JJ Abrams adds Westworld to his collection of sci-fi universes, can Space: 1999 be far behind?
J.J. Abrams is a philandering deadbeat dad! Metaphorically!
Lost was your baby, J.J. But you neglected her until she completely gave up on herself. By six years old, she was wandering aimlessly down every back alley, grasping desperately at anything that seemed meaningful, only to waste away and die in a place far, far from where she began. Oh, the tears ABC cried.
Then the Star Trek reboot was born, and we all thought you were finally going to settle down. What fools we were! You told Paramount you were just going out for cigarettes, you liar! Now she has to watch you run around town with your new Star Wars family.
But even that’s not good enough for you, is it? You control not one but two entire universes, but still you want more.
Now you’re jumping in bed with HBO. That hussy has always flaunted her questionable morals and complete artistic freedom. It was just too much for you to resist, huh, J.J.?
And what are we to make of your new lovechild? Westworld.
Another reboot of a dormant sci-fi property. Not exactly new territory for you. If Star Trek or even Star Wars couldn’t keep your interest, what chance does this new kid have?
(Seriously, J.J.? Westworld? You could think of any other sci-fi/western you’d rather resurrect?!)
The 1973 movie Westworld was about vacationing thrill-seekers battling robot cowboys in an artificial western town on an alien world. The best thing I can say about the HBO reboot is that they clearly realize that premise sucks. Instead, the new show will be about the nature of what’s real vs. artificial and the ever-changing moral landscape as humans begin to create artificial intelligence… set against the backdrop of robot cowboys in a staged ol’ timey western town.
There’s a bit of The Hunger Games seeping into the storyline, with a “game master” type character creating and altering challenges for visitors while they’re in town. There’s also more than a little Truman Show, with a few hints that maybe not all of the town’s permanent residents know they’re living in a reproduction. It all ties back to that real vs. artificial theme, and actually sounds fairly promising.
But the most encouraging sign is the cast. Anthony Hopkins stars as the patriarch of the town and head of the robot-building company behind it, with Evan Rachel Wood as a grown-up Laura Ingalls Wilder (or approximation thereof). James Marsden of X-Men and 30 Rock fame also just signed on as the rootin’ tootin’-est cowboy in the wannabe wild west.
While Abrams’s name is on the top of all the paperwork, development and production of the show are actually in the hands of Jonathan Nolan, who created Person of Interest and co-wrote The Dark Knight. By his side is co-writer Lisa Joy, who created Burn Notice (and also happens to be Nolan’s wife).