We’re still trying to wrap our heads around the many conspiracy theories permeating HBO’s Westworld, let alone the possibility of the 1973 film being part of its canon. Last night’s “The Adversary” even featured a gun-slinging cameo to that effect, but producers don’t want you getting swept away in the implications just yet.

You’re warned of full Westworld spoilers through last night’s sixth episode, “The Adversary,” but eagle-eyed viewers may have caught an unexpected cameo from Bernard (Jeffrey Wright)’s trip through older park levels: none other than Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger, robot antagonist from the 1973 film.


Ordinarily, such a cameo would chum the waters for ravenous fans decoding the show’s many mysteries, but according to executive producer Jonathan Nolan, we can take off our tin-foil hats. The showrunner downplayed any major significance of the cameo to Entertainment Weekly:

It was a little tip of the hat. We didn’t want to feature it too heavily, we don’t want you reading too much into that.

HBO’s Westworld has paid homage to the prior film in a number of ways, including still-vague references to trouble at the park some thirty years past (jury’s still out on whether we’re seeing those events firsthand), or Ed Harris’ human character visually echoing the Gunslinger. The film also featured several other parks with different era themes, which producers have downplayed the likelihood of seeing, at least in Season 1.

In the meantime, the frenzied dissection of Westworld secrets will continue by next week’s “Trompe L’Oeil,” the trailer for which you can find below. How else might Season 1 pay homage to the film?