For the SXSW Film Festival, HBO built the entire town of Sweetwater from scratch and populated it with hosts, guests, and plenty of secrets. IndieWire got a chance to attend an advanced showing and documented the journey accordingly. For more on the easter eggs, check out our full report, but if you want to see the exhibition with your own eyes, keep clicking.
Pictured to the left is the first stop in the park: a welcome portal greeting guests and sending them through to the train and then the town. Hats were given out to each guest, and black or white designations were determined by an assessment during the registration process.
Here’s a look at some of the hosts in Sweetwater, as well as the train car that “took” guests to the town. (Really, buses drove people from Austin to an undisclosed location 30 minutes away, but using the train car as an entrance made for a nice touch.)
…and now, welcome to Westworld.
Welcome to Sweetwater! This sight greets you when stepping off the train.
A popular drinking hole and gambling joint in Sweetwater.
The blackjack dealer tries to cool off a heated game of cards.
A samurai is spotted walking through town. What could it mean?
Though guests are asked not to touch anyone inside Sweetwater, a gunfight does take place.
But seriously: Don’t touch anyone in town.
A bartender pours drinks at the Mariposa Saloon.
Only the best whiskey for guests of the Hotel Coronado.
Cowboys and cowgirls are offered old fashioneds, sausage, brisket, and beans for dinner.
Five bands play at the Hotel Coronado, including this solo act.
Rumors around town indicate this preacher isn’t to be trusted, so don’t let him take your confession.
A woman in the graveyard challenges the preacher, but he denies her claims.
Following the preacher’s hint, guests dig up Dolores Abernathy’s grave looking for the center of the maze.
A postman sorts letters waiting every registered guest. Postcards are also available to be mailed from the post office.
The letter left for IndieWire’s Ben Travers:
A shot of the hotel and its surroundings from the back of town.
After the gunfight, technicians appear to clean up the mess.
Hidden behind a secret door, this drone host is being prepped for… what, exactly?
This saloon is reserved for a private function, but seems fully operational.
A guest sits for a shave from the local barber.
Unlocked and unlit, this small room is in the back of town.
Drawings and potions — plus a cocktail — sit in the other corner of the same room.
Six horses are on-hand in Sweetwater. Here’s hoping they don’t go boom.
A shot from the carriage station, as you leave town.
After leaving the park, HBO sent an email with this photo — taken when entering the installation — as well as the copy of the letter shown earlier. It’s worth noting: IndieWire’s TV Critic was given a white hat upon entering the park, even though the letter from the sheriff and wanted poster imply he did something bad. Mr. Travers denies any wrongdoing. “It doesn’t look like anything to me,” he said of the photo.