If you've been paying attention to anything we've been saying for the last few weeks, you know that Westworld is going to be your new TV obsession. HBO's new series is a remake of the 1973 movie of the same name, and is set in an adult Wild West theme park populated by very realistic robots called hosts.
Ahead of the season premiere this Sunday, HBO has released some new character images and as I've been lucky enough to watch the first few episodes, I'm going to tell you who everyone is. No major spoilers though, I promise.
You probably recognise Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores Abernathy below - she's the main character of the show and has featured in all of the trailers. A host of Westworld, she's there to entertain the guests. Think of a cross between a homely western girl next door and damsel in distress and you're somewhere close to her character. The gunslinger credited only as 'The Man in Black' and played by Ed Harris is... not so nice. I won't go into too many details here, but don't be fooled by his similar appearance to the 'good guy' in the original movie.
It's safe to say that James Marsden's Teddy Flood is one of the good guys. A clean cut cowboy, he has a soft spot for Dolores.
Thandie Newton is a brothel madam who’s set up shop in the local bar, along with prostitute Angela Sarafyan. Evan Rachel Wood might be the leading lady of Westworld, but from what I've seen, Thandie Newton could be up for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy some time in the near future.
Her Maeve Millay is as strong and determined as you'd expect, but she has a traumatic past that keeps coming back to haunt her. Is it part of her Westworld character loop designed to make her more entertaining to the guests, or is she remembering what happens to her when she goes in for 'maintenance'?
Anthony Hopkins is one of the best things about this show. He plays Dr. Robert Ford - the creator of Westworld - and is somehow awe-inspiring and creepy at the same time. When the hosts start to crack, top programmer Bernard Lowe (played by Jeffrey Wright) thinks it might be down to something Ford has done, but the questions is, did he do it by accident or on purpose?
This image shows how the hosts of Westworld are created. Or, as one of our writers put it when talking about the new poster, "like iRobot fucked Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man". Unlike a lot of fictional AIs, the Westworld robots have biological tissue and internal organs, a bit like the Terminator, but how much of a difference this will make remains to be seen.
I don't want to spoil the first episode for you, so let me just say that this scene is the start of a pretty action-packed encounter in Westworld.
Here's a closer look at Ed Harris's The Man in Black, and because I'm not a terrible person, I will say no more for now.
What goes on behind the scenes of Westworld is just as interesting as what happens in the theme park, and here we see Jeffrey Wright's Bernard Lowe with Westworld's head of security Stubbs - played by the least well-know Hemsworth brother Luke Hemsworth. This images comes from a scene in the season premiere where the team are trying to track down creator Ford.
Here we meet another couple of characters who run Westworld. This is Lee Sizemore (played by Simon Quarterman) and Theresa Cullen (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen). Theresa is Westworld’s head of Quality Assurance and is responsible for keeping the park on track, while Lee is the Head of Narrative and creates all the storylines in Westworld which keep the guests entertained.
HBO also released a description for the first episode of Westworld:
As another day of fantasy plays out in Westworld — a vast, remote park where guests pay top dollar to share wild-west adventures with android “hosts” — top programmer Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) alerts park founder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) about incidents of aberrant behavior cropping up in some recently re-coded hosts. Meanwhile, in the Westworld town of Sweetwater, a rancher’s daughter named Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) encounters a gunslinger named Teddy (James Marsden) in the street — but their predictable narrative is upended by the appearance of a ruthless Man in Black (Ed Harris) and, later, by a supporting host’s unscripted encounter with an artifact of the outside world.
Westworld will premiere on October 2, 2016 on HBO in the US, and on October 4, 2016 on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK. Make sure you check back on GamesRadar+ for weekly recaps and reviews.