The second episode of Westworld may have focused on Maeve’s experiences inside Warworld, but Bernard was letting us in on an even bigger secret at Delos’ parks. Much like how the series surprise-dropped the Raj in season two, we’ve learned the identity of Park 4 – and it plays a much bigger role in the franchise than you might think.
The second episode of Westworld season three showed Bernard and Stubbs going behind the scenes at Park 4, a medieval-themed land, where a bunch of underemployed and bored tech workers was seen performing routine maintenance on Hosts while talking about trying to get their start-ups funded. The section featured a cameo from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as the workers getting ready to chop up a dragon that looks suspiciously like George R.R. Martin’s beloved Drogon from HBO’s other hit genre series.
No, that doesn’t mean it’s actually Westeros World, a fan theory that suggested Westeros was just a park inside Delos’ many themed worlds this whole time. Even though co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan told Variety that Martin wanted a full Game of Thrones crossover episode at one point, they’re not actually creating the show inside Westworld. They just seemingly used an existing digital model of Drogon provided by the Game of Thrones team to make their lives easier.
But this nice fan moment doesn’t just exist as a Game of Thrones reference. For all intents and purposes, this looks to be Medieval World, a major part of the original film and an important callback for the series.
The 1973 movie Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton, featured three distinct theme parks. There was Westworld, of course. Then you had Roman World and finally, Medieval World. Each park represented something different – not just in terms of its location, but also for the human psyche. Westworld was all about adventure and Roman World was where pure debauchery reigned. In Medieval World, it was all about chivalry. Medieval World was the place where guests could dabble in heroism and courtly romance, rediscovering “old school values” long forgotten in modern times. Except, much like every other park, guests were there for one reason only: To see how much they could get away with.
The one Medieval World guest we spent time with in the film was an unidentified banker who only cared about being lecherous with female hosts. Ultimately, it backfired. He ended up in an epic duel with the Black Knight – a not-uncommon thrill experience for guests – but in this case, the banker is killed, making him the first human murdered by a host. That’s right: In the show, Westworld may be where everything went wrong, but in the original version, the conflict started in Medieval World. It also ended there. The final confrontation with the Gunslinger (Yul Brynner) happened in the castle, and the final shot ends with Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) collapsing from exhaustion in the castle dungeon, thinking about everything that had led him to that point.
Westworld’s showrunners were previously very cagey about whether we’d ever go to Medieval World, but go there we did – or at least to some version of it (the Delos Destinations website hasn’t been updated to reflect the new park). It might have been for a short visit, to a place we may never see again, but it was great to see a new take on a very familiar park. Although I have to wonder what having a dragon means for Medieval World. Does this mean guests can perform magic there? Or is it like a glorified Live Action Role Play where they’re all throwing lightning bolt balls at each other? All I know is my cheap Daenerys cosplay has a new purpose once Medieval World reopens.
Westworld is currently airing its third season on Sky Atlantic here in the UK, and on HBO in the US.