Westworld explores the simulation of 1920s Chicago in Années Folles

HBO’s Westworld, Season 4, Episode 3 titled, Annees Folles, channels Chicago during the rip-roaring 1920s.

In the episode Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) find themselves inside the Westworld park, however it has been completely transformed to “The Golden Age,” aka the town of Temperance which is modeled after prohibition-era Chicago complete with bootlegging gangsters in shiny black Studebakers and Model A Fords.

The storyline inside the park is almost identical to the storylines we were introduced to in Season 1, but the cast of characters are slightly different and the overall theme has changed from interacting with western-styled outlaws to dapper dressed 1920s gangsters. 

Prohibition-era Chicago is an excellent choice for the park’s latest storyline. Even the name “Temperance” alludes to Chicago’s deep history of institutionalized temperance during prohibition as the Great Migration brought Jazz to the city, and with it underground speakeasies and gin joints which gave gangsters many sources of profit-generating businesses within the Second City.

Photograph by John Johnson/HBO

The scenes were not filmed in Chicago. IMDB lists the location as Melody Ranch – 24715 Oak Creek Avenue, Newhall, California (‘Temperance’, Delos roaring 20’s park scenes.)

Annees Folles was directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper, written by Lisa Joy, Kevin Lau, and Jonathan Nolan. The Emmy award winning series also stars Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Tessa Thompson, Aaron Paul, and Luke Hemsworth. Westworld airs exclusively on HBO Max on Sunday nights.

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