'Westworld' Theory About The Man In Black Is Insane Enough To Be True

by Eitan Levine

Let's talk “Westworld” fan theories.

If you're not watching HBO's sci-fi mindfuck of a show then you don't deserve to have TV or the internet.

Four episodes in, “Westworld” has already solidified itself in the annals of TV history as one of the most unique and jaw-dropping science fiction shows to ever air.

In fact, if you haven't watched it yet, I'm going to go ahead and ask you to exit out of this article, leave your work desk, go home, turn off your cellphone and watch the entire show.

I'm not joking. See you in four hours.



Top to bottom -- from the casting to the plot to the choice to have the alternate world take place in the Wild West -- everything is flawless.

Of course, a show of this caliber and depth is ripe for fan theories and speculation, none more shockingly plausible than this one from Forbes' Paul Tassi.

Tassi claims William, the white hat vacationer who was brought along to Westworld by Logan, is actually "The Man in Black."

For those of you who are terrible with names like I am, here is the theory in gifs:

Could this guy...

...actually be this guy?

The theory revolves around the idea that the show takes place in different timelines as much as different realities.

As we follow The Man in Black on his quest to find a deeper level of the "game," it's entirely possible William and Logan's story is there to serve as a flashback to provide his origin story.

What makes this all work is the fact we never see The Man in Black interact with William or Logan. More so, we never really see William and Logan interact with any other member of the cast not in Westworld -- aside from that robot lady who William doesn't have sex with in episode two.

The rest of the evidence supporting this theory is pretty straight forward, as Tassi illustrates:

There are differences in the town itself, like the 'introductory quest' being a request to help fight in the Civil War, when William and Logan first arrive (though with the new Hector robbery plotline, it's possible that could have changed regardless). The Westworld logo we see as William arrives is different than the one the park has in other scenes. Presumably an older variant. There have been two scenes now where various members of the staff are asking Dolores 'to remember' or 'to start at the beginning,' and literally the next scene is one of William's segments. The 'help you get dressed' AI host that William first meets when he arrives was glimpsed in the Arnold flashback as an in-park host, implying she's very old. Though theoretically she could have been 'retired' and used as an introductory host instead. There's a yet-unconfirmed theory that the woman in the photo that drives Abernathy crazy is William's fiancée and Logan's sister, and at some point he will leave/lose the photo at the ranch during interactions with Dolores.

There are a few points that work against this theory, however.

For instance, aside from them being in the same world, there are very few parallels between The Man in Black and William.

On top of that, The Man in Black claims he's been coming to the park for 30 years. As we know, that would require a ton of money and from what we've seen thus far, William doesn't exactly come off as a billionaire.

Lastly, as Tassi points out,

There's a lot of talk about how hosts always switch jobs and stories, but so far, the two characters we have seen in both sets of scenes have exactly the same jobs and personalities, Clementine and Dolores. In 30 years, wouldn't they have changed roles at all? They act exactly the same and have the exact same plotlines, from what we can tell, right down to Dolores dropping the same can in the same way on the road. That's a long time to be fixed in a precise loop.

Those are smaller plot details, though, and as much as I'm usually pretty dismissive of fan theories, this one seems to hold its own.

So what do you think? We reading too much into this or are we gearing up for a late season identity bombshell?

Citations: A Deep Dive Into 'Westworlds Mind Bending Man in Black Theory (Forbes)