One of the most acclaimed shows to debut on cable TV last year, Westworld was also one of the most dead serious -- the show's deeply complex and metaphysical ruminations on humanity, consciousness, memory and grief didn't leave a whole lot of room for laughs.
That changed in the first few minutes of the Westworld panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, when moderator Reggie Watts unveiled a Season 1 highlights reel -- albeit one with a healthy handful of outtakes and bloopers thrown in for good measure amidst the violence and existential horror. Most of it was flubbed lines or missed cues but the best was saved for last: a long shot of star Evan Rachel Wood standing on a plain witn a horse next to her -- with the camera catching the horse unconcernedly doing its business.
With Season 2 only a week into shooting, the rest of the panel was spent by executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, plus a good chunk of the cast, discussing their characters and what they discovered along the way of doing this heady, enigmatic and often mystifying show.
Nolan and Joy, who are married, admitted that the show was inspired by both poetry and video games: "All the smart stuff was Lisa ... Grand Theft Auto, me," said Nolan, adding that doing research for the show was the "greatest excuse I ever had to play video games."
Nolan sidestepped the question of whether the samurais glimpsed at the end of Season 1 would play a role in the next season. Asked about her character, the android host Maeve, leaving the park in the season finale to ostensibly go in search of her daughter, Thandie Newton teased, "is that what she's doing?" She said she had no idea where Maeve would go in Season 2, but that she "can't f**king wait to find out."
Just as the panel was coming to a close, Watts did introduce a surprise teaser for Season 2. The short montage opened with Jeffrey Wright's Bernard staring down at a dead tiger at the edge of a lake, then featured shots of him and others riding in motorized vehicles across the desert, lots of bodies sprawled all over the underground Westworld complex, a gun-toting Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) firing at someone while on horseback and a final shot of a scarred, bloody Man in Black (Ed Harris) putting his hat back on. No samurai, however.
Westworld will return to HBO in 2018.