HBO News Blog

Big Premiere in 2015? HBO’s Sci-Fi Series Westworld Films Pilot in Utah

By Jacob Klein on Sep 30, 2014 to Westworld

HBOs-Westworld-Cast-Anthony-Hopkins

It’s been called the hottest TV project in existence right now. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood and many, many others HBO’s first step into modern science fiction is something to look out for if you care anything about the future of television. Oh, and did we mention that Jonathan Nolan and J.J Abrams are involved as well?

Can this thing be bigger or as big as Game of Thrones? Remember that when that fantasy series was first announced no one thought it would blow up the way it did.

Today we can confirm that filming has begun has concluded for the pilot of HBO’s Westworld. A casting call has been put out asking for “men and women of all ages” to be part of the filming in Moab, Utah.  Work was to take place earlier this month.

The show will also film at Warner Studios in Los Angeles as well when HBO inevitably orders it to series.

There has been a lot of speculation about what HBO will do about Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and True Blood all fading to black this year.  Noting that filming has already begun we’d expect the pilot to be complete sometime this year, an approval (or disapproval) from HBO in early 2015 with the show ready to complete filming and wrap in Spring 2015.  The show could be ready to air as early as True Blood’s old time slot (June 2015).   True Detective season 2 will also be in the can by that time.  Martin Scorsese & Terrance Winter’s new project will also be ready for next year, it appears.

This gives HBO some choices for the 2015 air date schedule.  Three shows exit while three potentially major hits come into their own. Are you worried about HBO’s 2015 schedule? We’re not.

Look for Westworld sometime next year.

  • Ryo Shenmue

    If J.J. Abrams is actively involved it will be one of the worst cable series of all time without a doubt. Anyway, it’s far from the hottest TV project out there when there are Show Me A Hero and Chris Carter’s Area 51 coming in 2015/2016.

    • andacar

      I remember the original movies, and they were very cool for their time. But if JJ is making this we can expect the series to have one continuous fight scene in slooooow motion, lots of splatter, and a nonexistent plot. Plus, the great Yul Brynner is gone, and I can’t think of anyone who could replace him.

    • Boycottthebull

      I agee. I was excited when I first heard about the possibility of the series but when the name JJ Abrams was added to it, I thought it will be nothing but puerile scripts and weak plots all focused on visual spectacle. When are studios going to learn not to let Abrams loose on our favourite classics.

  • Weds

    Very excited about HBO’s 2015 line-up. It does seem like they’ll be missing a drama series to air in January, so my best guess is that they’ll have four scripted half-hour programs (The Brink; Girls; Togetherness; Looking) followed by John Oliver.

    Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Veep will all return for the spring line-up (with Vice somewhere in there, as well). Then summer will have the second season of True Detective, along with the second season of The Leftovers.

    After that, who knows? Since it seems like all three of the dramas mentioned in this article will make it to air, I’d guess that Westworld and Utopia will follow from the summer programs, and that the untitled Winter/Scorsese project will be paired with another set of half-hour programs (a third season of Getting On hopefully among those).

    I’m also hoping we’ll get Masters of the Air next year, but that seems unlikely. At the very least, we’ll definitely get Show Me A Hero from David Simon.

    • Jef Dinsmore

      That is a pretty logical assessment. There is also Dwayne Johnson’s BALLERS, Danny McBride’s VICE PRINCIPALS, and the miniseries CRIMINAL JUSTICE to work in the schedule. There are also some projects that have been quiet lately like THE SPARK and MADDADAM that still might happen.

      2015 is going to be an interesting year for HBO.

      • Weds

        Totally forgot about Ballers and Vice Principals. Not sure where those two might be placed. With Westworld being fast-tracked, however, I’d imagine that HBO would choose not to pursue at least one of the two sci-fi shows that you mentioned. It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard anything about The Spark, and with Aronovsky attached to Maddadam, I’m thinking that would be the one to make it past the development stage (if either of them do).

        I could see Criminal Justice (any word on if that has begun any stage of production?) airing in late 2015, or at least after May, which is when they Emmy eligibility date cut-off occurs, since they won’t want to cannibalize their other mini-series.

        Not only is 2015 going to be an interesting year for HBO, it could be one of the best they’ve had in quite some time (and I thought 2014 has been pretty damn great, for the most part).

        And although this is only hearsay, my buddy (who works as a sales manager for TWC) spoke with an HBO representative who told him that it’s possible that The Knick may be moved over to HBO, pending the cumulative ratings it receives on Cinemax, so maybe it’ll work out where at least one of the programming slots has two nights of original scripted programming (though, technically, that occurred with Doll & Em and Jonah From Tonga this year).

  • SRJ

    There appears to be a date discrepancy. Jonah Nolan mentioned on the Nerdist Writers Panel on Sep. 21, that they had wrapped principal photography that previous Friday (the 19th). It was done in Moab. Remember reading extras casting announcements in late August, early September for those.

  • Nahojism

    I don’t want to sound like a douche, but when I heard HBO was considering making GoT or another series (I forget what it was), I knew that GoT would be a big hit for HBO if they went with it. Waited for episode one patiently for like three years after it was green lit.

    • I think people said the same thing after The Sopranos: “you’ll never duplicate it or have a hit as big” but here we are.

      That aside maybe this isn’t “The Next Game of Thrones” but I’ll take two series of “True Blood” size instead! HBO has a ton of stuff coming out.

      • Ryo Shenmue

        HBO never had a hit “that big”, The Sopranos was and still is a cultural and artistic landmark in TV history; Game of Thrones well…is merely a watchable series.

  • Jef Dinsmore

    Damn, I’m so glad I’m a writer for HBOWatch because I get to cover this stuff!

  • Jojocotto

    I am so excited about the refresh of original series. While Boardwalk Empire has been good, I don’t think it’s ever been great due to its excessively sprawling cast and story lines. True Blood was very ready to be put out to pasture and I was never a big fan of the Newsroom. I’m still sad The Money didn’t get picked up but between the projects mentioned in this post and others, I’m very optimistic about the future. I would really like to see more series and original programs being aired on the channel. I wish they would add another night of new original series broadcasting. I don’t see what the issue is as time shifting is making up a bigger part of the audience and budget should not be a major concern as the audience seems to be growing with this new generation of first time premium subscribers.

    • Great points. I agree that as sad and scary as it is to lose 3 “big” shows we do need to refresh once in a while. If you didn’t get on the Boardwalk train in 2009 you’re probably not on it now. Game of Thrones gave everyone the chance to “hop on” when it launched. True Detective brought in a new generation and “type” of viewer as well.

      Make sure you’re there for Westworld from the beginning!

      Time Warner is doubling down on HBO, their crown jewel. Can’t wait to see what more money/attention/promotion/love brings this network.










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