HBO’s upcoming Westworld series is very different from the 1973 movie it’s based on. It’s more thoughtful regarding the implications of sex robots and it also takes an intriguing shift in perspective: The movie solely focused on the humans, making the robots one-dimensional curiosities-turned-villains when they malfunction; the show gives them just as much focus as the humans, complete with an ambiguous sense of personhood and consciousness. But there is one area in which the show and movie might not be as different as they initially seem. And that’s Roman World.
Although the film focuses on the authentic wild west pastiche of Westworld, where visitors can play a literal game of adult “Cowboys and Indians” to their heart’s content, it’s part of a larger resort called Delos, which contains three such “worlds.” Aside from the the titular Westworld, there is also Medieval World and Roman World. Both are exactly what they sound like, although the campy Monty-Python-esque hats worn in Medieval World seem to cast a dubious shadow over its “authenticity.” The film’s protagonists chose to visit Westworld, but we get sneak peeks into the other two places.
So far, the show seems to only focus on Westworld, with nary a glimpse into togas or pillories. Medieval world might very well remain offscreen, as HBO already has a medieval-esque show that nobody can compete with. Now, HBO also had a Roman world show — the excellent Rome — but it’s been off the air for long enough that Westworld wouldn’t risk undue comparisons if it chose to venture there.
And there are indeed hints it might. In the show, the world seems to have an enormous scope, with a seemingly endless countryside stretching into canyons. No character seems to know quite how big it is, and the camera is fond of panning shots. One character, the sinister Man in Black, played by Ed Harris, is even determined to find the end of it.
Roman World could very well be what he finds. Especially since five seasons are supposedly being planned out, we can almost certainly expect Roman World to make an appearance in Season 2. There’s more to Westworld than meets the eye, and Roman World is surely one of the destinations we’ll travel through along this strange and captivating journey.
Bring on the resurgence of Rome in future seasons of Westworld. In bringing back one of its greatest epics, HBO could find the perfect answer to help weather the storm of Game of Thrones’s departure.
Westworld premiers on HBO October 2.