HBO’s Westworld adaptation might be having more difficulty getting off the ground than we originally thought. After running into several behind-the-scenes problems, the show temporarily halted production in January and pushed its premiere date to even later this year. Now, a new report from The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the show could be delayed even further until 2017.
Based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 techno thriller, Westworld tells the story of a future resort wherein guests pay to have their wildest fantasies brought to life by sophisticated human-like androids. Described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin,” the HBO version boasts a huge star-studded ensemble cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, and Jeffrey Wright. Thandie Newton, Shannon Woodward, Rodrigo Santoro, and Angela Sarafyan also co-star, among others.
The adaptation has been in the works for several years and is widely considered one of the most highly anticipated titles of 2016. Unfortunately, the show has been plagued with problems during production, undergoing several cast changes, delays, and story adjustments. Though HBO execs insisted the project was on track at their Television Critics Association panel earlier this, the network halted filming on the series just a few weeks later.
At the time, HBO insisted it was only a short break and that the show was still on path to premiere in 2016. “As we head into the final phase of production on Westworld, we’ve made the decision to take a brief hiatus in order to get ahead of the writing,” the network’s statement read. But it seems the show’s issue could take far longer to resolve than we thought.
Per THR, HBO has had several “clashes” with creator Jonathan Nolan, (Person of Interest), who is rumored to be just as controlling as his director brother, Chris. With scripts began lagging behind and already shot episodes requiring additional filming, THR reports that the network decided to take back control.
Since putting a stop to production in January, HBO has hired two additional producers and two more writers to pick up the slack and has reportedly “persuaded Nolan to ‘put aside his ego.'” As of now, filming is still set to pick back up in March, but the premiere could be pushed back into 2017, if problems continue.
Nolan, for his part, acknowledges that the project has been a difficult task to take on, although he downplayed any creative differences with HBO. “Westworld is wildly ambitious — on the page and on set,” he told THR. “In broadcast TV, it’s been routine for us to write and shoot at the same time. This is a completely different animal. As we got closer to the final episodes, we realized we needed to take a break from shooting to catch up on writing. HBO and WBTV have been incredibly supportive throughout the process. It would have been literally impossible to make this show anywhere else.”
While Westworld‘s costly issues might seem like a bad sign of what’s to come, retooling a show prior to a premiere doesn’t always mean disaster. The Game of Thrones pilot famously underwent some major changes and that clearly worked out for the best. For now, fans will just have to stay tuned to see if Westworld stays on track for a 2016 premiere or once again gets delayed until next year.
Unfortunately for HBO, Westworld is just one of several shows that the network is having difficulties launching. The network has stopped work on both of David Fincher’s planned shows, Videosyncrasy and Utopia, and the six-part, Tom Hanks-produced Lewis and Clark miniseries. It also scrapped Steve McQueen’s drama, Codes of Conduct, after initially giving it a six-episode order. Remaining on it’s schedule of upcoming programming are the Reese Witherspoon-Nicole Kidman limited series, Big Little Lies, and the half-hour Sarah Jessica Parker-starrer, Divorce.