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Westworld's Comic-Con Panel Dove Into the Murky Ethics of A.I., in Our World and Delos'

By Germain Lussier on at

More than a year has passed since we got the explosive finale of Westworld season two and it’ll be several more months until we find out what happens next. However, at Comic-Con 2019, the show’s creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy took the stage with stars Thandie Newton, Aaron Paul, Tessa Thompson, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jeffrey Wright, to talk about what’s up next for the world of robot theme parks.

Of course, everyone was still pretty vague when it came to details, and there was even some push back from Nolan about showing the excellent new trailer, but who was going to argue with Newton when she said: “Jesus Christ, just show the fucking trailer.”

After screening it, Nolan confirmed the theme for this season is “The New World.” (Season one was “The Maze,” season two “The Door.”) When designing this new world – which we assume is the real world and not another park but that was intentionally left vague – Nolan and Joy wanted something unique.

Nolan said his brother (a little known filmmaker named Christopher) would show him Blade Runner every week growing up and he found that he was disappointed when life caught up to Blade Runner here in 2019, he was let down that the world wasn’t anything like that. So he wanted something more believable but also dystopian and that was the line they tried to hit design-wise this year.

Wood described Dolores as a “fish out of water” this season who, somehow ends up in a story with Caleb, played by Aaron Paul. He’s a construction worker with a complicated past who is just trying to survive in the world. Sometimes, that means he has to do bad things. Also, he had his own red robot named George.

A still from the new trailer. That’s... a big robot.

Newton talked about the interesting dichotomy of Maeve that she’s enjoying exploring this year. Basically that she’s this insanely expensive piece of equipment who is given no real value by the humans who made her. They treat her like nothing, even though she’s literally worth a lot. She said she’s loving the agency of realising she does have value in a world that doesn’t value her.

Joy was asked about the show’s extreme violence and how she justifies it in a world that’s already so violent. The producer said they never glorify their violence but instead do it to shine a light on it. To make people uncomfortable. Westworld’s violence should be terrible, which is why it is.

The panel also spent a good amount of time discussing AI. Where it’s been, where it’s going, how that influences the show (spoiler: a lot) and were asked how much they use it in real life. About half the panel have Alexa devices, only Nolan and Joy had uploaded DNA to the Internet for a family discovery site, and a few of them have cars with autonomous features. The only people who hit all three were the showrunners, Joy and Nolan, which they were obviously embarrassed by.

Overall, the panel was very interesting intellectually but pretty benign in terms of information about the show. Which, if you think about it, is pretty much on point for what Westworld is.

Westworld season three will air in 2020.