The Hollywood Reporter rounds up the past week’s news, interviews and more about Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s genre-bending HBO drama.
For nearly a year and a half, Westworld fans waited anxiously to learn more about Shogun World, the park teased in the HBO drama’s first season finale. Not every single question about the violent new terrain was answered in “Akane No Mai,” of course, but a much clearer picture of Shogun World is in place all the same — and some brand new mysteries have emerged in the process as well.
While the episode was largely steeped in the story of the titular Akane (Rinko Kikuchi) and the hosts who crossed her path, there was one other major narrative thread playing out in “Akane No Mai,” as the growing divide between Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden) reached its sad and inevitable next step.
Read on for all of THR‘s coverage of the past week in Westworld, from Sweetwater to Shogun World and beyond.
• “Akane No Mai” Recap: Maeve (Thandie Newton) was our first eyes and ears into the realm of Shogun World, fitting considering her role in introducing the concept to viewers in the first place. The new land was an experience enough on its own, but the way in which it transformed Maeve? That’s another story entirely.
• Shogun World and the Secret of the Witch: Literally, this is the aforementioned other story. In “Akane No Mai,” Maeve exhibited a brand new power to command other hosts without uttering a single voice command. What’s going on here? We have a theory, and it harkens back to something Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) said in the first episode of the season.
• How Thandie Newton Conquered “Terror” Heading Into Shogun World: While Maeve was discovering her “new voice,” Thandie Newton was discovering a new voice of her own. Speaking with THR, Newton opened up about what was involved in mastering her Japanese dialogue for the episode, a process that included assistance from the following actor…
• Hiroyuki Sanada Breaks Down Shogun World Debut: In another THR interview, the man responsible for bringing the ronin Musashi to life revealed his role in helping Newton learn her Japanese dialogue, his Westworld fandom dating back to the film and first season, and much more.
• Welcome to Shogun World: What do we know about the newest park in the Westworld universe? Quite a bit! Not only did the show itself reveal a ton of information about Shogun World, but ancillary material from HBO provides viewers with even more intel. Our story rounds up everything you need to know about Shogun World so far.
• “Akane No Mai” Podcast: Among the biggest reveals in the episode: the existence of “dopplebots” between Westworld and Shogun World. Maeve and Akane’s commonalities, as well as Musashi and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), speak to a greater theme at play within season two. This week’s “Welcome to Westworld” podcast explores those themes thoroughly.
• Evan Rachel Wood Explains That “Horrible” Twist: It wasn’t all Shogun World, all the time in “Akane No Mai.” The episode also featured the horrible moment in which Dolores transforms Teddy against his will. Evan Rachel Wood spoke with THR about filming the scene, describing it as a deeply unenjoyable experience, given her closeness to the actors and characters involved.
• James Marsden Strikes a Menacing Pose in “Phase Space” Photos: Speaking of Teddy, what can we expect from the good-hearted cowboy now that he’s poised to go full black hat? The first batch of photos from “Phase Space,” the next new episode, give us our best indication yet.
• “Phase Space” Sneak Peek Hints at Huge Theory About Jeffrey Wright: In a look ahead at “Phase Space,” there appears to be some confirmation of an old theory that the first scene of the season — in which Dolores is seemingly speaking with Arnold — isn’t exactly as it appears. Read our take on the preview of the episode for more.
Check back every Saturday all season long for continued roundups of THR‘s week in Westworld, and in the meantime, keep following our daily coverage at THR.com/Westworld.