Your Westworld Logistical Questions Answered

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Where Is Westworld Located?

We are to believe that Westworld is an actual physical place and not a virtual world. While most of the show’s exteriors were shot in Castle Valley in Utah, that might not be the real setting for this fictional theme park. Joy has said “exactly where and when we are is something we’re going to be exploring and revealing through the eyes of the hosts later on down the line” but that we would see the ways the park is terraformed.

Not only are the hosts and wardrobe and dialogue are designed meticulously, but also the land is also designed for the park.

Now I can’t wait to see the 3D printers that turn out that huge landscape.

From that gigantic computer projection of the property, Westworld looks like an enormous, expansive place. But how big is it? We know that the world is made up of not just one town but a bunch of different towns. Sweetwater is the central town that we’ve been introduced to in the pilot.

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Will We See the Outside World?

All this talk about the park itself makes me wonder what lies beyond the park boundaries. Is it a post-apocalyptic future? Or is it a more futuristic version of our modern society, something like Minority Report? Nolan continues to remind us in his Westworld press tour that the point is that the show is mostly limited to what the hosts understand about their world, and we don’t see much beyond what they have seen:

And they don’t understand much; they don’t know what that outside world is, they don’t know when that outside world is. They’re coming to discover that. But their world has been sort of fabricated and filled with cultural references. Their dialogue features allusions and homage. That music in the saloon.

Here he’s referencing the modern songs which appear in this world through a Western-era remix, but drops a mention that the hosts will discover the outside world. In the pilot, we see one of the characters interacting with a photograph which appears to be from the outside world. I’m not sure we’ll see much of the outside world other than the behind-the-scenes areas of the Westworld facility. This mystery will probably be something we explore more of in the future seasons. But Joy has previously confirmed that we will see outside of the park’s walls in the first season.

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Where Are the Backstage Facilities Located?

During the pilot episode, we see the backstage areas of Westworld, which look like big concrete warehouses, but where are they? At one point we see some of the behind-the-scenes characters overlooking the world from a cliff facility. Where does all the behind-the-scenes of Westworld take place? Nolan may have been borrowing from Disney World’s tunnels as apparently most of the facilities are underground, but in a different way.

Production designer Nathan Crowley has the whole world mapped out, including the underground behind-the-scenes facilities. Joy describes the backstage area as “a 100-story building skyscraper that goes down instead of up, which for us was also a visual metaphor for the age of the park.”

When you’re in the older portion of it [far below the surface], the cold storage, it has been clearly repurposed from something that used to be more grand. The more functional bloody aspects of host maintenance are literally down further on the totem pole and when you get to the top of the mesa structure – that pool area you see in the episode – that’s a detox area from people coming out of the park. The idea being, you wrap up your stay in the park and spend a night or two on the mesa having a cocktail, reliving your experiences with a little R&R before you go back to the real world. So the shock of coming out of full vacation mode – or homicidal mode, or whatever your fancy is – is buffered somewhat by conventional modern luxury before you go back.

But what about the behind-the-scenes human workers? Joy says that the techs, depending on their station or pay scale, have accommodations in the facility. Some of them have better residences based on the importance of their jobs. And we’ll see in future episodes characters making a reference to “getting leave,” which gives us a sense that the staff is on location “in the park for several weeks at a stretch before they rotate home.”

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Is the 1973 Movie the Canonized Backstory For This Park?

We have been told that the park “hasn’t had a critical failure in 30 years,” which is a little more than a decade shy of the original 1973 Westworld movie. Is it possible that this is a reference to the events in that film and that the series is a quasi-sequel? Nolan writes off the mention as being a “playful” nod but notes that it’s “not meant to be literal.”

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