Two episodes in, Westworld has quickly become one of the most hotly-discussed and debated TV shows of the fall season. It’s hard to think of another show that has prompted this amount of speculation since Lost, which had viewers questioning the mysteries of the island for six seasons. Westworld is the kind of show that delights in its tantalizing details and intrigue and as such, the internet is flooded with all kinds of fan theories, both wild and thought-provoking. With eight episodes still to go in its first season, Westworld is sure to conjure up even more questions in the coming weeks, but I’ve rounded up the best ones that have popped up so far.
10. The Man In Black Reprogrammed Delores
One of the most terrifying scenes in the Westworld premiere involves the first appearance of Ed Harris’ Man in Black, who not only blows away James Marsden’s good guy cowboy Teddy — and thus revealing him to be a Host in the process — but proceeds to drag Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) into a nearby barn. The insinuation is that the Man in Black rapes Dolores but some are theorizing that he instead reprogrammed or “hacked” her in order to start messing with the park’s various systems.
As Westworld’s original Host model, it would make sense that any problems with Dolores could potentially start infecting the rest of the Hosts. At any rate, we know that something is going on with Dolores on account of her being able to now hurt flies and other strange behavior (what’s she going to do with that gun?) but time will tell if the Man in Black had anything to do with it or not.
9. The Hosts Are Based On Real People
This theory is based on the end of Futureworld, where the lead characters discover that Delos, the company in charge of the park, has been secretly making replicas of real people, including themselves. The idea goes that Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is essentially trying to create a form of immortality by creating host versions of real people, and that this is also what the Man in Black is trying to achieve by finding the maze. There really isn’t much evidence of this right now and it would probably take quite a few narrative leaps to pull off successfully, but it would certainly frame the actual Westworld park in a different light if we discovered that it’s all occupied by real people (or at least robots modeled after real people).
8. Westworld Is Located On Another Planet
One of the biggest questions on every viewer’s mind is when and where Westworld takes place. The first episode’s musical cues (“Black Hole Sun” and “Paint It Black”) suggest that it is set at least in the modern era and probably in the future, but how far in the future? While some have suggested that the Delos facility and Westworld itself are located underwater or on some sort of giant man-made island, others are confident that it’s all set on another planet. There isn’t really any evidence to support this theory as of yet, but there’s also not much to refute it either since we have yet to see anything of the outside world.
The most likely explanation is that it’s set in the United States in the near future … but it would also admittedly be pretty spectacular if an upcoming episode had the camera pull out to reveal that everything takes place on a giant space station or pristine planet in some far-off galaxy (and it would also explain why the employees have to stay on site for extended periods of time).
7. The Maze Is Located Outside Westworld
We know that the maze the Man in Black is trying to find is a big deal or at least it is to him, as he sees it as some sort of ultimate endgame for Westworld. Right now though, we have no idea what the nature of the maze actually is. It could very well be a literal maze within the park itself … or it could even be located outside of it. Some have theorized that the maze, whatever it is, revolves around Ford and could be his form of the ultimate, final narrative. Whatever the case, we hope that whatever the Man in Black discovers, it leads him to a face-to-face encounter with Ford, if only for an excuse to see two veteran actors like Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins share the screen.
6. Ford’s Ultimate Narrative Is A Host Rebellion
Alright, I’ll admit I just thought this one up (although I’m sure I’m not the first). Dr. Ford has made it clear that he has a grand narrative in store for Westworld, but what if it’s more than just a new Western-set story? What if all of the Host malfunctions—Delores killing the fly, Maeve (Thandie Newton) remembering past horrors and waking up in the middle of surgery—are all part of Ford’s grand design to see his creations surpass humanity and supplant their masters?
He already mentioned in episode one how there’s nowhere else for humanity to go now because they’ve essentially achieved everything and he’s also an old man who likely doesn’t have many years left to live, so perhaps his ultimate goal before he dies is to truly fulfill his role of “playing God” and have his children come into their own. Plus, don’t you kind of just get the vibe that Anthony Hopkins is playing a villain here? He’s cooking up something, that’s for sure.
5. At Least One Of The Humans Is A Robot And Doesn’t Know It
While this is easily the most obvious theory on this list, it’s still worth engaging with all the same because it’s probably true. Pretty much anytime you have a story that involves A.I. so advanced that they believe they’re human, you need to have the opposite situation where a human character turns out to have been a robot all along without ever realizing it.
This device worked really well on a show like Battlestar Galactica because it was a recurring situation that was introduced right from the beginning, but Westworld could put a unique spin on it by showing what it would be like for a human to suddenly realize that they’re a Host. You can be sure that viewers will be watching all of the “human” characters closely in upcoming episodes to see if any of them fail to react to a fly landing on them or being in the same room when a Host voice command is used.
4. The Man In Black Is A Robot
Although the Man in Black is still arguably the most mysterious Westworld character at this early stage, we do know a few things about him. He’s been coming to the park for 30 years, knows pretty much everything there is to know about it, and is definitely a human since the Hosts’ guns don’t work on him. But what if he is actually a Host himself after all? What if he’s an android who has figured out that Westworld isn’t real and is trying to escape? This wouldn’t explain why the guns don’t have any effect on him, but it’s still a theory worth considering.
Other popular Man in Black theories include him being the robot Brynner from the original movie, and that he’s a corporate spy/rival trying to uncover all of Westworld’s secrets. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that there is much more going on with the Man in Black than we realize.
3. The Little British Boy Is Ford
This ties back into the “Ford is behind the robot rebellion theory,” in that Ford’s ultimate goal is to make humanity immortal. How? By modeling Hosts after existing humans, including himself. One of the best Westworld theories going right now is that the little boy Ford encounters on his desert walk is a younger version of himself. The two share a number of similarities: similar accents, claims about their fathers, and a wild intellect.
ComicBook.com suggests that the boy is like a walking, talking notebook of sorts for Ford; someone he can confide in and trust with his ideas and plans. Additionally, as an elderly man, it would make sense that Ford would want to bring his younger self back to life as a way of immortalizing himself.
2. The Show Is Directly Connected To The Original Movie
As you may or may not know, Westworld was originally a movie made by Michael Crichton back in 1973. The TV show is being marketed as a “reimagining,” but some think that the two take place in the same universe. In the premiere, Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard tells Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babet Knudsen) that it’s been 30 years since the park suffered a critical failure. While the nature of that failure isn’t revealed, it’s not hard to imagine that it had something to do with the Hosts turning on the humans who visit the park. What if the critical failure in question was actually the events from the movie, which saw the Westworld robots rise up and start killing the guests?
While some may be quick to point out that there’s no way humans would want to come back to a park that suffered such a catastrophic event, it’s important to remember that there was a Westworld sequel called Futureworld that showed people returning to be the park after the company spent a ton of money ensuring it was safe, so it’s not a stretch to imagine that they would do the same thing here.
1. The Man In Black Is William
This may be the most intriguing Westworld theory floating around right now, even if it does seem a bit unlikely. In the second episode, we’re introduced to a new character named William (Jimmi Simpson) who is a newcomer to Westworld and an all-around nice guy. While it would seem that William is in attendance at the park at the same as the Man in Black, there is evidence that suggests that the show is depicting two different timelines in this episode.
For one thing, we don’t see Teddy get off the morning train and the station itself looks to be in noticeably better shape when William arrives than it did in episode one. Some believe that William and his hedonistic pal Logan (Ben Barnes) will be directly involved with the “critical failure” everyone keeps alluding to and that this event will set William on the path to becoming the Man in Black.