Hey guys! I’m coming to you live from Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con. In a few moments, the cast and crew of HBO’s Westworld will take the stage to give folks an idea of what to expect from the next season of the sci-fi show. Stay tuned right here to live updates! If you can’t be in the room, I promise this is almost as good. I will be using character names instead of actor names for the most part because liveblogging is a speedster’s game.
4:17pm – We’re already running late guys. But SOON.
4:23PM – About to begin. We’re going to see early, EARLY stuff so they’re reminding us no filming. Reggie Watts is moderating.
4:26PM – Footage opens with an in Blackened the train, just a compilation of footage from the first season. A few outtakes with Dolores getting stuck in a door and the Man in Black forgetting a line and cussing. I hope they put this on the Internet because it’s hilarious watching a horse poop while the characters try to be all serious. We end with Anthony Hopkins dancing away on a green screen set. Just about the only cast member that isn’t here is Anthony Hopkins.
4:29PM – Reggie thanks the cast and crew for making a show that doesn’t dumb itself down for the audience.
4:31PM – Jonathan and Lisa asked who influenced the show. Lisa says she has all the good ones and Jonathan had the cheesy ones. He used the Red Dead Redemption video game as “research” and got Lisa to play with him. She says she is terrible at it (and Grand Theft Auto, where she obeys traffic signals and gives pedestrians the right of way). I guess we know now that Lisa would be a White Hat in Westworld!
4:34PM – Jonathan adds that depending on how you interpret Blade Runner, not many films or shows have dealt inside the minds of androids. So they wanted to take that idea and run with it. “The more you think about these questions, the more it feels like your mind is turning inside out. My perception of reality has shifted since we started filming this show. We must be in a simulation because I just did a tequila shot in the parking garage with Ed Harris.”
4:38PM – The player piano was one of the earliest images when they were breaking down the show. The combination of the old and the new and it had a mechanized component to it. A way to repurpose contemporary music in an old timey way and lull us into something familiar. It reminds the audience that we are not in the time period it appears we are in. Music is a way to reprogram humans in a way as we all have touchstones even if we don’t LIKE pop music, we’ve heard it.
4:41pm – The guns in the show can hit androids but not humans (at first), the cast and crew are not giving up the secrets on how the guns know which are which. The moderator has a theory: that there are little nubs on the android guns but not the human-wielded ones and it’s a transmitter that tells the difference between android and human. Evan Rachel Wood was piecing together who Wyatt is and figured it out before the script told her.
4:43PM – Thandie Newton said it was incredibly kind of the showrunners and writers to not tell the cast what their characters were because it helped keep them in the moment and commit without knowledge that could affect their performance.
4:46PM – Ed Harris says ‘Westworld’ is its own genre in a way, it’s very specific and so, so detailed. It’s worthy of attention and it’s like ‘Game of Thrones,’ it’s complex and confusing and a lot of storylines going on and some people dig in deep and others just follow along for the ride. Ed Harris is one of the latter. He doesn’t know everything that’s happening but he enjoys it.
4:47PM – Conscious decisions for Maeve come from chaos, when she’s breaking down. Thandie Newton believes Maeve getting the technicians to upgrade her was the first conscious decision she made.
4:50PM – Evan had an existential crisis when the scripts started coming in. Almost a panic attack in the fourth episode because she realized how complex this show was and resting on her shoulders. The show was pitched to her that she wouldn’t stay a damsel in distress, but she didn’t really grasp the gravity of it. But then she rallied and became so excited to have a character with so many layers. The cast and crew was almost building a new style of show and it was so fulfilling. It was like she had “fucking condor wings” and got to fly with this character instead of having her acting wings clipped and it changed Evan’s life. Transformative and fun.
4:53PM – Jeffrey knew a little bit more than others, but didn’t learn Bernard was a host when he read the pilot. Once full production began, Lisa pulled him aside and told him Bernard was a host. Jeffrey said at the time he didn’t appreciate what that meant, it would be an interesting foil, but going through the course of the first season he began to opportunity there for him both as an actor and as a person dealing with existential questions. He’s still learning who Bernard is. “Join me.”
4:56PM – “The hosts can be more human than the humans that come to the park,” says James Marsden. Teddy and Dolores represent the best of humanity.
4:59PM – Jimmy Simpson thinks the Man in Black is a man putting up a strong front to cover an anguished, broken ego. That he’s grasping for control in his life and that began when he fell in love for the first time (with Dolores) and it traumatized him and it turned Jimmi Simpson into Ed Harris. Filming the scene where Jimmi puts the black hat on for the first time was difficult for him and Evan to film because they realized the carefully crafted love story we were all rooting for was going to fall apart.
5:01PM – Ben Barnes gets a laugh for saying “Gentlemen, you won’t know true terror or true joy until you’ve ridden a horse naked.” Someone in Target yelled at Evan “Freeze all motor functions!” and that’s when she knew the show was a hit. We are now headed into the audience participation portion of the panel.
5:06PM – Asked about Samurai World or Shogun World, the showrunners respond “Doesn’t look like anything to me.” Crowd goes wild with giggles. And now we’re going into NEW FOOTAGE.
5:15PM – Opens on the player piano and it starts playing but no music comes out. Just gears moving and blood on the player piano. Then the music begins but I don’t recognize the song. Bernard staring at the Sweetwater River. There’s a dead tiger on the shore. Um. Some dude swinging upside-down from a tree and trying to reach a gun. A lot of dead guys on the floor and Maeve looking at them in the behind-the0scenes area. Humans running away from Dolores and Teddy. She is wearing a bandolier and has a shotgun and looks amazing in her blue skirt and white undershirt. Range rovers go through the desert and Ed Harris puts on his black hat while covered in blood. Then smiles.