Westworld’s Roaring ’20s Park Is a Subtle Reference to Season 1

Westworld executive producers Allison Schapker and Lisa Joy spoke to E! News about choosing the Roaring '20s as the park for season four.

By Cydney Contreras Jul 04, 2022 6:00 PMTags
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Westworld is taking viewers on a trip through time.

In the July 3 episode of the HBO series, Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) step off the train and into the Roaring '20s. The duo see flapper-esque hosts strut through the rowdy streets of Chicago, ready to do the Charleston and drink the night away.

This new park is partly a nod to our current reemergence from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the decade we're currently living in. But it also has its ties to the original park set in the Wild West.

"In so many ways it was a perfect decade to go to," executive producer Allison Schapker told E! News. "In cinema, I really feel that the gangster is a direct descendant of the Western Gunslinger. And it's also a time of corruption, law-breaking and, obviously—not just limited to prohibition—but the whole gangster kind of era."

Plus, Allison said, "We couldn't resist all the accoutrements too, like the costumes and Tommy guns."

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More than that, the Roaring '20s saw people doing more than just breaking the law. Following the first World War, women and men started to challenge norms and traditions, a characteristic of the decade that appealed to executive producer and writer Lisa Joy.

"When I think about people who want to go to a park based on sin, decadence and excess, what better park than the 1920s?" Lisa said. "Everything was so fabulous and fashionable. The literature and the art and culture was really cutting edge. Sexual norms were being questioned."

John Johnson/HBO

But even these thrilling details aren't enticing enough for Luke Hemsworth and Ed Harris.

Luke, who plays host Ashley Stubbs, said he's more interested in exploring the Medieval World, where Westworld writers snuck in a Game of Thrones cameo from a Targaryen dragon. "I'm gonna ride that Drogon," he joked. "I'm gonna be the King of the North."

As for Ed, a.k.a. The Man in Black, well, he'd want a more laidback experience. "I'd go back to all the big landscapes in Utah," he said. "That was my favorite."

New episodes of Westworld stream Sundays on HBO.

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