This article is pure speculation! I don’t have knowledge on what the themes of the other parks in the HBO series WestWorld are but I thought it’d be fun to look at what limited evidence we have and take some guesses before the second season of the acclaimed show begins. A tie-in website for the series (http://delosdestinations.com/#experience) reveals that there are six parks in total and announces that the Feudal-Japan inspired park, the one teased in the season one finale, is named ShogunWorld, not SamuraiWorld as some previously presumed. It’s also worth noting that I don’t think that these “parks” are actually the same as WestWorld and instead are more like smaller expansions surrounding the core park of WestWorld, similar to what you’d find at Disney World. So, with what little evidence we have, let’s explore what the six parks could be.
Nothing more to say about WestWorld, the only park we’ve seen so far, the centre of the Host uprising and our introduction to the immersive parks available from Delos.
After episodes of teasing more parks, the season one finale unveiled the existence of ShogunWorld. Rather than have me explain this park’s theme, this is what the Delos website reveals:
“For those for whom Westworld is not enough, the true connoisseur of gore can indulge their fantasies with the slash of a katana. Modelled after Japan’s Edo period, Shogun World offers a chance for guests to embrace their inner warrior, in a landscape of highest beauty and darkest horror. Let your true self take shape in the land where self-discovery is an art form.”
From the season two trailer we see that Maeve will venture into ShogunWorld, presumably to track down her daughter, and it’ll be interesting to see if any other character will head there, or vice versa, and if this park will also become a part of the Host uprising.
MedievalWorld (or FantasyWorld)
It would make sense to bring back at least one park that was featured in the original WestWorld movie and MedievalWorld looks like the best bet. The film also had RomanWorld which I’ve never really seen much potential for, at least not as much as MedievalWorld. Knights in shining armour, saving damsels from precarious towers and other such romanticised concepts could be the basis for narratives allowing for all the violent delights and vice-indulging guests could want. What makes it better is that HBO could reuse a lot of the same sets, props and costumes they have from Game of Thrones now that that show is concluding. Maybe it could be FantasyWorld instead of MedievalWorld, allowing the Delos designers to get weird with it, and robotic dragons and giants could appear. I’m probably just going stir crazy because the gap between Game of Thrones seasons 7 and 8 has been so long but what if the fantasy show was just an elaborate narrative inside FantasyWorld all along?
A similar park that would allow guests to participate in the criminal behaviour of WestWorld would be PirateWorld. Guests could become captains of their own ship, attack and plunder others and annihilate the officers sent to track them down before returning to a location to put their plundered gold to use, a hotbed of criminal activity such as Nassau. It would be much darker and realistic than the pirates we’re used to seeing onscreen; this is no Pirates of the Caribbean where the pirates are quirky heroes. They’ll be unglamourised villains which guests can either choose to join (and lead) or hunt down and eliminate. Showrunner Jonathan Nolan has spoken about being a gamer and the video game influences on the show (e.g. Red Dead Redemption) so maybe he could put in a few Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag easter eggs if PirateWorld becomes a reality.
Okay, I haven’t got an actual name for this one but for all the debased humanity that WestWorld offers it would make sense to have one park which is much more benevolent. We do see the odd child guest in WestWorld but what exactly are they getting out of the experience and surely there would have to be some sort of “graphic content deactivator” (like turning blood off in a video game) for when children wander near Sweetwater during Hector’s weekly assault. We also see more children on the train leaving Delos during the season 1 finale so I think it makes sense to have a more child friendly park. I’m not entirely sure what, maybe a recreation of a kid’s TV show or an immersive history lesson/tour. I remember having to go on a school trip where we had to pretend we were evacuated children in World War 2 and were made to write with old pens, eat horrible food and cram into a cellar while someone outside made the noises of planes dropping bombs. It was really weird and useless but with robots who think the whole thing is real (and superior production design) it could be a much better experience allowing guests to travel through a family friendly version of Earth history.
The rubbish sequel to the original WestWorld film introduced the park of FutureWorld into the franchise and I’d love for it to return in the TV series, this time done properly. The park would be an interesting case of speculative fiction because it is not just a guess into what the future might look like but a guess that is being made from a perspective that is already in the future considering that WestWorld is set in 2052. It’s an interesting challenge and I’d love to see what Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy would come up with and considering films have influenced the show dramatically maybe FutureWorld would be a riff on Blade Runner or some other such franchise but still ‘set’ on an orbiting space station like the original FutureWorld in the film. A bustling cityscape could be the perfect place for a rogue host from WestWorld to hide out and imagine the fish out of water story that could be told of a host believing that their life in WestWorld is real before finding themselves in FutureWorld, a place more high-tech and different than even the actual outside world would be.
What are your guesses at what the other parks could be? VikingWorld? What do you think about my picks? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about TV, movies and video games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.