'Westworld' Creators Reveal Details on "Brutal and Beautiful" Shogun World

The door between Westworld and Shogun World remains sealed off for now, but fans awaiting the second season of the HBO genre-bending drama have been invited to take a small peek behind the curtain.

Creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have offered up some new details on Shogun World, the park first teased at the end of the first Westworld season finale, when Maeve (Thandie Newton) was attempting to escape the park. Back then, it was little more than a glimpse into another world, with viewers as perplexed as Maeve by the sight of this very different realm. (Well, almost as perplexed.) Season two will give those same viewers much more than a glimpse into what exactly Shogun World entails, though Nolan is attempting to curb your enthusiasm. 

"We want to try and gently temper expectations," says Nolan, speaking with EW. "Most of our season is spent in Westworld — the eponymous Westworld. But we do get a chance to glimpse some of the other worlds. And we have a couple of episodes that are spent in Shogun World with one of our storylines, while our other storylines continue elsewhere. So I say we're trying to temper expectations, except to say that I think the stuff we did for Shogun World is spectacular."

The other storyline almost certainly involves Maeve, the first of our central hosts to lay eyes upon Shogun World. The full trailer for season two featured Maeve walking through a realm that very much looks like Shogun World, for one thing; for another, it makes sense that Maeve, our initial entry point into Shogun World, would be the one to see it firsthand. Good thing, too: given her heightened intelligence and other abilities, Maeve is quite likely the best-suited host when it comes to thriving in a brave new world.

Maeve is also no stranger to violence, weathering it and unleashing it in kind — which will be more than a bit useful given the level of violence featured in Shogun World, according to Nolan and Joy. 

"I grew up watching the Sonny Chiba films — those are the ones Tarantino is riffing on in his films with the superfluidity of gore and mayhem; this sense of an alternately brutal and beautiful world that raises the volume on what the guests might be looking for," says Nolan. "It wasn't just about gore, it's also about being immersive. We wanted to feel like our story dropped into a totally different world. Basically, we have a whole episode in Japanese."

An entire episode spent in Shogun World? So much for gently tempering expectations. The new world, and the greater world of Westworld, arrives April 22 on HBO with the first of ten new episodes. Let us know what your expectations are in the comments below, and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more.

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