Westworld creators reveal their plans for Shogun World in Season 2

Before you saddle up for your return trip back to HBO's WESTWORLD, you're going to want to take care by familiarizing yourself with some new in-depth details regarding the sophomore season's second park, Shogun World. During an exclusive interview with writer-producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy via Entertainment Weekly, the duo provided fans with some exciting insight into how the mysterious new locale will play a significant role in the events to come. So before Delores and her automaton kin come moseying back for some good old fashioned revenge on April 22nd, why not have a look at what you can expect when WESTWORLD aims to venture into an Edo period Japan?

As you know, when Michael Crichton released the original WESTWORLD in 1973, his film depicted a Medieval World and Roman World in addition to the town of tumbleweeds, too much alcohol, and crimson-stained sand. So in trying to discover the reason Nolan and Joy opted for Shogun World, Nolan explained to EW that:

"Part of the reason we’re going to Shogun World instead of to Roman World or Medieval World is, yes, you saw those in the original film. But also if you’re doing a theme park, you wouldn’t limit it to the Western European or North American experience. You’d try to reach a global audience. So the idea is you have a texture here that’s totally different.

And selfishly, it comes down to being obsessed with Japanese cinema as a kid and earnestly wanting to make an homage to Akira Kurosawa and the other films I grew up watching. My older brothers and I watched Sergio Leone Westerns and Kurosawa’s classic samurai films and were fascinated to discover they had the same plot. You had this wonderful call and response between these two genres — with the gunslinger and the ronin. They have identical tropes but are set within different cultures. Frankly, this was just a great excuse to go and make a samurai movie with all the trimmings."

Adding to Nolan's comments was Lisa Joy, who followed up her creative partner's comments by saying "For me, it’s also personal. I grew up in Asia, and I remember as a little kid being in Taiwan watching films there and being so awed by these new worlds of entertainment. You saw new talents with the actors, new fighting styles, new types of wardrobe. It was exhilarating to me. So we looked to all our [department heads] to make sure we had the full thrill of exploring Shogun World … researching hair and production design and costume, working with choreographers who were skilled at fighting styles we haven’t seen before, and of course working with incredible talent, from Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi, and the other actors that we cast and the extras filling it out. It was wonderful to see that world come alive."

As their talk continues, Nolan begins commenting on the choice to present Shogun World as a part of the Edo period (1603-1867), and how they'll be taking liberties with the backdrop, as patrons of WESTWORLD theme parks always expect the unexpected.

"This is a world that’s a composite — just as Westworld is a composite with the early-19th-century open range of Red River and the immediate post-Civil War era of The Searchers, but it also has trains," says Nolan "We felt free to have a composite with Shogun World and pick and choose. This is basically the Edo period, but with artifacts from across 300 years."

When asked about the level of violence that viewers can expect to see in the new section of the park, Nolan and Joy took this opportunity to warn fans that, like its Western counterpart,  Shogun World will run red with the color of blood. "In addition to Kurosawa films, which are plenty bloody, I grew up watching the Sonny Chiba films — those are the ones Tarantino is riffing on in his films with the super-fluidity of gore and mayhem; this sense of an alternately brutal and beautiful world that raises the volume on what the guests might be looking for. It wasn’t just about gore, it’s also about being immersive. We wanted to feel like our story dropped into a totally different world. Basically, we have a whole episode in Japanese," Nolan teased.

To which Joy then added, "It’s not our world. It’s their world, and it’s thrilling to walk through."

Lastly, the creative duo told EW about how much time we'll get to spend in Shogun World, when the new season of WESTWORLD arrives, later this month:

"We want to try and gently temper expectations. Most of our season is spent in Westworld — the eponymous Westworld. But we do get a chance to glimpse some of the other worlds. And we have a couple of episodes that are spent in Shogun World with one of our story lines, while our other story lines continue elsewhere. So I say we’re trying to temper expectations, except to say that I think the stuff we did for Shogun World is spectacular," Nolan excitedly told the outlet.

It sounds to me like it might be best to sharpen and shine your sword collection, in addition to cleaning that trusty six-shooter of yours, because WESTWORLD sounds to me like it's more dangerous than ever, these days. Be sure to book your tickets for April 22nd, when the show returns to HBO for more mayhem, mystery, and more debaucherously-good times.



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