westworld hub map

In this edition of Westworld Bits:

  • Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy talk about that gruesome “self-sabotage” scene.
  • Yes, Dolores is supposed to look like a Disney princess.
  • Read the script for Dolores’ loop and check out an underground park map.
  • A video explores Westworld’s visual symmetry.
  • A deep dive into the design of Westworld and its visual effects.
  • Could Game of Thrones ever crossover with Westworld?

As with most HBO shows, each new episode of Westworld comes packaged with a brief video that lets the show’s cast and crew discuss what you just watched. In the case of “The Stray,” that video finds showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy discussing the scene where the wandering host “self-sabotages” and bashes his own head in with a large rock. There are no big revelations here, but it’s fun to watch the show’s masterminds run down what could be going on in this scene and asking one important question: is someone manipulating the malfunctioning robots or is this all happening organically (so to speak)?

westworld dissonance theory

Speaking of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy addressing your pressing questions, Entertainment Weekly spoke to the showrunners in a fascinating interview where they touch on everything from the park’s actual location to how head of security Ashley Stubbs is the only character so far to realize what kind of story he’s in. For example, here’s Nolan confirming that there is a little of Alice (as in Wonderland) in Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores:

There are a couple of references for Dolores. Some more explicit than others. Alice is one we talked about. But also Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World. It was a tilt of the head toward all the different stories that inspired us; a classic protagonist who’s on a hero’s journey with a darker twist to it. She starts in what should be the happy homestead but it’s not and she goes out looking ultimately for herself. Trish Summerville designed her amazing look for the pilot. She also looks like a Disney princess. She’s also got a leather belt, which is her utility belt.

And while both showrunners remain rightfully cagey about details, Nolan does talk more about the self-sabotaging host and where, exactly, he’s trying to go when he wanders out of his loop:

It’s less that he’s trying to get out of the park than trying to get up to the top of the mountain. That’s odd behavior. We also like the idea that an artificial mind might break in different human minds. I’m a huge fan of John Frankenheimer’s films, like The Manchurian Candidate. The idea that you have hidden purpose in a brainwashing movie. We talked about it endlessly. Brainwashing in human beings is always a little far fetched. With the hosts, of course, the idea of having hidden purpose, or break in ways that are inhuman, is completely believable. Everything they’re doing is brainwashed, in a way, with some exceptions, like Dolores. The question is: What have they been told to do? And by who?

Dolores kills a fly westworld

One of the most fascinating aspects of Westworld is watching the hosts engage in their same “loop” over and over again, with guests and other factors changing the outcome in surprising ways. In the case of “The Stray,” we got to see Dolores break out of her loop entirely. The Delos Incorporated site, which represents the company behind the creation of the park and provides all kinds of “in-character” content to sift through, has revealed the full script for Dolores’ loop, complete with branching paths and options we haven’t had the chance to see yet.

westworld hub map

The Delos Incorporated site also features this video, which breaks down the exact layout of the park’s Mesa Hub, where park employees live and work.

Editor Jose Rico has assembled a video examining the cinematography from the first two episodes of Westworld, focusing on how the show’s cinematographers emphasize the placement of characters and important elements in the center of the screen. Here’s how he describes his work:

Two weeks after its release, Westworld has become one of HBO’s newest hits. Based on the 1973 film directed by Michael Crichton, this tv series tells a story which blends perfectly futuristic technology and the western world.

Besides the complex characters, the large landscapes, or its superb score, one of the things that has made me love the show is its photography.

On many occasions, during the first two episodes, we can see some of the characters or the main actions placed in the center of our screens. The work of Paul Cameron (cinematographer of the first episode), Brendan Galvin (DoP of the second one) and their teams, show us what’s important in every frame, and what should we look in every second.

In this video I’ve tried to compile some of these shots (from episodes 1 and 2) where you can find different characters, objects or actions in the middle of the picture.

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