Ever since the Season 1 finale of Westworld, fans have been incredibly eager to get a deeper look into the other parks run by Delos—particularly Shogun World. That arrived in the most recent episode of Westworld Season 2, which took place almost entirely within Shogun World and revealed a completely different aesthetic for the HBO series. Given the incredible amount of work that went into bringing Shogun World to life, HBO has thankfully released an extensive behind-the-scenes featurette that dives deep into all things Shogun World related.
One of the most striking revelations in the episode “Akane no Mai” was the fact that Shogun World is a mirror of Westworld. Not only is the layout of the town incredibly similar to Sweetwater, but the hosts therein are mirrors (or “doppelbots”) of Westworld characters Maeve, Hector, and Armistice. Indeed, Rinko Kikuchi’s geisha Akane is a mirror of Thandie Newton’s Maeve, Hiroyuki Sanada’s ronin Musashi is a mirror of Rodrigo Santoro’s Hector, and Tao Okamoto’s outlaw Hanaryo is a mirror of Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s Armistice.
This video shows off a bevy of behind-the-scenes footage, as showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy reveal how they brought Shogun World to life, and interviews with the show’s production designers, costume designers, and special effects artists offer insight into how the various aspects of production came together to create this unforgettable episode.
Director Craig Zobel consciously mimicked classic Japanese cinema in his shot composition and lighting styles, so the whole episode felt incredibly evocative and yet one with the core of Westworld, which itself was influenced by classic Western films by directors like John Ford. This was a standout episode of the series, I surely hope we haven’t seen the last of Shogun World.
Check out the Westworld Shogun World featurette below.