There was a moment in the latest episode of Westworld that made everyone who's seen the original film freeze in shock. Thankfully for our sanity, showrunner Jonathan Nolan has confirmed that we all saw what we thought we saw.
Image: Screencap from Westworld, MGM via dvdbeaver
In "The Adversary", Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) travels down into the bowels of the Westworld office in order to access an old tracking system for the hosts. While he's there, Bernard shines a flashlight on something (an early prototype host, maybe?) dressed in what looked like Yul Brynner's outfit from the 1973 movie.
Image: Screencap of Westworld, HBO
It's a fairly obvious homage once you've seen Brynner's performance in the film, but it leads to questions about whether or not the events of the film serve as a prequel to the show. And Nolan doesn't want us going down that path.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, this exchange happened:
Entertainment Weekly: We get another trip down into the deepest levels of Westworld. I'm assuming that was mock-up of Yul Brynner from the Westworld film Bernard saw in the background?
Jonathan Nolan: It was indeed. It was a little tip of the hat. We didn't want to feature it too heavily, we don't want you reading too much into that.
Right. Because you've previously said the film's events did not literally happen in your story.
Saying that they didn't "literally" happen is not going to prevent people from wondering what parts "figuratively" might have happened in the universe of the show. And asking people not to read too much into a show built on everyone reading way too much into everything is likewise a pretty pointless endeavour. But at least we all know for sure that we weren't seeing connections that weren't there, at least in this particular case.