Westworld, the new hit sci-fi series (based on the 1973 film of the same name) from HBO tackles plenty of science fiction themes head on - like our current obessesion with technology, the darkest most savage corners of the human psyche, the idea that artificial intelligence will one day outsmart it's creators, dystopian futures, and forces us to question what's real.
However, Westworld has an entirely different approach to these common science fiction themes than we have seen before. Through excellent storytelling, an impressive cast, and levels upon levels of mind-blowing mystery, the series has fully engrossed viewers into it's fascinating mythos.
Compared to the original movie, the series has been given the traditional HBO treatment, meaning more sex, more violence, and complete shock and awe within an updated narrative.
Showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are well known for their knack for non-traditional, non-linear storytelling, which is a very different approach than Michael Crichton.
Crichton (Jurrasic Park) wrote and directed the original Westworld film in 1973, which was set in the near future of 1983. Although the HBO series is based on the film, the two are very different when compared. The main theme is similar, but the story has evolved over the past 40 years.
Westworld is a futuristic theme park where paying guests can pretend to be gunslingers in an artificial Wild West populated by androids. After paying a sizable entrance fee, Blane (James Brolin) and Martin (Richard Benjamin) are determined to unwind by hitting the saloons and shooting off their guns. But when the system goes haywire and Blane is killed in a duel with a robotic gunslinger (Yul Brynner), Martin's escapist fantasy suddenly takes on a grim reality.
The one-hour drama series Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
Now, let's get into the 5 Biggest Differences Between The Original Movie And The HBO Series...
More Theme Parks
The original movie featured three different theme parks including West World, for guest to visit for the low, low price of $1,000 a day.
Roman World in the city of Pompeii guests could indulge in activities and pleasures true to the ancient ruling empire, like bath houses, decadent feasts, fancy outdoor pools, and of course being waited on hand and foot by beautiful men and women.
In Medieval World guests could engange in jousting, become a Knight or a Lord, marry a princess, bed a castle maid, devour a turkey leg buffet, and sword fight all set in castles during Europe's middle ages.
So far, The HBO series has only explored one theme park - the American wild west. Some are speculating that Ford's new narrative and construction project is the addition of another world, but production designer Zack Grobler has said otherwise.
"For the first season, we only explore the West World. There's talk about in the future seasons, if there's more, that there will be a different world. But we're not sure what it will be yet."
But, when Elsie entered the dark theater in shut down sector 3 to investigate the hidden relay station, her flashlight passed over one particular shelf where we saw a suit of armour and Roman sculpture. While these Easter eggs may just be nods to the original movie, they may also be hints of future seasons.prevnext
There Is No Human Creator
This is a major difference between the original film and the new hit series, however it may be due to the 1970s not having advanced technology like we do today.
As far as we can tell there is no Dr. Robert Ford, the founder and creative director of Westworld, in the movie. Instead, it's just a bunch of white lab coat scientists hidden in a back room somewhere.
In the movie these rather confused scientists do not create the "machines" themselves. Instead computers are responsible for making the park's androids, leaving the main scientist with no real idea how they are constructed.
"Most of them are made by computers, we really have no idea what they are capable of!"
In the HBO series, Dr. Robort Ford and his mysterious partner Arnold created the hosts themsevles in a god-like fashion down to every tiny detail.
Ford is aware of every single intricacy of each host. Basically saying that he knows them inside and out, which gives him complete control of their actions, narratives, and overall programming.
That is, until there is a "glitch" and someone else starts messing with the primary core programing of the original generation 1 hosts.
The hosts are much more human and complex in the series, which allows the current storyline of hosts beginning to gain their own consiousness and break free from the control of Dr. Ford.
In the movie, the scientists had no idea what the "machines" were capable of in the first place, because they did not create them. This throws that whole "playing god" theme that is so prevelent in the series right out the window.prevnext
Man In Black Is Not Original Gunslinger
These two men look as though they would be portraying the same exact character but they are very different from each other.
Yes, they both wear all black.
On the left, we have have the popular Man in Black (played by Ed Harris) from HBO's Westworld and on the right we have The Gunslinger (played by Yul Brynner) from the original Westworld movie.
At first we thought the Man In Black would be an updated version of The Gunslinger, but Teddy Sears (played by James Marsden) is Westworld's new gunslinger.
The original movie centered around the actions of The Gunslinger, who was a robot that went on a killing spree after being shot by one of the park's guests. When the system goes haywire, The Gunslinger is able to kill when the system Blane (Josh Brolin) in a duel, making him the first robot to kill a human guest.
The Man in Black is an entirely different animal. As far as we know he is a wealthy human and foundation owner outside of the park. Inside of the park he is a violent man towards the hosts who is on an arduous mission to find the last level of the "game" - the mysterious maze. So far he is making some serious headway.
Ford and the rest of the park employees are aware of his actions, but they don't do anything about it because he is a long-time visitor. In Episode 6, the Man in Black employed Teddy (the new gunslinger) to help him find a host named Wyatt, who is the key to the next part of the maze.
HBO did include a fun little nod to the original movie, by putting Yul Brynner's Gunslinger in the old, shut-down basement of the Delos offices.prevnext
Point of View
HBO's Westworld is rather inventive because it mostly tells the story through the eyes of the hosts. It takes viewers deep inside of their minds, thoughts, and feelings making them much more humanized than the "machines" from the movie.
The series actually depicts most of the human characters as savages with dark and dangerous desires, while the hosts are innocent and child-like beings who are just starting to gain their own consciousness. This naturally allows the audience to develop a sense of empathy for the hosts.
It's almost impossible to look at the female leads, Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachael Wood) and Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) as "just robots." To us, they are exactly like humans, except then they are shut down by park employees and have an occasional robotic movement or expression.
The Westworld movie did not focus as much or at all on the hosts. In fact the humans in the film merely referred to them as "machines" like a coffee maker or a printer.
The much more simplistic storyline was told from the visitors and scientists point of view, giving us zero insight into the minds of the robots, which allowed us to feel more empathy towards the humans when the robots attacked.prevnext
In the Westworld movie there was only one woman visitor who was just returning from a pleasurable stint in Roman World.
However, there were no more human women in the movie at all, not even at the Delos offices behind the scenes of the three theme parks. Also, there were no female guests shown in the actual parks, meaning that the visitors could naturally assume that every woman is a "machine."
Even during the brothel scene, the guests refer to the women as, "just machines" so it's not really cheating.
The only women in the movie were placed there soley to please the sexual desires of the guests.
Thanks to progress, HBO's Westworld has given viewers deepy engrossing female characters, both humans and hosts. Like me mentioned before two of the leads, Maeve and Dolores are hosts.
Higher-up Delos employess are also women along side of men, like Theresa who was sent to oversee all of the parks operations, and Elsie, the lead behavior specialist.
All of the female and male characters in the series are strong, complex, and deeply developed.
Now, obviously showrunners Joy and Nolan have much more time to tell their story than an hour and a half movie, meaning the lack of character development in the original movie is most likely due to timing.
MORE WESTWORLD: Mythology Of The Maze Revealed / What We Know About Dolores So Far / Angela Sarafyan On Host Evolution / The Man In Black Is Going To Free The Hosts / Who Is Arnold / The Man In Black's Backstory Revealed / What Planet Is Westworld On / Logos May Reveal Two Seperate Timelines
Westworld airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.prev