Fans of Westworld have wondered just how much the new HBO series has taken from the 1973 sci-fi-western of the same name. The original, written by Michael Crichton, featured a character known only as the Gunslinger who was played by Yul Brynner. The iconic actor made a cameo in the most recent episode of Westworld and while many are calling it an Easter egg, it turns out that Brynner’s appearance in the newest incarnation of his classic film is more of a hint as to where the series is headed.
The scene played out with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) as he worked to find out who has been smuggling information out of the park. He travels to an older part of the park that hasn’t been used in a while. Back in the old office space full of abandoned files and, likewise, abandoned androids, sits Yul Brynner’s likeness as he looked in Michael Crichton’s 1973 version of Westworld.
— Westworld Gifs (@WestworldGifs) November 8, 2016
Showrunners have said not to invest too much in the Yul Brynner Easter egg and that they were just giving a tip of the hat to the iconic android antagonist from the original film. Jonathan Nolan told Entertainment Weekly that fans shouldn’t think too deeply about the Brynner appearance and that it had nothing to do with the mystery still unfolding on the HBO hit.
“It’s playful but not meant to be literal,” Nolan told Entertainment Weekly of the Yul Brynner sighting. “We wanted to connect to the ideas in the original film, but also take a look at this place as a cultural institution that is not new, because these ideas aren’t new.”
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) November 8, 2016
However, viewers who have been working to unravel the mystery have wondered if the Gunslinger’s appearance was more than just a way to pay homage to the original and an actual clue as to where the current version of Westworld is headed. Was Nolan’s warning to back off much like Dr. Ford’s warning to the Man in Black to stop looking for the maze?
There are certain characteristics that the Gunslinger seems to have in common with the Man in Black (MiB). Of course, there are many differences too, with the biggest one being that the Gunslinger is an android and the MiB is human. Many have hypothesized that the MiB is actually William after he goes through a huge personal change while still in the park.
If the theory turns out to be true and Westworld is being told in two different time periods, one being William’s backstory and the other being his current mission as the Man in Black, then the Easter egg appearance of Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger does seem to be a bit of a hint. While he is an android and William is human, they play very similar roles in the film and the TV series.
Bring yourself back online.
— Westworld (@WestworldHBO) November 2, 2016
There have also been suggestions that maybe everything isn’t the way fans have hypothesized, and when they speak about 30 years in the past and the financial issues of the park, they are really talking about the film and the time since the financial crisis is the TV series. It’s still unclear if the two will be linked at all or if the movie and the series will remain completely independent of each other. If there was to be a connection, though, that would be a reasonable way to make that happen.
It’s still up in the air whether the Gunslinger’s cameo was an actual hint or if fans should just disregard that little tidbit as an Easter egg for the true fans of Westworld. The HBO series is comprised of secrets that will make the series so much more special once they are all revealed, and it’s hard to tell if this is one of them or if the showrunners really just wanted to give credit to the film that came before. Either way, it can be frustrating trying to figure out which parts of the story are worth examining and which ones are meaningless. In this case, we’re guessing that bringing back the android carcass of an old character from the film is not meaningless.
Check out the trailer for Season 1, Episode 7 of Westworld titled “Trompe L’Oeil.” As Maeve and Dolores become much more self aware, the world contained within the theme park becomes much less controlled. Where do you think Season 1 of Westworld is headed?
[Featured Image by HBO]