sxsw park best ofImage courtesy of Giant Spoon
sxsw park best ofImage courtesy of Giant Spoon

SXSW 2018

The Best Reactions and Surprises at Westworld?s SXSW Park Experience

BY OLIVIA ARMSTRONG

From the sound of it, the smartest decision to make opening weekend at SXSW was registering to experience the completely immersive replica of Sweetwater outside of Downtown Austin. The experience welcomed fans, press, celebrities and even the cast and crew to indulge and explore Westworld firsthand ? from orientation at the Mesa Gold and into the park on a luxury shuttle, to drinks at the Mariposa saloon and the opportunity to discover Season 2 clues. Here are the best reviews, reactions and surprises from the weekend.

Worlds collided when the cast arrived.

Fans who were already exploring the park received an unexpected shock when the actors who play their favorite characters rolled in. After a panel discussion, which gave the audience a peek at Season 2, series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, along with Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and James Marsden ventured to Sweetwater to experience the real-life park for themselves.

Elon Musk, Elijah Wood and more celebs came to play.

After making a surprise appearance at the Westworld panel (and receiving a standing ovation), SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk visited the park ? donning a black hat. Actor Elijah Wood also stopped by to live without limits while ?Queen of Robots? and YouTube star Simone Giertz marked her first visit to Texas with a stroll through Sweetwater.

Critics felt all the feelings.

Some members of the press dove deep into ?the social experiment? of experiencing Westworld in real life, while others tried to make sense of the Easter eggs scattered throughout the park. One even offered a survival guide. It was A.V. Club, however, who posited the activation ?might be one of the best publicity stunts of the 21st century.?

There was a real-life wedding.

In a welcome, off-script moment on the final night in Sweetwater, a pair of fans tied the knot before an excited crowd of ?host? and human witnesses. Dressed in Westworld-inspired attire, the couple recited their vows outside the town restaurant where Austin-based musical trio Dallas Acid accompanied the ceremony.

Westworld Season 2 premieres April 22 at 9 pm. For more Westworld coverage at SXSW 2018, follow #SXSWestworld and @WestworldHBO on Twitter.