1973’s Westworld was the feature-film directing debut of Michael Crichton, who was imagining menacing theme parks long before he thought up Jurassic Park. In the original, the Delos corporation offered several immersive worlds populated by androids, with the titular attraction being a frontier theme.
The teaser for HBO’s upcoming series Westworld appears to have retained the premise of a dangerous, manufactured environment, while updating the mechanics of how that experience is provided. Seemingly presented within the context of an interview with Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld resembles a virtual nightmare period piece where human visitors and synthetic citizens are at risk of becoming captives. (Unlike the original, the new series appears to be using post-Epcot Center technology.)
Shots of Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright against high-tech backdrops contrast with images of an analog Old West. As the teaser unwinds, it becomes clear that Wood’s character is not who she believes herself to be. Of course, the reimagined Westworld is the creation of Jonathan Nolan, who has made a career out of pulling the rug out from under viewers. So it’s quite likely that this first glimpse is meant to deceive.
Westworld will likely make a strong case for enjoying a staycation when it debuts on HBO sometime in 2016.