‘Westworld’ Timeline: How Many Time Frames Are Viewers Really Seeing? Does A Decommissioned Host Prove This Theory?

As soon as HBO’s Westworld aired, fans started creating theories about the show. But, there is one theory about Westworld that involves the show happening at different points in time that needs a closer look.

Spoiler alert: This article discusses HBO’s Westworld. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers.

HBO’s Westworld is set in a theme park where human-like robots (also known as hosts) live in a western-styled world. Humans can visit the park and indulge in any pleasure — or deviant act — with the hosts. However, there is some suggestion that, while the viewer is watching what appears to be one continual story unfolding at the one point in time, with the occasional flashback, there might be multiple timelines actually occurring in Westworld.

This theory came up on Reddit’s Westworld forum not long after the show first aired. Fans were already suggesting not only that there were two timelines running concurrently, but that William (Jimmi Simpson) was an earlier version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris).

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, different time frame theory, Episode 6
[Image by John P. Johnson/HBO]

If this theory is correct, judging by comments made throughout various episodes of Westworld, William’s timeline would be occurring roughly 30 years prior to the Man in Black’s. This is due to the Man in Black having expressed the fact he was “born in Westworld.” Now this could mean a figurative birth over an actual birth. And, if that is the case, it could mean he was around during the catastrophic event the workers of Westworld keep referencing that also occurred 30 years prior.

If the Man in Black really was around when the park went into meltdown mode, it means that William might be involved in these events. If not, his friend (and co-worker), Logan (Ben Barnes), could be. As viewers will know from previous episodes of Westworld, Logan (and by extension, William) works for a company that was interested in buying out Westworld. William and Logan’s time frame indicates that Westworld is losing a lot of money due to high operating costs. Could Logan, perhaps, have something to do with causing the Westworld park and the hosts in it to malfunction in order to lower the cost of, potentially, buying it out from under the owners at that present time?

While trying to work out if more than one time frame is occurring concurrently during Westworld can be confusing, GQ found this YouTube video from The Outline that helps to explain when the differing times are occurring.

The video helps to point out exactly when they think the two different time zones are occurring in Westworld. For example, have you ever noticed there are two different Westworld logos? One occurs only in the time of William and Logan, the other occurs outside of scenes with these characters.

Another interesting thing to note is slightly different fonts on the tin of condensed milk that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is continuously looped to drop and reach for. Could these varying fonts also suggest two time frames in Westworld? It’s not a big difference, but it is enough to convince some fans there is definitely two concurrent time frames in Westworld.

Another difference that is worth noting that was missed in the above video is the fact a returned host has turned up in a scene after he was decommissioned. Prior to that scene, a host, Walter (Timothy Lee DePriest), had malfunctioned and gone completely off script in Westworld. You will likely remember him as the host that was obsessed with pouring milk out over his victims. Then, when he drank milk straight from the bottle, the liquid poured out from the holes in his bullet-riddled body.

HBO's 'Westworld,' different time frames, Season 1
[Image via HBO]

Walter is clearly seen being placed into the room with all the other decommissioned hosts. However, in Episode 3 of Westworld (which is the episode after he was decommissioned), Walter is seen participating in a scene involving Dolores. It has not been stated outright that decommissioned hosts are not returned to the park; however, neither is shown where William is reassigned another role. So, could this be another indicator there are multiple time frames occurring in Westworld?

What do you think, is there one or two timelines happening concurrently in Westworld? Let us know your thoughts and theories by commenting below.

Episode 7 (entitled “Trompe L’Oeil”) of Westworld will air on HBO on Sunday, November 13 at 9:00 p.m. You can view the preview for Episode 8 below.

[Featured Image by HBO]