‘Westworld’: New Theory About The Man In Black Suggests We Could Be Watching Flashbacks And Not Even Know It

HBO has only aired two episodes of their new series, Westworld, but already the theories have started. However, this latest theory about the Man in Black would mean the audience are actually watching flashback scenes and they don’t even know it.

Spoiler alert: This article discusses Season 1 of HBO’s Westworld. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers.

Westworld is HBO’s latest offering. So far only two episodes have aired, but fans are already speculating about the new series that involves a theme park where humans can fulfill their wildest fantasies with the robots, or hosts, there. Those fantasizes can include rape and murder, among other horrendous acts.

HBO's 'Westworld' Season 1 Episode 2 Man in Black and Lawrence
[Image by John P. Johnson/HBO]

But there is one character in Westworld who has already set himself out as the bad guy. Even his name hints at his villainous intent: the Man in Black. So far, in just two episodes of Westworld, viewers have witnessed him rape a host, threaten countless others and scalp another in order to attempt to get to the “game within the game.”

We know the Man in Black (Ed Harris) has been visiting Westworld for 30 years, as he has told Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) this. Little else is known about this character beyond that. Some fans believe the Man in Black might actually be a host rather than human. This theory has been debunked by Westworld‘s co-creator, Jonathan Nolan, in a behind the scenes video. However, some fans think that maybe we do know more about the Man in Black than we first thought, and that is because his backstory was revealed in Episode 2 (entitled “Chestnut”) of Westworld.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Logan and William
[Image by John P. Johnson HBO]

While it seemed Episode 2 of Westworld only centered on the Man in Black’s search for the hidden game, some fans suggest we are actually seeing the revelation of the Man in Black’s past thanks to a newly introduced character, William (Jimmi Simpson). This character was a first time visitor to Westworld. He was visiting alongside a regular participant and seemed like your average nice guy. At one point, William was even asked to choose which hat to wear, black or white. William, obviously, chose the white hat, signifying his good intentions. But, could this all be happening in the past, in a world that never seems to change?

Reddit user, Where_isJessica_Hyde, suggests that William — or Billy — could actually be the Man in Black.

“Did anyone else wonder if Billy, the guy who was given the option to pick between the black hat and the white hat, was a younger version of the MIB [Man in Black]? His scenes seemed to be set in the past, both the train journey and the subway station looking different when compared to scenes we’ve already seen. Perhaps something is going to happen, giving him ‘whatever he wants’ for the rest of his life, which would also turn him ‘evil’.”

Think about it, nothing ever changes in Westworld unless the humans change it. We know Dolores is at least 30 years-old and has not likely changed on account of the fact hosts don’t age. So, for the viewers at home watching Westworld, it would appear what we see are current events because nothing seems to have changed. But, in reality, it could be an event that happened at some point in the past.

And it seems, once this theory started, other Redditors went back and looked over each episode to see if they could confirm or dispute it. As CQME points out, there is a scene where “the 83rd subfloor where all the malfunctioning androids are put down looks like a run-down version of the subway William takes to initially arrive at Westworld with his friend.”

On the other hand, some felt like 30 years was too long a time for storylines and outfits to stay exactly the same. Especially considering it has already been mentioned that new storylines and themes are developed to keep regular participants in Westworld interested.

Regardless of whether this theory about the Man in Black being William in Westworld is correct or not, fans will be watching closely from now on to to see if perhaps Westworld is revealing information via flashbacks without us even knowing.

Have you come up with your own theories about HBO’s Westworld? Let us know by commenting below.

Episode 3 (entitled “The Stray”) of Westworld will air on HBO on Sunday, October 16, at 9 p.m. The synopsis is below.

“Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) head into the hills in pursuit of a missing host. Teddy (James Marsden) gets a new backstory, which sets him off in pursuit of a new villain, leaving Dolores alone in Sweetwater. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) investigates the origins of madness and hallucinations within the hosts. William finds an attraction he’d like to pursue and drags Logan (Ben Barnes) along for the ride.”

[Featured Image by John P. Johnson/HBO]