Reunites Thandie Newton and Tessa Thompson who played sisters in the film For Colored Girls (2010).
The repetitive three chord phrase often heard in the background music comes from the original movie, where it underscored the Gunslinger's slow but relentless pursuit of the hero.
The series takes many cues from modern gaming (especially open world gaming) culture such as: side quests, non-player characters (the hosts) on a storyline loop, level difficulties (the further out you go the tougher the encounters), easter-eggs (one visitor uses the actual term), equipment upgrades (again specifically mentioned), and character selection (Jimmi Simpsin's preparation before entering the park). So too the guests encompass certain player styles such as Ed Harris as completionist.
The use of the player piano throughout the series appears to reference Kurt Vonnegut's first novel (Player Piano) which describes a dystopian future in which almost every aspect of human life is automated. In his novel the protagonist rails against a life devoid of purpose or choice thanks to the ubiquity of machines. The reality outside the confines of Westworld has been alluded to as a similar world where the mundane daily tasks of life have been automated, and where there is no unemployment. However one of the guests complains that this has left a world where humans have "no agency".
"Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead is also heard on the player piano.
Ben Barnes broke his foot before arriving to the first day of shooting. Being afraid of losing the job, he didn't tell anyone and just used the limp to look like a character choice. He then had to maintain the limp throughout the filming.
Ed Harris starred in The Truman Show (1998), also dealing with a fake reality wherein everything is scripted, and is envisioned for entertainment.
An orchestral adaptation of Paint it Black, by The Rolling Stones, is played during the street shooting scene.
The name Dolores is derived from Spanish "Maria de los Dolores", literally Mary of the Sorrows in Latin meaning pain and sorrow.
Dolores is the middle name of Ed Harris's real life daughter: Lily Dolores Harris.
In addition to being a common Spanish name, Dolores also means 'pains' in Spanish. This is in line with the character's existential pain and angst.
In Dr. Ford's office, he has a section of wall covered in faces (presumably hosts). This could be a reference to another highly rated HBO series, Game of Thrones (2011). In that show, the Faceless Men of the House of Black and White have a room where they keep the faces of the victims that their Many-Faced God has told them to kill.
Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris previously appeared in Nixon (1995) and The Human Stain (2003).
The taxidermied buffalo head which hangs above the bar in the saloon is an African Cape Buffalo, not an American Buffalo
The name of the character played by Anthony Hopkins is Robert Ford. Robert Ford is also the name of the man who shot Jesse James, the American outlaw.
Westworld could both be interpreted as "the world in the Wild West" and "the western world" as in the western civilisation. Since what the guests do is a brutal summary of the western culture throughout the years.
The first modern song played by the player piano is "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden.
Cameo: In Episode 6 of season 1, time code 7:03, the gun-slinger from the film Westworld can be seen in the background.
The modern songs heard on the player piano in the Mariposa Saloon & Hotel are the idea of Jonathan Nolan. Nolan and composer Ramin Djawadi have explained that the covers are to remind people that the world is a theme park, and that everything is scripted. The songs are chosen by Nolan.
Both Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy) and Louis Herthum (Peter Abernathy) starred in "True Blood" though never filming a scene together. Evan Rachel Wood played the Louisiana Queen of the Vampires. Louis Herthum played the pack leader of the Shreveport werewolves.
Eion Bailey was originally cast as Logan but had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts. He was replaced by Ben Barnes.
The second television spin-off of Westworld (1973) after the 1980 series Beyond Westworld (1980).
In "Westworld" (1973) Yul Brynner's all black clothed gunslinger was the cyborg, and Richard Benjamin's character was the human guest. In HBO's "Westworld" it would seem this has been flipped, with Ed Harris' all black clothed character as the human gunslinger and James Marsden's character as the cyborg.
The Cure 's "A Forest" is featured on the show's player piano as an instrumental cover.