Classic Gunslinger Villain Draws ‘Westworld’ Cameo

By November 9, 2016
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This story contains minor spoilers from the Nov. 6 episode of Westworld. Not interested in continuing? Then you should read why Hollywood isn’t as original as it should be. 

Did something in last Sunday’s episode of Westworld catch your eye, making you rewind and pause?

gunslinger-inset110916Well, you’re not seeing things. Westworld did indeed make a rather direct homage to its past, presenting us with Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger … even if it’s just for a brief second.

The Gunslinger, the main villain in Michael Crichton’s original film, appeared just seven minutes into Sunday’s episode, “The Adversary” when Jeffrey Wright’s curious character of Bernard Lowe made a visit to some of the older, unused lower floors of the crazy futuristic theme park. As Wright shone his flashlight around an old research room, a silhouette of a man wearing complete cowboy gear, in almost the same famous stance Brynner used in 1973, was spotted by many eagle-eyed fans.

So what does this mean for the show? Is it a re-imagination of Crichton’s original … or a direct sequel? Entertainment Weekly went right to the source: showrunner Jonathan Nolan.

“We didn’t want to feature it too heavily. We don’t want you reading too much into that.”

Fans weren’t the only ones who had a chance to visit the past. So did Dr. Robert Ford, Westworld’s founder played by Anthony Hopkins. Bernard’s investigation led him to what was supposed to be an empty part of the park where Ford’s first-generation “family” are still living and, well, breathing (as much as robots can do).

Westworld‘s other main showrunner, Lisa Joy, explained this as an effort to really explore how long Ford has been around.

“He’s been here so long, he’s seen employees come and go, and friends come and go, and he doesn’t seem to have that much family life. Yet this family that was created for him is like a perfect time capsule – a strange, disturbing time capsule.

“In a weird way, his sense of company is his former self. And the weird things that must occur … if you could talk to a simulation of yourself as a child, what are the things you would say? Would it change you now? Would that change the child?

“It’s that fractal-like effect of looking at yourself through a different time.”

There’s still more Westworld to come this season. And it airs Sundays on HBO.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.