'Westworld' Bosses Explain How That 'Game of Thrones' Cameo Came to Life

Westworld - jeffrey-wright - HBO Publicity -H 2020
John P Johnson / HBO

[This story contains spoilers for season three, episode two of HBO's Westworld, "The Winter Line."]

Westworld and Game of Thrones fans have long been dreaming about an official collision between the two HBO high-concept dramas — "Westerosworld," if you will. Thanks to the combined efforts of the two series' respective creators, the dream is now a reality.

In "The Winter Line," the second episode of Westworld season three, the crossover finally comes to pass in unlikely form: Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss appearing on the genre-bending science fiction series as butchers within the Westworld theme park.

The episode sees Jeffrey Wright's Bernard returning to Westworld, seeking Maeve (Thandie Newton) in his quest to thwart Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores. Instead, he finds Luke Hemsworth's security expert Ashley Stubbs, still alive (but barely) and now revealed as a host. As they investigate Maeve's unknown whereabouts, Bernard and Stubbs push into the depths of the park, winding up in an as-yet-unseen location: "Park Four," populated by sword-swinging knights, string-playing musicians and even a few familiar faces from Game of Thrones itself — three faces, to be precise...

Game of Thrones creators and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss as a pair of lab techs, as well as a certain fire-breathing icon…

… Drogon, Daenerys Targaryen's prized dragon, who was nothing but a delight to work with on set, according to creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.

"He ate a couple of PAs," Nolan quips, "but that's it."

As for how the Game of Thrones cameo came to pass, Nolan tells The Hollywood Reporter it was born out of friendship and respect for Benioff and Weiss: "We're friends with both Dan and David, who are lovely human beings. They have been incredibly supportive and friendly with us as we were getting our show up and running. George R.R. Martin as well. George has frequently pitched a crossover episode. When the time came for Luke and Jeffrey's characters to be wandering around in the bowels of the Mesa, we could not resist."

It's far from Benioff and Weiss' only memorable cameos outside of Game of Thrones, as the pair played even more prominent roles in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, appearing as employees at a water park. Benioff and Weiss additionally directed an episode of Always Sunny, "Flowers For Charlie."

Beyond paying homage to Benioff and Weiss, Nolan says the "Westerosworld" of it all also winks at Westworld's own origins as a Michael Crichton feature film, in which a park known as "Medieval World" plays a prominent role: "So this was an opportunity to pay homage not only to that, but also to [Game of Thrones], the show that created the opportunity for us to do this show."

"It reinvented television in terms of its ambition, its production values, the sweep of the stories they were telling," Nolan adds. "We wanted to pay homage to them. Dan and David very kindly obliged and agreed to come hang out with us on set for a night — and they brought one of their big fire-breathing friends with them."

So, what should fans call this strangely familiar new park? Westerosworld? Medieval World? On that front, Nolan leaves it up to the viewers: "We wimped out and called it Park Four, so we'll leave it to the imagination of the audience." 

Westerosworld it is, then.

Hear more about the Game of Thrones cameo in the latest edition of our Series Regular podcast:

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