Westworld’s Super Bowl Ad Threatens to ‘Burn It to the Ground’ on April 22

HBO’s first Big Game spot in 20 years sets up the drama’s long-awaited return

Westworld's second season will premiere on Sunday, April 22, HBO revealed in the show's Super Bowl ad. HBO
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HBO’s Super Bowl ad for Westworld teased an android uprising in the drama’s second season, which will premiere on Sunday, April 22.

The spot, which was directed by Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan and aired during the third quarter, combined scenes from Season 2 with footage shot exclusively for the Super Bowl ad.

It opened with majestic Western images, and narration by the star Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Dolores, one of the android hosts in the drama’s Wild West theme park: “Look at this world … this beautiful world … a world where you can be free. But this world is a lie. You’re a lie.”

The images slowly dissolved into Season 2 footage, which hinted at the uprising that was kicked off in the Season 1 finale. Wood continued, “We will burn it to the ground and build a new world. Our world.”

The Westworld ad was created in collaboration with HBO Creative Services, Jax and Kilter Films, and features a cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway” by the show’s composer, Ramin Djawadi.

HBO revealed on Friday that it would air a Season 2 ad for Westworld during the Super Bowl, marking the premium cable’s network first Big Game ad in 20 years. The network previously ran brand-focused spots in 1997 and 1998.

Westworld fans have been waiting since December 2016—more than a year—for the next season as Nolan and his co-creator, Lisa Joy, decided to write the entire season ahead of production. That allowed them to avoid a repeat of the first season’s snafus: production was shut down partway through the season, so that the writers could recalibrate storylines.

With the final season of Game of Thrones delayed until 2019, Westworld is one of HBO’s most anticipated series this year. Season 1 averaged 12 million viewers across all platforms, making it the most-watched first season ever for an HBO original series.

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@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.