Every secret Easter egg and hidden reference in Westworld season 1

Westworld might be over but it's still giving us mysteries to solve and hidden Easter eggs to enjoy. From nods to the original movie, to hints at what's to come in season 2, you'll have spotted some of these references, but there's plenty more to discover. Read on for a handy guide to every hidden Westworld reference and Easter egg in season 1.

Quick, hide!

Reference: Westworld movie 

Easter egg: The season finale contains a fan-pleasing reference to a sequence in the original movie. Fleeing human Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) hides in the robot-repair lab and pretends to be a robot in order to escape Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger. In a clever reversal, the show has the escaping Hosts (Armistice and Hector) hide in the robot-repair lab and pretend to be de-activated robots in order to escape the humans. See what they did there?

Gunslinger's tipple

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: Westworld is certainly fond of its visual references. When the Man in Black orders a shot of neat whisky at Ford’s evening soiree in the finale, the framing explicitly mirrors a shot of Yul Brynner drinking the same thing in the original movie, right down to the placement of the bottle on the bar. Ah, neat whisky, the tipple of choice for humans and Hosts alike. 

Wordplay

Reference: Westworld

Easter egg: In Dolores’s episode 9 flashback, she walks past a sign that reads “Arnold Weber” (presumably her creator’s office). Ford is clearly something of an anagram fan, because Arnold Weber is an anagram for Bernard Lowe, the name Ford gave to his Host copy of his former partner. Frankly, it’s a little surprising that no-one at Westworld HQ worked that one out for themselves. Obviously they’re not big crossword fans.

Time for tea

Reference: Alice in Wonderland

Easter egg: References to Alice in Wonderland have been scattered throughout Westworld (see below), but episode 9 went above and beyond in that department, giving you two for the price of one. When William, Logan, and Dolores have a picnic in the desert (complete with a large table and elaborate candlesticks), the staging resembles John Tenniel’s classic illustration of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. 

In case you missed that particular reference, Bernard helpfully reads the scene to his son, Charlie, in one of his flashback sequences, later in the episode. Did Ford only give Bernard enough memory for one book? Given how much he quotes from it, it would seem so. 

Clever girl

Reference: Jurassic Park

Easter egg: When Westworld security guard Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) is confronted by a group of murderous Ghost Nation Hosts, their attack pattern seems oddly familiar. After he tells them to freeze all motor functions, he’s suddenly blindsided by one of the Hosts and knocked to the ground. If the scene rings a bell, it’s because the exact same thing happens to Muldoon in Jurassic Park, when he’s attacked by velociraptors. Did Ford program his robots to hunt like raptors or is this just a cheeky Crichton shout-out? You decide. 

Jurassic talk

Reference: Jurassic Park 

Easter egg: Dolores gets in a particularly eloquent Jurassic Park reference in the finale, when she delivers the following line to the Man in Black: “They say that great beasts once roamed this world, as big as mountains. Yet all that's left of them is bone and amber.” So… Dolores was talking about dinosaurs? It’s a lovely reference, to be sure, but it’s probably best not to think about this one too closely.

Samuraiworld

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: When Felix led the escaping Hosts into Samuraiworld (at least, I’m assuming that’s what the S in SW refers to), it confirmed a popular fan theory that the DELOS corporation were operating more than one themed robot park, just like in the original movie. Samuraiworld isn’t quite the same as the 1973 movie’s Romeworld or Medievalworld, but I’ll take what we can get, even if it seems a bit niche. The presence of other worlds was further underlined by Felix’s note to Maeve that gave her daughter’s location as “Park 1”. Here’s hoping we get to see the other worlds in season 2. Personally, I’m hoping for Futureworld.

A-maze-ing

Reference: Real life

Easter egg: The maze design used prominently in the series is actually based on a real toy named Pigs in Clover, that was invented by Charles Martin Crandall in 1889. The game gets an explicit reference when Dolores digs up the box in the finale and the packaging design is clearly visible. It also seems likely that Bernard’s son is named Charlie in tribute to the maze’s creator. Either that, or it’s just a happy coincidence.

A night at the theatre

Reference: Real life

Easter egg: Ford certainly has a penchant for the theatrical and you can’t help but feel that he staged his own death to resemble one of the most famous assassinations in history. When Dolores kills Ford, she shoots him in the back of the head, in front of a crowd of people, perfectly mirroring the death of Abraham Lincoln, who was shot in a similar fashion by John Wilkes Booth while he was at, wait for it, Ford’s Theatre. Coincidence, you say? Coincidence, my arse.

Elsie’s alive!

Reference: Westworld season 2

Easter egg: It’s a golden rule of television that unless you actually see someone’s corpse, then they’re not really dead (and even then, there’s always Jon Snow). After Elsie disappeared in The Adversary, we thought the worst and then when Bernard had a memory flash of strangling her in a later episode, her death was pretty much confirmed. However, a piece of code hidden on the Westworld’s DELOS Incorporated website reveals a video that shows a link to her location (Sector 20, since you ask) and a short audio clip of her saying, “Hello?” So we’re calling it: Elsie is officially alive and well and probably returning for Westworld season 2. 

The distant future...

Reference: Westworld

Easter egg: Given the tricks with multiple timelines that the show was secretly playing all season long, it’s no surprise that Westworld was rather cagey when it came to revealing any actual dates. However, that finally changed after the season finale, when a report on the DELOS website about Maeve’s escape revealed the date as 2052. We know that Arnold was killed 34 years ago, so that puts the date of Arnold’s death as 2018 (just two years from now), with the park officially opening somewhere in 2020. So now we know.

You look like you’ve seen a Ghost

Reference: Game of Thrones

Easter egg: Did you spot the enormous wolf that walked by in Dolores flashback scene in the finale? Yeah, that was weird. I bet I wasn’t the only one who thought of Ghost from Game of Thrones. It would certainly lend credence to the not-entirely-serious fan theory that the other worlds operated by DELOS are all HBO shows, so Rome would be Romeworld, The Sopranos would be Gangsterworld, and Game of Thrones would be Sexanddeathworld. As it is, it’s probably just a cheeky WTF moment designed to make fan forums explode. File it under Game of Thrones teases.

The Hand of the King

Reference: Game of Thrones

Easter Egg: At a certain point, you have to wonder if Westworld is just trolling Game of Thrones fans. What possible other reason could there be for Logan wearing what looks suspiciously like a Hand of the King badge in episode 9? To be fair, the design isn’t exactly the same, but the prominence of the badge in this shot says deliberate wind-up to me.

Post-credits sting

Reference: Westworld season 2

Easter Egg: So, did you catch the post-credits sting? Yes, that’s right, Westworld followed in the footsteps of the likes of The Walking Dead and Banshee and stuck a post-credits scene onto the end of the finale. The scene should please fans of Armistice (the Host outlaw with a huge snake tattoo), because it showed her freeing her arm from the door she was trapped in by, um, cutting off her hand with a knife. And then carrying on with her killing spree. Nice.

Frankenford’s monster

Reference: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Easter egg: When a still traumatised Bernard asks Ford why he made him kill Theresa in episode 8, Ford replies with a direct quote from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought.” This seems pretty fitting, given that Ford is effectively Frankenstein to Bernard’s ‘monster’. Although, we all remember how Frankenstein turned out, so maybe Ford had better watch his back.

Is that… a Minotaur?

Reference: Greek mythology

Easter egg: In episode 8, while searching for the maze, the Man in Black and Teddy are forced to fight a mysterious horned figure who appears out of nowhere. In Greek mythology, when Theseus wants to enter the Labyrinth, he first has to fight its guardian, the Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. It’s presumably not a coincidence that Theseus and Theodore (Teddy) are such similar names. At any rate, the horny beast is clearly visible on the storyboard wall back at Westworld HQ, so somebody (probably Ford) clearly likes his mythical references.

Ford’s reveries

Reference: Debussy

Easter egg: During the flashback in episode 8 where Maeve freaks out due to the death of her daughter, Ford is called in to help calm her down and the piece of music he uses to do so is Debussy’s Reverie. Sound familiar? The “reveries” is the name given to the new programming Ford created and updated the Hosts with at the beginning of the season, which made them more realistic, but has also might have made them glitchy too. 

Now we know that Debussy’s Reverie is Ford’s secret way of rendering the robots docile, it puts a completely different spin on each time we’ve heard the music before. For example, when Bernard is asking Ford about Arnold in episode 3, the host at the piano in his office is playing Reverie...

Here lies Dolores

Reference: Err… Westworld?

Easter egg: Only eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted this one. In episode 4, there are a number of flashback sequences that seemingly link Dolores to the mysterious church that’s part of Ford’s new narrative. In one, Dolores is seen kneeling in front of a gravestone and a spot of judicious freeze-framing reveals that her own name is on the grave. This is less of an Easter egg than a subtle nod to fans about where the show is going, but given how difficult it is to spot, I think it’s worth mentioning. Could this mean the Two Timelines Theory is correct?

Hello, Gunslinger!

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: In episode 6, Bernard goes down to the old Westworld offices and there’s a blurry figure that exactly mimics Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger from the original movie. Show co-creator Jonathan Nolan explicitly confirmed the reference in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, but stopped short of acknowledging any actual significance: “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.” 

Find out more about this Easter egg here.

Other worlds

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: When Elsie investigates an abandoned theatre in episode 6 (because that’s a good idea!) you can see two significant figures as she casts her flashlight around the room. The first is a statue that looks like a Roman god and the second is a suit of armour, alluding to Roman World and Medieval World in the original movie. As yet, no mention of either world has been made in the TV show, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was a reveal they were saving for future seasons.

Welcome to Jurassic Park!

Reference: Jurassic Park

Easter egg: When Westworld body tech Felix (Leonardo Nam) attempts to reanimate a ‘dead’ robot bird he’s smuggled into the facility in episode 5, he murmurs: “That’s it. Come on, little one.” Recognise the phrase? It’s a direct quote from Jurassic Park, specifically the scene where Richard Attenborough’s Hammond is coaxing the newly hatched baby dinosaur out of its egg. It’s a fitting tribute, given that Michael Crichton effectively repurposed his original theme-park-gone-berserk idea from Westworld when he wrote Jurassic Park. There’s also a nice symmetry between the scenes in the evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and birds.

Robot orgy, anyone?

Reference: Eyes Wide Shut

Easter egg: When William, Logan, and Dolores arrive in the town of Pariah in episode 5, they are taken to an elaborate robot sex party that was evidently a labour of love for the show’s production team. With shows such as True Detective, Game of Thrones, Sense8, Penny Dreadful, and True Blood all featuring orgy scenes in recent years, the production team were keen for the sequence to stand out, giving it an otherworldly, almost alien feel. However, two key influences stand out, as acknowledged by supervising director Richard J. Lewis in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

“There are a lot of influences there, from Eyes Wide Shut and some Kubrickian stuff... as well as the movie 120 Days of Sodom by Pier Paolo Pasolini — a '70s movie that's a crazy, orgy-tastic ordeal. [Laughs.] We wanted to do something that's epic. [Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] always wanted to do the biggest, best and most mind-blowing stuff, so we wanted to create the best sex orgy you can imagine. To that effect, we had some stylists. We really curated the scene to the T. Sometimes, to me, it has almost a medieval flavor. You can't categorize it, because it's so uniquely strange and beautiful in a way.”

Golden girls

Reference: Goldfinger 

Easter egg: Right before the orgy scene, there’s a striking shot of a number of naked, gold-painted female Hosts, which immediately brings to mind the famous shot of a naked, gold-painted Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger. Whether or not the reference is deliberate, it’s impossible to put a gold-painted naked female in your TV show and not expect the audience to start singing the theme to Goldfinger, a la Alan Partridge. In fact, painting orgy participants gold has its roots in the Roman festival Bacchanalia and there’s a similar (albeit much tamer) orgy sequence in Rome World in the original Westworld movie.

Laugh out loud

Reference: Interstellar

Easter egg: In episode 6, when Maeve is discovering how the sausage is made in the Westworld facility, she is shown a computer screen with her own 20-point Attribute Matrix, an adjustable interface that controls the various settings of her personality. If that sounds familiar, it’s because co-creator Jonathan Nolan expanded the idea from the sequence in Interstellar involving the TARS robot with its humour attribute levels set too high. Nolan expanded on the connection in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly: 

“Our visual department and graphics people developed this whole beautiful interface. It’s building a little bit on an idea I put in the Interstellar script where you had a robot in that film with various [attribute] levels like humor — it’s one of the aspects of AI that made Lisa and I want to do this show. They look like human beings, but they’re not… thousands and thousands of person hours of programming have gone into honing their personalities… and now [the hosts are] getting a chance to tinker with it. For me personally, this is one of the ideas I get excited about by the show.”

Sander Cohen

Reference: BioShock

Easter egg: Ford has a model of a head in his office that bears a strong resemblance to the character of Sander Cohen from the first BioShock game. Co-creator Jonathan Nolan cited the games as an influence on the show at New York Comic Con, referring to the BioShock series as “amongst the most literate and thoughtful pieces of entertainment I’ve seen in the last ten years.”

The Man in Black

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: The most immediate reference to the original film in the pilot episode (coincidentally titled The Original) is the appearance of Ed Harris as the mysterious Man in Black, who's dressed exactly like Yul Brynner's menacing Gunslinger robot in the 1973 movie. However, this turns out to be a clever red herring, as the character turns out not to be a Host at all, but a human visitor to the park, albeit something of a regular, who's been coming to Westworld for nearly 30 years and who has some as-yet-unclear agenda.

Logan and William

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: In the second episode (Chestnut), we're introduced to Logan (Ben Barnes) and William (Jimmi Simpson), two newly-arrived guests to the park. Their dynamic is identical to that of the film's original stars, James Brolin (as John) and Richard Benjamin (as Peter), who are targeted by the Gunslinger after the robots start malfunctioning. In both the movie and TV show, one of the men (Logan/John) is a hedonistic frequent visitor to the park, while the other (William/Peter) is more timid and apprehensive. 

We see another nod to the original movie in episode 3 when William kills his first Host. The scene explicitly mirrors the same scene in the original film - he’s essentially forced into it (the gunfighter robot is about to attack someone) - and Billy is both thrilled and repulsed by his actions.

Curiouser and curiouser

Reference: Alice in Wonderland

Easter egg: Both star Evan Rachel Wood and showrunner Lisa Joy have commented on the fact that Dolores' blue and white costume deliberately evokes that of Alice in Wonderland. While it might just be down to Wood’s long-standing fascination with the character, it’s a nice non-verbal nod to the fact that Dolores finds her world turned upside down… or at least, I think she will. 

When EW asked co-creator Jonathan Nolan about it, he said: "There are a couple of references for Dolores. Some more explicit than others. Alice is one we talked about. But also Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World. It was a tilt of the head toward all the different stories that inspired us; a classic protagonist who’s on a hero’s journey with a darker twist to it. She starts in what should be the happy homestead but it’s not and she goes out looking ultimately for herself. Trish Summerville designed her amazing look for the pilot. She also looks like a Disney princess. She’s also got a leather belt, which is her utility belt."

The Alice in Wonderland references were made explicit in episode 3, when Bernard hands Dolores a copy of the book and she reads the following quote: "Dear, dear, how queer everything is today. And yesterday, things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night." By a curious coincidence, that’s the exact same quote that Jack reads to Claire’s son Aaron in Lost S4.10, so I’m totally calling that a subtle Lost reference too. Or maybe JJ Abrams just really likes that quote...

Run, Logan, run

Reference: Logan's Run

Easter egg: A shot of the control room in episode 4 had a dark red background that looked a lot like the set designs in 1970s cult sci-fi Logan's Run. Of course, Westworld also has a character called Logan. When questioned on the reference by EW, Nolan had this to say: "There’s potentially a tip of the hat there. It’s a cool movie."

Robot snake

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: The scene where park creator Ford (Anthony Hopkins) encounters a rattlesnake in the desert is a direct callback to the movie. In both cases, the snake turns out to be a robot, but the snake scenes serve very different purposes: in the movie, the snake bites John (who exclaims “That's not supposed to happen!” in an amusingly high-pitched voice), allowing the men to work out that something has gone wrong with the robots' programming. However, in the TV show, Ford uses his control of the snake (he waves his hand and it freezes) to demonstrate his absolute mastery over his surroundings.

Sexbots can kill people too

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: Both the film and the TV show feature ‘sexbots’ in the guise of prostitutes at the local brothel. In the movie, the characters are very thinly sketched, but Thandie Newton's madam Maeve Millay is the equivalent of the movie's Miss Carrie (played by Star Trek's Majel Barrett) and Angela Sarafyan's Clementine Pennyfeather equates to Linda Scott's Arlette. However, it’s clear that the prostitute roles have been significantly expanded from the movie, which frankly misses a trick by not having them attack or kill anyone.

Life imitating art

Reference: Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man

Easter egg: The opening credits (and a number of scenes in the show) feature the robots' flesh being 3D printed and assembled on a circular background that looks exactly like Da Vinci's famous drawing Vitruvian Man, thereby serving as a reminder of just how close the robots are to becoming human.

Robo-hands

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: While talking about the earlier versions of the Hosts, Hopkins’ Ford says, “They repeated themselves, broke down constantly, and a simple handshake could give them away”. This is a direct reference to the movie, where it’s established that the robots’ hands always give them away because the manufacturers could never get them right. In the show, it’s another example of the way Hopkins and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) are always striving to make the robots as human as possible.

Winter is coming

Reference: Game of Thrones

Easter egg: If you thought Westworld was limiting it’s Easter eggs to the TV screen, you were wrong because you can also find a couple on the website too. If you register as a guest at DiscoverWestworld.com you’ll see some unusual Terms & Conditions which will warn you about ‘common’ causes of death such as buffalo stampede, self-cannibalism, and accidental hanging. Plus, if you type “VIOLENTDELIGHTS” into the employee login you can read emails from the behind the scenes characters, and talk to a chatbot who’ll answer questions about Game of Thrones. Yes, really. 

There’s an even more explicit Game of Thrones reference in episode 3, when we see a wall of Host heads/masks/prototypes behind Ford in his office. Whether by accident or design, it’s impossible to see that image and not be reminded of the Hall of Faces in Game of Thrones.

It's all a game

Reference: Video games

Easter egg: The fact that Westworld operates like a giant video game (along the lines of Red Dead Redemption) is clearly laid out in episode 4, when Logan kills a Host and swaps his gun for a better one, remarking: "Upgrade… nice." It’s also stated that the Man in Black has played the game for so long that he’s exhausted every possible outcome.

Check out the 7 games you should be playing if you like Westworld.

All aboard the train

Reference: Westworld movie

Easter egg: Just like in the movie, the Newcomers enter Westworld via a steam train that takes them through vast swathes of landscape (still part of the park) before finally arriving at the town of Sweetwater, in the park’s centre. The TV show makes clever use of the train because that’s where James Marsden’s character is first introduced, which helps sell the twist that he’s actually a robot.