The return of Westworld on HBO last Sunday did not only bring peace to those who have impatiently been waiting for the show’s comeback while filling their heads with countless theories (creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy even had fun teasing them online), but also its fair share of fresh interrogations.
While some welcomed the new confusing elements from the second season with humor on social media (like, why does Bernard never actually look through his glasses?), others took to their biggest yellow legal pads to decode every single piece of information generated by the first episode, Journey Into Night, which without doubts included the newly-found existence of the chilling white drone hosts.
Watch Jonathan Nolan and his team explain in the behind-the-scenes video, below, how they wanted, through the creation of the faceless androids, to confound by stripping hosts of their deceiving human attributes.
To build the drone hosts, production designer Howard Cummings took inspiration directly from the first season and the opening credits of the series, where it is revealed that the hosts are made of white, muscly tissues. “I said, well it should all be based on this,” explains Cummings. “It’s your base model without covering, they don’t need covering, they don’t need eyes because they’re these drones.”
For Nolan, the minimalistic design of the drones adds a new dimension to the audience’s perception of the hosts by questioning what really makes them human. “When you take away something’s eyes, when you take away its ears, when you take a human form and you get rid of the unessential, you create something that feels like us enough that you begin to attribute agency… You’re looking for the soul in this thing and it’s not there,” he says.
Made of latex, the drones were brought to life by young, athletic actors wearing latex suits to make a real, “lasting, strong impression.” For best effect – and the most perfect fit – the production hired artists with sculpted bodies, one of them being an actual ballet dancer!
The result, as you saw in the last episode, was, as initially desired, imposing and unique.