(Spoiler Warning: Please do not read if you have not watched this week’s episode of ‘Westworld’)
Of all the characters in “Westworld,” the one that has caught viewers attention the most is Ed Harris‘ mysterious Man in Black. He’s violent, distant, and hellbent on finding the mysterious maze where, according to him, the stakes are real. Fans have already come up with strange theories as to who this man might be, but “Westworld” just debunked two of the most popular ones.
One theory suggests that the Man in Black is actually Billy, the timid newcomer to Westworld that we’ve seen go on a bounty hunt with his vile future brother-in-law, Logan. The theory goes that the scenes with Billy and Logan are secretly taking place 30 years ago and are showing the events that twist Billy’s mind and convince him to begin the road from straight-laced white-hat visitor to the most ruthless black hat player in the history of the park. Fans also believed that the MiB’s mention of him and Dolores having history together was a direct call to Dolores being the first android he meaningfully interacted with as Billy.
Unfortunately for those fans, the backstage scenes have debunked this theory. In the park’s control room, we saw an employee discussing Billy’s ongoing adventures with some co-workers. The same employees discussed the Man in Black in an earlier episode, as they decided to give the longtime guest whatever he wanted as he wandered far off the beaten path. Since the same characters discuss both guests and show no age difference, it proves that Billy and the Man in Black are different people.
The other theory is that the Man in Black is Arnold, Dr. Ford’s partner when the park was first created. This seems to be debunked during the campfire scene, when two members of the group of bandits the MiB links up with commend him on his philanthropy work outside the house.
This implies that the Man in Black is known for his kindness outside of Westworld, but comes to the park to unleash his dark side. That clashes with Dr. Ford’s recounting of Arnold. According to him, Arnold was a misanthrope who did not want to sell the park to Delos and who preferred androids to people. The Man in Black also directly refers to Arnold and his mysterious death in the park. He says he plans to complete Arnold’s legacy, though how he came across that information isn’t clear.
Perhaps we’ll find out more in the next episode, when Dr. Ford and the Man in Black come face to face for the first time. The MiB will undoubtedly question Ford about the location of the maze, but probably won’t get much out of the enigmatic founder. We’ll just have to see what happens when the Man in Black faces an obstacle that isn’t an android he can easily put a bullet in.