The best new series on HBO is Westworld, a sci-fi/western drama that is loosely based off a Michael Crichton film with the same name. That original film was released all the way back in 1973, with Yul Brenner starring as The Gunslinger, perhaps inspiring the modern day Man in Black (Ed Harris) character.
Despite the shared title, the producers of the television show have made it crystal clear that the events from the movie have not also happened in the history of the show. No robot uprising, no Yul Brenner.
There was a moment during Sunday’s episode, however, that briefly made us doubt. While Bernard is digging around in the little-used basement of the Delos offices, his flashlight briefly lights up an old host model. Looks familiar, right?
Turns out, it wasn’t an accident either. Co-creator Jonathan Nolan told Entertainment Weekly that it was meant as a subtle tribute to the original movie, although it doesn’t mean to two stories share the same fictional universe.
Entertainment Weekly: We get another trip down into the deepest levels of Westworld. I’m assuming that was mock-up of Yul Brynner from the Westworld film Bernard saw in the background?
Jonathan Nolan: It was indeed. It was a little tip of the hat. We didn’t want to feature it too heavily, we don’t want you reading too much into that.
Right. Because you’ve previously said the film’s events did not literally happen in your story.
If you want to know more about the original Westworld movie, you should check out this article. It’s also worth a watch, if you haven’t seen it before.