A remake of the film of the same name, HBO TV series Westworld features iconic actor Sir Anthony Hopkins in a leading role, (as per the first season), a character named Dr. Robert Ford, who was the co-creator and director of the Westworld Park, until his former partner Arnold died and Delos began to buy their company out...

During the course of the first season, we see despite Delos Corporate's best efforts, Ford is still very much in control of park and is instrumental in it's narratives (creating story lines for the hosts and guests to "play out" in the park), controlling the host's lives, until a time where he begins to give them a chance to be more free...

All media in which Lecter appears portray him as intellectually brilliant, cultured and sophisticated, with refined tastes in art, music and cuisine. He is frequently depicted preparing gourmet meals from his victims' flesh, the most famous example being his admission that he once ate a census taker's liver "with some fava beans and a nice Chianti" (a "big Amarone" in the novel). He is deeply offended by rudeness, and frequently kills people who have bad manners. Prior to his capture and imprisonment, he was a member of Baltimore, Maryland's social elite, and a sitting member of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra's Board of Directors.

Some may also know Sir Anthony Hopkins from his iconic role as the manipulating cannibalistic serial killer, master chief, and well-versed psychoanalyst, Hannibal Lecter, a character that likes to control the fates of others. He often prepared & fed his victims to his guests at lavish dinner parties.

Red Dragon - Dinner Party

Dinner Party

An old horror narrative from the park's previous decades, co-developed by Dr. Ford himself. It included cannibalism and a well-educated but sinister character, known as "The Professor", who liked to quote Shakespeare's plays. The host who played the Professor would go on to portray Dolores' father, Peter Abernathy.

In season one viewers also learn of one of Ford's earliest narratives, a horror story titled, "The Dinner Party" which includes cult cannibal story line and Peter Abbernathy is in the role of a Shakespearean-spouting Professor! (A professor is someone who could be seen as "well-versed")

Ford, Dolores

Ford's relationship to Dolores, the first host created, is at times similar to that of Hannibal's relationship to Clarice Starling, albeit perhaps not fully escalating to the romantic or the sexual.

scalp, maze

In addition season one's story, The Maze, begins the process to free the hosts, is seen with an event where a host was scalped and the image of the maze appeared imprinted on the underside of the scalp. Hannibal also removes the top of Paul Krendler's skull in both the film and novel, Hannibal at a small dinner party for Clarice. One also may be able to view The Maze as a comparable concept to Hannibal's belief and use of a memory palace

Gumb's modus operandi is to approach a woman, pretending to be injured and asking for help, then knock her out in a surprise attack and kidnap her. He takes her to his house and leaves her in a well in his basement, where he starves her until her skin is loose enough to easily remove. In the first two cases, he leads the victims upstairs, slips nooses around their necks and pushes them from the stairs, strangling them. He then skins parts of their body (a different section on each victim), and then dumps each body into a different river, destroying any trace of evidence. This MO caused the homicide squad to nickname him Buffalo Bill (Buffalo Bill's Wild West show typically claimed that Buffalo Bill Cody had scalped a Cheyenne warrior). One officer quipped it was because he "skins his humps." In the case of Gumb's first victim, Fredrica Bimmel, he weighed down her body, so she ends up being the third victim found. In the case of the fourth victim, he shoots her instead of strangling her, then inserts a moth into her throat and dumps the body.

Old Bill

And lastly Dr. Ford also conversed with a very old host cowboy, named "Old Bill". Although the characters have little in common, Hannibal helps Clarice capture a serial killer named James Gumb whose moniker is "Buffalo Bill" and a reference to the real-life cowboy, soldier, and entertainer, Buffalo Bill Cody notoriously known for his Wild West Show. Some may find Old Bill's scenes unsettling due to the entropy of his movements and sense of detachment in character, being limited in conversation.

So my question is, is there any proof from the EP's that they intentionally went out of their way to reference Hannibal material here?

  • 1
    These "connections" are ridiculously broad and not specific to Hannibal Lecter. Moreover, Hannibal doesn't scalp his victim, he cuts into his skull with a bone saw to get at his brains. "Dinner party" is a reference to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party . You're hammering square pegs into round holes and present this as evidence.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jan 2 '19 at 7:58
  • You could say that about a number of easter eggs and references in any given film, tv series, or novel, since most ideas are borrowing, even if broadly so, from others. IMO if you would say Anthony Hopkins, horror dinner party, and cannibalism in a sentence (which all were mentioned together in one scene, I might add), many would go straight to Lector, because that is the character's signature appearance. Sure the scalping may be an over reach, but cutting one's head open, is cutting one's head open. Jan 2 '19 at 13:47
  • Also could explain to me how The Dinner Party is a reference to The Donner Party? I don't see a connection to it and Westworld's in-universe narrative The Dinner Party anywhere? Jan 2 '19 at 13:58
  • 1
    @DarthLocke - Here is an article with people from the cast and crew talking about working with Anthony Hopkins. - One of the directors talks about a specific scene and how Hopkins actually wanted to avoid being similar to Lecter: "Honestly, he was trying to avoid a Hannibal Lecter approach, and he wanted to make sure that it didn't come across that way — that it wasn't a monster type of a presentation."
    – Oliver_C
    Jan 4 '19 at 17:29
  • 1
    That could make a good answer! However that still is a debate over how Nolan views a monster, does he mean he's not running around eating people?, then sure, but to say that Ford is a hero, would be false, like Hannibal, he's still an anti-hero, it's just Nolan approached the character in a way where we are not "sure" how good or bad he is as opposed to Hannibal, who we know is sinister pretty early on and we don't see his humanity or justification until later (Hannibal, Hannibal Rising) And that doesn't mean Hannibal "references" aren't there, it's just not the same "approach".... Jan 4 '19 at 17:42

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