Who is the Man in Black in the new ‘Westworld’ TV show?
It’s a question that’s plagued us since his first appearance in Episode 1. Who exactly is the Man in Black? He’s a figure who appeared prominently in the film of the same name, but as you can imagine, that doesn’t mean we know anything about him.
The mysterious stranger (played by Ed Harris) is one of the show’s big mysteries. We’ve yet to find out his name or anything about him, as he continues to kill his way towards his very own white whale - the true game within Westworld.
But who is he? We might have some idea…
**Spoiler Warning: Don’t read on if you haven’t seen the first 2 episodes**
Here’s the thing - the Man in Black might actually be William.
That’s right - William, the nice guy we met in Episode 2. At first glance, they couldn’t be more different. William seems to be very morally upright and hugely uncomfortable about taking advantage of the park’s hosts. He shies away from sleeping with anyone at the brothel and is disturbed by his friend’s indiscriminate violence.
But that all might be about to change…
William’s scenes could be set in the past
Obviously, there’s a huge age difference between William and the Man in Black, but that could be explained quite simply… if William’s scenes are set 30 years ago, when the Man in Black first arrived at Westworld.
While watching Episode 2, it becomes increasingly obvious that William and the Man in Black never share a scene. Most importantly, there’s some important hints that William’s version of the park is very different.
First of all, let’s talk about the Westworld logo…
Westworld goes a bit retro
We’ve all seen the Westworld logo - it appears at the very start of the show and is often spotted in the background during scenes set outside the park itself. The stylised ‘W’ is very obviously an ultra-sleek, futuristic-looking design.
But when William heads to the park, it’s a very different story.
As you can see, the Westworld logo here has changed. In fact, it looks a lot more retro-futuristic - that is, it’s been designed to look how someone 30 years ago might have depicted something as being sleek and futuristic. Obviously, this isn’t a firm confirmation… but the change of logo is certainly very curious.
The Sherriff is missing
Another small detail - when Teddy arrives in Westworld in the first Episode, we see the Sherriff greeting newcomers and offering them the chance to take off on an adventure to capture an infamous bandit.
But William never encounters that.
Instead, a military type is recruiting newcomers to take place in a very different storyline. And as we know from behind the scenes at Westworld, the storylines do change from time to time in order to bring new experiences to the park. And this could suggest that William and the Man in Black simply aren’t in the park during the same time period.
But what about William himself?
William and the Man in Black are more similar than they seem
Obviously, William’s approach to Westworld is vastly different to the Man in Black. He’s far more reserved and doesn’t take anything for granted… whereas the Man in Black is more than happy to slaughter innocent hosts if it furthers his quest.
Or even just for the hell of it.
But when it comes to Dolores, they seem to share a very similar fondness. William’s first encounter with the doe-eyed female host sees him strolling over to pick up a can that she’s dropped in the street. It’s clear that he’s taken a shine to her, and while his interaction with her is far more innocent, it mirrors a very similar scene from Episode 1 - a scene which sees the Man in Black doing the very same thing.
“Not tonight,” says the Man in Black. Clearly, it suggests that he’s been caught up in Dolores’ storyline in the past… and William’s first meeting with her could be the very start of that.
William and Teddy never meet
Although William and the Man in Black are clearly love interests of sorts for Dolores, there’s a third ‘man’ in all of this - Teddy. Encountering him in the first episode, the Man in Black is clearly not fond of the host and his relationship with Dolores.
And that could be because Teddy was William’s replacement.
When William first meets Dolores, the love interest Teddy is nowhere to be seen… and that’s definitely rather odd. We’ve already established that the hosts live out the same day over and over and over. So for Teddy, that means picking up Delores’ dropped can, and picking up where they left off.
But when William arrives, he’s nowhere to be found… and that could be because Teddy doesn’t exist yet. But things get even more curious when you look up the contract that all guests have to sign - a document available on the official tie-in website.
“By entering the Delos Destinations Port of Entry, you acknowledge that Delos, Inc. controls the rights to and remains the sole owner of, in perpetuity: all skin cells, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, hair samples, saliva, sweat, blood, and any other bodily functions not listed here. Delos, Inc. reserves the right to use this property in any way, shape, or form in which the entity sees fit.”
Was Teddy’s storyline lifted directly from William’s relationship with Dolores?
If Teddy did get in the way of William’s romance with Dolores, it would certainly explain why the Man in Black practically sneers every time he says Teddy’s name.
Some people may play the game more than once…
It’s no secret that Westworld patrons come back for more. After all, William’s friend Logan has visited the park before. But with the hosts memories being wiped at the end of every day, it opens up possibilities to return as a very different person.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Johnathon Nolan explained that some Westworld patrons might return to play the game differently the second time around.
“When you play a role playing game, one of the first decisions you make is am I going to go good or bad?” he explained. “Committed gamers will play twice.”
Obviously, William’s choice of white hat reflects the kind of person he is. But has he returned as the Man in Black to play the game as a different character? It’s certainly possible… and it would add a whole new dimension to the story.
After all, has William decided to play the game differently or has the game changed him?
For the time being, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not William turns out to be the Man in Black.
But if he is, there’s an even bigger mystery to uncover - what changed him?
‘Westworld’ episode 3 heads to Sky Atlantic on 18 October 2016.
Picture Credit: HBO
Do you think William could be the Man in Black? What other secrets will be revealed in Westworld? Leave your comments below… and follow Ryan Leston on Twitter, Facebook or my official Tumblr blog for more on the latest TV shows.