SPOILER WARNING! THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WESTWORLD SEASON 3, EPISODE 2: “THE WINTER LINE”
I hate embargoes. I completely understand why film studios and TV networks don’t want early reviews to spoil upcoming surprises for their content, but do they ever think of how those early reviewers have to suffer through not being able to speak to anybody about those surprises? No, they only think of themselves! Well, also their wider audience who want to experience those surprises for themselves, but still! This is how I’ve felt for the last few weeks after gaining early access to the first four episodes of the third season of the Westworld. And it was this season’s second episode, titled “The Winter Line”, that had left me chomping at that spoiler bit!
It was an episode filled with twists as we found out that Thandie Newton’s Maeve had not been brought back to life in another park, but was actually stuck inside a computer simulation of a park along with digital constructions of her former compatriots. But it was another moment, much later in the episode and much shorter that really got people talking. As Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard and Liam Hemsworth’s Stubbs snuck around on the actual island where the Westworld park was situated, they go past rooms of technicians essentially packing up the assets of a medieval-looking world which Bernard refers to simply as Park 4. And in one of those glass rooms we see a couple of techies overseeing a dragon. Yes, a dragon. And not just any dragon! THAT’S DROGON FROM GAME OF THRONES!
(Please note: The scene below contains nudity and strong language)
Yes, Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen’s favourite overgrown lizard from HBO’s other big-budget show was in Westworld! And if you listen carefully, you can even hear two techs talking about chopping up and stealing that artificial dragon to sell to a buyer in Costa Rica, which is where original Westworld author Michael Crichton’s other big story, Jurassic Park, is set. What’s more, the actors playing those techs? They’re not actors. They’re actually David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the longtime (eventually rather hated, but that’s a whole other story) showrunners of Game of Thrones.
And speaking to Variety, Westworld husband and wife showrunner duo Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy spoke about getting their two HBO peers involved in this really surprising cameo scene.
Jonathan Nolan: Those guys are the f—ing nicest guys in the world. Usually when you come into a network where there’s a big dog show — and we’ve been in that position before — without naming names, there’s been [a vibe of], “We’re not inclined to be friendly to you if you’re the new kid on the block.” We came to HBO with a big ambitious show at a point in which their show was and is the biggest f—ing thing that’s ever been on TV. And they were so welcoming and so kind to us at a moment in which we were struggling through a first season and trying to figure out how it will work. We’ve remained friends.
Lisa Joy: And then we repaid them by making fun of them! [Laughs]
Much like all the best bits of Game of Thrones though, this cameo was not Benioff and Weiss’s idea but rather that of Game of Thrones original author George R.R. Martin. According to Joy, Martin had been the one who had pitched the crossover, but as a “full situation” with a “Game of Thrones world, or something!”. Nolan added that Martin had been asking for this for a while now.
We’re also friendly with George R.R. Martin, and George had consistently since the first season said, ‘We’ve got to do a tie-in with ‘Game of Thrones’. People forget that George was originally a TV writer and he came up in the TV world in which you’d occasionally have these crossover shows, which the fans would f—ing freak out over. So George had always been pitching the crossover show.
And that really is Drogon you’re seeing in that scene. No, dragons aren’t real, but I mean that the Westworld team worked with Pixamundo, the original VFX company that did all the Game of Thrones effects, and they used the actual CG model from that show instead of just a ripoff. The question though was which CG model to use.
Nolan: We were working with their vendor, Pixamundo, who built the dragons for them. So it’s the real dragon.
Joy: We had to choose. I remember there was a whole big debate about which season dragon for its size because the dragon grew.
Nolan: There was some back and forth about whether Season 4 or Season 5 Drogon, and some debate about how big the room was and what position the dragon could be in. But yeah, it’s just irresistible.
The end result was admittedly a pretty cool “Wait, what?!” moment for Westworld. Not that there aren’t more than a few more of those on the way. But now we’re again heading into that pesky embargo territory where I can’t talk to you guys about what I’ve already seen. Bugger!
Westworld season 3 currently airs on DSTV and Showmax on Monday nights, express one day after its US broadcast date.
Last Updated: March 24, 2020