‘Westworld’: A Guide to the Remaining Major Fan Theories
Spoiler alert: This post contains details for Westworld through Episode 9, “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”
Though chock-full of mysteries, Westworld is actually beginning to confirm a few fan theories as we approach the season finale. First, Westworld’s Head of Programming, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), was revealed to be a host, given “life” by the park’s creative director Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Then, in last Sunday’s episode, we learned that Bernard was replicated in Ford’s late-cocreator’s image, Arnold—and that the nearly-sentient host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) killed the original (read: human) Arnold back in the day. Yikes.
With all of these exciting developments, it can’t be too much to hope that Westworld will confirm a few more theories as the season reaches its end? We compiled our favorite remaining fan theories (Thanks, Reddit!) to see which ones are most likely to come to fruition on Sunday. Which do you think will ring true?
Multiple Time Frames
Theory: Now that the Bernard Is Host Arnold theory has been 100 percent confirmed, the other longest-running conjecture is the Multiple Time Frames theory. This one actually comes in a few different forms based on whether you believe there’s two, three or even more time frames on display of the park.
Proof So Far: This one has been confirmed as of Sunday, but knowing Westworld there’s still probably a few tricks up their sleeves regarding exactly what is going on. We know of at least two main time frames due to three distinct occurrences that all went down with either park enthusiast Man in Black (Ed Harris) or downward-spiraling park guest William (Jimmi Simpson):
1. The MiB encounters a blonde female host named Angela (Talulah Riley) inside the park who is the same host that originally greets William when he first arrives at Westworld’s headquarters. When the MiB sees her, he is surprised she hasn’t been retired yet, indicating that she has had a long life in the park since William encountered her.
2. The hosts in the MiB’s time frame have significantly advanced tech that makes them appear fully human—inside and out—while the hosts in William’s time frame still contain robotic insides. We learn this when William’s future brother-in-law Logan (Ben Barnes), who William came to the park with, slices Dolores’s stomach open to prove she isn’t as real as William is beginning to think she is.
3. The photo that Logan holds up of his sister Juliet, who is also William’s fiancee, is a newer, less-destroyed version of the photo that sets off the glitching in Dolores’s father Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum) in the first episode.
More Proof: It’s also important to note that when Dolores is finally inside of the white church left over from the town in the park’s earlier years, which we’ve caught glimpses of throughout the season, we witness Dolores at not two, but three points in time re-discovering the church and the underground tunnel leading to the Westworld offices. The first is roughly 35 years ago in her blue dress (presumably around the time she kills Arnold), then 30 years ago with William (you can tell by her gaping stomach wound courtesy of Logan), and finally, present day with the Man in Black (clean button-down shirt, no wound).
William is the Man in Black
Theory: If the Multiple Timelines theory is correct (which it pretty much is), then we’re only a hop, skip and jump away from assuming we are seeing the still-unnamed Man in Black at two points in time. Once, as fresh-faced, thirtysomething William entering the park for the first time and being seduced by it’s thrills, and later in life when he is very familiar with the park and it’s inhabitants as the Man in Black. This time however, the MiB is on a quest to find the Maze, which he believes holds a secret left behind by Arnold before he died 35 years ago.
Proof So Far: The host Angela, mentioned above in the prior theory, interacted with William and the MiB. That could be why the MiB thinks she would have been retired, since she’s been around that long. Also, William and Logan, who are coworkers in a lofty company in the real world, discuss investing in the park, and we now know that the MiB is a board member and has put funds forth for the park. In an earlier episode, the MiB recalls seeing a host cut up in the early days of Westworld and how their insides used to be robotic, which William later sees with Dolores (see above theory), and also in his massive slaughter of Logan’s troops in Episode 9. There’s also minor hints like, the MiB says he’s been visiting the park for around 30 years, which puts him arriving at the time frame of William’s first experience, and the MiB is also already very familiar with hosts like Dolores and criminal underground leader Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) a.k.a El Lazo, who we see William meet and interact with on his vacation.
Finally, in the last moments of Episode 9, Dolores calls out, “William?” and the Man in Black walks into the shot to say, “Hello Dolores.” Obviously, Dolores doesn’t know “when” she is half the time throughout this season, but this is a nice shot from the creators that could definitely hint at what may be left unsaid about the Man in Black and William’s identity.
Plot Twist: What if the Man in Black is actually Logan, William’s future brother-in-law? Logan is the one that originally has the photograph of his sister that is later found on Dolores’s ranch (though he does shove it down William’s shirt), and Logan already expresses the same emotional tendencies of the Man in Black as they both seem to flop between being completely wicked and a (somewhat) decent guy.
Dolores is Wyatt
Theory: Though good-guy host Teddy (James Marsden) sees a memory of his outlawed former-cohort Wyatt as a sandy-haired man, we know that image may not be real as everything in the host’s minds is inputted in their memories by Ford anyway and are overlapped and embedded all the time to hide the truth. There’s actually two theories behind the identity of the elusive villain Wyatt: He’s Dolores, or he’s Teddy. Of course, he might not be either, but where’s the fun in that?
Proof So Far: There’s nothing too strong with this one, but lines have been drawn to both Teddy and Dolores’s different recollections of shooting up the town (with Dolores’s white church) in the past. We don’t see Wyatt in the second incarnation of Teddy’s memory when it reverts from the altered remembrance of shooting soldiers with a comrade to (what we safely assume is) the truth, where he is shooting down townspeople as the Sheriff. Many surmise that that may be because Wyatt = Dolores in the second version of this memory. Also, Teddy recalls Wyatt killing the “General,” which is something we only see in Teddy’s altered version. This moment could be Dolores killing Arnold, which she now remembers being responsible for. Plus, it would be interesting considering the two were originally stuck in a loop as lovers at the opening of the series.
Charlotte is Charlie
Theory: Though not the most significant theory in terms of driving the plot forward, this might be a personal favorite. Could current Delos board member Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) in fact be Arnold’s child, a.k.a. the dying young son Charlie we often see in Bernard’s backstory?
Proof So Far: Not a lot. However, the similarities in Charlotte’s features to Charlie are astounding and noteworthy. Plus, the age difference mostly matches. If Arnold died 35 or so years ago, that would put Charlotte around her current age in the present time frame. It would also help explain how a thirtysomething made it onto the Delos board which oversees every move Westworld and Ford makes (and explains her obvious dislike of Ford). After all, Ford only says that Bernard’s backstory was “inspired by” Arnold’s, which definitely gives him enough leeway to change the gender of the child and the outcome of the death.
Plot Twist: Or, (and now we’ve really fallen down the rabbit hole), Arnold did see Charlie die, but his wife had another child afterwards who she named after their fallen son, Charlotte. But then that begs the question, wouldn’t Charlotte recognize Bernard? Or does she already know he’s a host version of her long gone papa? If so, then what was her master plan behind firing Bernard from Westworld a few episodes back? Help, we’ve fallen and we can’t get up from all the questions.
Here’s some of the other theories we’ve stumbled on that don’t have much grounding, but are definitely interesting to consider.
Bernard is alive. Ford ordered his creation to “end this nightmare,” not “shoot yourself,” at the conclusion of Episode 9. Though phrasing doesn’t seem particularly necessary given Ford’s god-like powers over the hosts, maybe he gave him an out by saying it this way.
Elsie (Shannon Woodward) is alive. We didn’t see a body, just Bernard beginning to struggle with his former coworker as she was just beginning to learn the park’s dirtiest secrets. Is it possible she escaped Bernard’s grasp and is hiding out in the tumbleweeds of the park? It’s also been surmised that she lured fellow coworker Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) there to have an offline chat about her discoveries. Can this one please be true?
Maeve (Thandie Newton) is in a loop. It would be pretty difficult news to learn that the brothel owner/host’s storyline of becoming self-aware is a loop, but some have guessed that she’s stuck in her own engineered tale (adding that Westworld lab techs and Maeve’s co-conspirators Felix and Sylvester are also hosts) written by Ford himself. Pretty evil, huh? It is somewhat hard to believe Ford isn’t aware of what’s going on with her plans to leave the park and create a host-army, and someone “higher up” did mess with her system before she asked Felix to. Maybe this is part of Ford’s master plan to wreck mayhem on Westworld?
Westworld, Season finale, Sunday, December 4, 9/8c, HBO