SDCC 2017 [Panel Review]: Westworld.

“Monsignor” Travis Moody

WESTWORLD (Saturday – Hall H) – This hour-long panel for one of the most critically-acclaimed and fan-approved new shows of the year nearly turned into the Jonathan Nolan show, and that wasn’t entirely a bad thing, as many of the 6600+ in attendance (Editor’s note: These many of whom were waiting impatiently for Marvel Studios–often murmuring to friends, some loudly cracking jokes–made this one of the harder panels to take notes for) got to know a guy known most of his career as “Christopher Nolan’s brother”. While Dunkirk might clean up around Oscar time, don’t be surprised if his little bro takes away as many Emmy’s.

Some of the more interesting moments in this large Hall H ensemble were how Westworld changed the perception of reality for much of those who created and worked on the show. Nolan, who co-created WW along with wife Lisa Joy, had a fun time explaining the couple’s inspiration — especially at her expense. “My wife is the only one who obeys traffic laws in Grand Theft Auto… There aren’t many jobs where you can play video games as research.” Nolan, citing the Western action/adventuee fame Red Dead Redemption as one of their research tools, also joked that the showrunners are attempting to “slowly reprogram the human population.” Joy, on the other hand, enthusiastically enjoyed working alongside the actors on set, whom she called “fearless and technically skilled”.

Actress Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness), despite only a few feet away from her boss pair, may have let off a bit of a reveal. “Is she going back for her daughter?” Nolan retorted to the delight of the audience, “It better be. That’s what we wrote.” While many of the actors were kept in the dark on the material for obvious reasons, Evan Rachel Wood claimed that working on Westworld had changed her life and had enjoyed the many different layers of character, tone and style-inventing. “I’d come home covered in bruises and blood and became.. happy!” Wood also “turned every rock” on casting announcements while co-star Jeffrey Wright clowned about solving script mysteries through Reddit. He was especially intrigued of what being a host would consist of–despite his hesistance throughout the course of the season; he’s only just “starting to understand the opportunity [and] still learning.” He joked, “join me.”

Cyclops himself, actor James Marsden, especially loved how the host characters were “the best of what humanity is about…and sometimes more human than the humans that come to the park.” He also replied to a funny Q&A inquiry about his many cinematic deaths, and compared them to how you’d treat your children — not picking any over another. Panel host Reggie Watts thus called him “the Kenny of Westworld.”

While it was hard for many of the actors to get their shit in during such a big panel with not much time and many of the deep, more scientifically-driven questions relayed to Westworld‘s creators, they were a delight and, if nothing else, the panel before the panel everyone wanted to see has this Monsignor even more excited for Season #2. 3.75/5 Bibles.

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