Westworld returns to HBO, featuring more spectacular Utah landscapes

Sunday, April 22 saw all eyes on Utah as HBO’s Westworld returned to our screens with its anticipated second season. The ten-episode sci-fi-western series returned to film in Utah in 2017, spending an estimated $1 million in state.

Season one featured the iconic Monument Valley and Dead Horse Point, while season two includes spectacular backdrops from locations including Lake Powell and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. No strangers to the entertainment industry, these spots previously featured in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968), and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).

The series follows a long tradition of iconic westerns taking advantage of southern Utah’s scenery, with Westworld creator Jonathan Nolan himself citing John Ford’s classics as inspiration.

Westworld location manager, Mandi Dillin, said: “Returning to Utah for season two allowed us to extend our scope of the theme park. Season one built the initial ‘western world’ environment but season two took us deeper and to the farthest reaches of the Delos empire. Southern Utah provided us with a variety of stunning natural landscapes all within 45 minutes of each other. It was almost as if we were on a ‘Mother Nature’s Greatest Hits’ road trip. The majestic beauty was endless and included the traditional red rock landscape to the spooky and surreal. The Utah Film Commission was instrumental in connecting the production with local experts who assisted us in finding accessible but off the beaten path properties where we can continue our world building.

Virginia Pearce, Utah Film Commission director, commented: “Westworld‘s portrayal of Utah continues to be a billboard for the state’s unique and diverse locations, and the potential and capability of our local film industry as a whole. Network TV series such as this are key for our industry as they have the potential of long-term commitment to the state.”

Featuring an all-star cast that includes Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Golden Globe winner Ed Harris, as well as Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and James Marsden, the fictional Westworld is a futuristic, technologically advanced amusement park that recreates the ‘Wild West’ with lifelike robotic hosts to entertain human guests. The series ranks as the most-watched first season of an HBO original series ever, and continues to be praised for its picturesque visuals.

Debra Vago is a publicist, writer and film enthusiast. She resides in Salt Lake City, having relocated from London, England.

Contact Debra for any Utah Film Commission press and media inquires at filmpress@utah.gov.