There's More to Westworld's Mysterious Shōgun World Than Meets the Eye

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The brief glimpse of Delos’ other parks besides Westworld was one of the most surprising moments of Westworld’s first season and more than enough reason to get hype for the second. According to the series’ showrunners, one park in particular holds a personal significance for them both.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan described how their love of classical Japanese cinema helped influence their vision for Shōgun World, the new park set to play a major role in Westworld’s upcoming season. Though fans of Michael Crichton’s original Westworld from 1973 might have expected the show to introduce Medieval World or Roman World, Nolan explained that the decision to go with Shōgun World was inspired by the narrative similarities between Sergio Leone’s Westerns and Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies:

“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.”


Nolan elaborated that while much of what we see in Shōgun World is meant to be a recreation of the Edo period, the park will incorporate certain elements from other periods to create a heightened composite fantasy of that point in Japanese history for Delos guests to lose themselves in. Though Shōgun World will factor into the events of Westworld in a major way, Joy and Nolan made a point of emphasizing that the show is still about Westworld and will take place predominantly in the park we’ve already seen, though some of the hosts are likely to journey from one park into another.

It’s also interesting to hear that at least one of Westworld’s Shōgun World-centric episodes will be almost entirely in Japanese, but what’s less clear is whether the show will at all explore the interesting implications about just what the existence of a place like the park would even mean for the world. Given the creators’ intentions to post literally all of the show’s plot before the season’s episodes air, though, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.