Westworld season 1: Ed Harris’ mysterious character is like an ‘expert Grand Theft Auto gamer’, say creators

The Gunslinger is a pro in the show's hyperrealistic video game

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The Independent Culture

HBO’s major new show Westworld got underway in the US last night, with its UK debut to follow on Tuesday.

Set in a futuristic park where you can play cowboys with a scary level of realism, most of Westworld’s inhabitants are either robots or deep-pocketed human visitors out to kill, drink and f*ck.

But Ed Harris’ Gunslinger is different from the rest, driven to uncover the park’s secrets, and is set to be at the centre of any big reveals later in the season.

“I think this character has been coming to the park for a long time.” Lisa Joy who co-created the show with Jonathan Nolan, told The Hollywood Reporter the morning after the first episode.

“He's an expert gamer, in the gaming sense of this world. He's a great shot. He's like somebody who plays Grand Theft Auto all the time and can solve a thing in 30 minutes. He's fantastic at this. He's a pro. 

“He keeps coming back, year after year, but the thing he's looking for now … he's looking for something deeper. What it is he's looking for, and why it holds personal meaning to him, is something we're going to explore over the course of the series."

Harris’ character initially comes across as a villain, but it's muddier than that because the people he is killing aren’t really people (or are they? That’s a philosophical debate for another time).

You can read our spoiler-free review of the first episode here.