The following contains spoilers for the current season of Westworld, so stop reading now if you wandered in here and want to keep up with the show.
HBO’s Westworld is one of those weekly shows that packs story layer on top of story layer, meaning fans can spend the hours between episodes dissecting references and searching for hidden clues to where the plotline might go next. And episode two of the most recent season, titled “The Winter Line,” contained two doozy references that could be a lot of fun if the show wanted to pursue them beyond the throw-off pop- culture Easter eggs that they are on the surface.
The first nod was a blatant Game of Thrones cameo. Three of them, actually. As Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are making their way through the labs, Game of Thrones TV show co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss appear as lab technicians who are dismantling a dragon who looks a whole hell of a lot like Drogon from their show.
The potential for that that opens up in Westworld and beyond (Westerosworld?) can be fodder for another column. I, instead, want to focus on what was being said by David and Dan as they tinkered with the dragon, because a certain location really caught my ear and piqued my interest.
[We have] a buyer. … It’s a start up in Costa Rica.
Of all the places that could have bene mentioned, they go with Costa Rica? It HAS to be a Jurassic Park reference. You might ask, “Why?” That goes back to Westworld’s roots. The television series takes its cues from a 1973 movie of the same name, written and directed by Michael Crichton. The same Michael Crichton who, years later, would pen the novel Jurassic Park.
If you need your Jurassic geography mapped out for you, the main park was located on the Costa Rican island of Isla Nublar. So now, with a line of dialogue, Westworld has tossed a line into the land of Jurassic Park. It could be a funny nod. But it also could be so much more, if the franchises wanted to partake in some forward thinking.
The obvious joke of a Costa Rican start up would seem to reference InGen, a genetic engineering start up that was prevalent in the Jurassic movie. But Bernard and Stubbs are very much in the future, and the timeline wouldn’t line up with the work funded by billionaire John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough) in the original Jurassic Park movie. Also, the Westworld episode showed Benioff and Weiss working on a dragon, not a dinosaur. So the start up likely was NOT InGen, despite the Costa Rican name drop.
So how might it connect to the Jurassic Park franchise, and maybe set up a world where the simulation vacation that was successfully working in Westworld loops back around to a Costa Rican start up? For that, we look ahead to the pending Jurassic World: Dominion, a sequel that will be conceived and directed by Colin Trevorrow. The movie already has released a teaser short film, showing that dinosaurs are now free to roam our planet. And we expect Trevorrow and his team to explore that terrifying concept:
What if, however, in the middle of that movie, we are introduced to a larger company with designs on spreading the concept of Westworld, and all of its offshoots? Could Jurassic World: Dominion name drop, or even lean into Delos as a presence? And what would their combination mean?
There are a lot of places one could go with a Westworld and Jurassic team up. If InGen and Delos were to collaborate on screen, we could see a scenario where hosts that were being used to entertain guests were now being employed to stop an exploding dinosaur population, meaning cowboys, World War II Nazis and samurai warriors could be fighting velociraptors in a souped-up crossover movie. Maybe Benioff and Weiss could even unleash their dragons on a T-Rex?
Westworld, essentially, is Jurassic Park on a larger scale. Hammond dreamed of paying customers vacationing in his dinosaur park, and Colin Trevorrow pulled it off when Jurassic World was up and running (until it wasn’t). The nod in the latest episode of the HBO series to a Costa Rican start up seems both obvious and intentional. And as most Westworld fans will tell you, everything that is included in the show tends to have deeper meaning… eventually.
We might have to wait a while for the payoff to that very deliberate mention – linking one Crichton property to another. But if it happens, it has the potential to be spectacular.