There is no counting the secrets lurking beneath the facade of Westworld, which, honestly, is part of the fun. The HBO series boasts multiple timelines, characters with hidden agendas, and oodles of cryptic code, which makes it quite the puzzle (or is it maze?) for fans to figure out.
The thing that viewers are obsessing over after this week's episode "Reunion" is the presence of William's wife Juliet, who was played by former America's Next Top Model contestant Claire Unabia. She is the very same actress who appeared in a "stock photo" in season 1 — but there's way more to this story than meets the eye.
In season 1, robot rancher Peter Abernathy (Louis Hertham) finds a photo of Juliet standing in Times Square and short-circuits. The photo, oddly, looked like a stock image — not something that Westworld, with all its intense attention to detail, seemed likely to use. In fact, at the time, Ubania wrote on Instagram that she had no idea she was even in Westworld season 1 until friends pointed it out.
Then, on Sunday, Unabia's Juliet showed up. Clever casting idea? It looks like it's way, way more than that. The Huffington Post investigated the stock image where Unabia's character originated, and learned that while this stock image is from Getty Images, available to anyone with a subscription to the service, its photographer is "Erik von Weber." That sounds quite a bit like "Arnold Weber," the man who founded the Westworld park and whom Jeffrey Wright plays a robot version of.
Coincidence? Doesn't seem like it. As uncovered by Redditor Azreinman one year ago, Erik von Weber has other photos, and its images significantly resemble things we've seen in Westworld already — there's even one damning photo of the show's samurai soldiers.
But it's The Huffington Post's interview with Unabia that seems to solidify the theory that "Westworld" — as in the theme park — does, in fact, employee a stock photographer.
"I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if [the Westworld producers] got that photo [from Getty Images], because that picture, as far as I know, wasn’t for a stock photo," the actress told The Huffington Post.
She added that she believed the picture "was for... [an] internal technology picture."
Technically, the fictional Delos is a "technology company." Could the producers behind this photo have told Unabia this in nod to the series?
It's impossible to know what purpose Erik Von Weber's photos serve, but it could be to tease clues to eagle-eyed fans for future episodes. The one issue with that theory is that Unabia's photo was taken four years before season 1 premiered — which would mean a lot of pre-planning on Westworld's part.
So... will we possibly meet photographer Erik next? As with everything on Westworld, we'll have to wait until the show is ready to reveal its hand before we can truly make sense of this photo.