was very exciting. I loved shooting that scene, because we knew we were revealing such a big secret. And for Jeffrey, he was ostensibly playing a different character.

    And while everyone seems to have a great Anthony Hopkins story, MacLaren has gifted us with a great Ed Harris story:

    I will tell you this: Ed Harris did that all himself. (Laughs.) That man is incredible. We had a stuntman do one of the passes, and no offense to the stuntman, but we didn't need it. Ed did it all. Ed had a harness on and a rope around his neck, and had special effects and stunt guys doing the pull on him. But he physically dragged from the point where he took the knife out of Teddy, yanked back to that tree, at the speed that you're seeing, and hung up off of his feet. He did it himself several times. The man is incredible. He is badass. You look up cool in the dictionary, and it says Ed Harris.

    The rest of the interview can be read at the link above.

    westworld episode 8 william dolores

    In an interview published shortly before "The Well-Tempered Clavier" aired, Crave Online spoke with Jimmi Simpson, who plays William on the series. When asked about the "William is the younger Man in Black" theory, Simpson laughed it off:

    That just seems ridiculous. [laughs] I'm just kidding, I know that's one of the main theories. I think it's hilarious and wonderful that anyone is comparing me to Ed Harris. [laughs] Yeah, that one is a favorite as well.

    The actor doth protest to much, methinks. Simpson also spoke about his favorite episode of the series:

    I would say [episode] seven is pretty up there. I really liked how it gets the final trajectory going. It takes all of that information, loads it into a cannon and then kind of shoots it off. I haven't seen eight, nine, or ten. Those episodes were difficult to film, just because they were so dense, and thoughtful, and beautifully written. So, I'd imagine that episodes eight, nine, and ten will be right up there with seven, I just haven't seen them yet.

    And in one cryptic moment, he does not confirm that he'll be back for season two:

    Sure. It's just a beautiful undertaking. I would love to do more.

    Ben Barnes, who plays Logan on the series, recently participated in a lengthy Facebook Q&A, which you can watch above. His one piece of advice for viewers going into the final episode of the season is to "let [the finale] wash over you like a huge, terrifying wave," so do with that what you will.

    westworld season finaleUproxx has done a fantastic job of laying out Dolores' personal story, breaking down the three timelines and revealing how Arnold's bicameral mind programming led to the massacre we've been glimpsing all season long.westworld timeline

    For quick reference, the Westworld subreddit has found this chart showing off when key characters have been active across the show's timeline. I imagine this will only grow more and more complex, especially once we're a few seasons deep.

    8 Bit Universe has created an 8 Bit cover of Ramin Djawadi's opening theme for Westworld, just in case you want to imagine the show as an old school video game and not the most advanced video game ever created in the history of fictional culture.

    westworld ford

    For additional reference, here is Anthony Hopkins' Dr. Robert Ford as seen in four different points in the Westworld timeline (via the Westworld subreddit and Redditor astersnake). While the visual effects of the shot don't quite hold up when viewed as a still, the de-aging of Hopkins has been truly impressive overall.

    westworld easter eggs

    Redditor Sour Hero did some freeze faming to read the names on the wanted posters seen throughout Westworld's towns, revealing that a few members of the show's crew have been snuck into the narrative.