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13 Insane Westworld Fan Theories About Season 1 and Beyond

Updated May 20, 2020 1.2k votes 245 voters 13.4k views13 items

List RulesVote up the craziest theories that might actually be true.

From the first episode of HBO’s Westworld, the drama and violence have been tinged with a single, burning question: what's going on in the park? While Westworld’s hosts struggle with burgeoning questions about who and what they really are, the park’s employees wrestle with moral and emotional conundrums, and a mysterious Man in Black searches for the “deeper game” at the center of the park, fans are left to speculate as to the park’s true purpose. Fortunately, in the absence of information, keen-eyed fans have begun to formulate fan theories of their own.

HBO’s newest hit series Westworld may be a no-holds-barred romp through a hedonistic Western amusement park on the surface, but just underneath lies a torrent of mystery that has yet to be revealed. At least, not as far as we know. Perhaps some of these Westworld fan theories are hitting the mark, perhaps not, but as questions burn, theories about the park abound. Here are some of the best. Vote up the theories that you think explain what's going on in Westworld.

Be warned: there are spoilers in them thar hills.

Update: Given the surprising conclusion of Season 1 of Westworld, we’ve updated the list with a few theories about what might be in store for fans in Season 2. Enjoy, and be sure to also check out more shows like Westworld!

  • 1

    There Are More Parks Than Just Westworld and Samurai World

    Photo: HBO

    During the first season finale, Maeve and her little band of hosts (well, the pawns she was using to escape the park) made it out of the park and stumbled upon something strange: samurais that appeared to be from feudal Japan. This is definite proof that there is more than just one park.

    Of course, there are likely more parks beyond just the two revealed. The proof? In the 1973 film, there are at least three parks within the entire compound. What’s more, as Maeve is staring at the piece of paper with her daughter’s location on it, fans will notice that the piece of paper reads “Park 1.” Not Samurai World or Westworld. The implication is that there is definitely another themed area that fans don’t yet know about.

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  • 2

    The Maze Is an Easter Egg Left by Arnold That Will Lead Hosts Toward True Consciousness

    Photo: HBO

    Update: Confirmed!

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    Original Theory: In the Southwest, the O’odham people believed in a trickster god called Iʼitoi, or the Man in the Maze. In the cosmology of his people, the Man in the Maze was the guardian of the underworld, and the god responsible for providing the commandments that help people live in harmony with the world and interact with it as intended.

    Another aspect of the O’odham culture is the belief that every crafted basket should include a mistake, called a dau, or “door.”

    Juxtapose those lessons with Ford’s conclusion that evolution used only one device to ensure the survival of every species: the mistake.

    Now, what if Arnold, drawing from these ancient myths, created the Maze as a means to help bring the hosts to full consciousness and then planted the mistakes necessary in the code to get them to the door of the maze? That might also explain why the little girl tells the Man in Black that the Maze isn’t for him.

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  • 3

    All Those Rich A-Holes on the Delos Board Are Dead Meat

    Photo: HBO

    This one is perhaps the most obvious. It would seem that Mr. Ford has spent the last several months reprograming an entire army of decommissioned hosts to descend onto the park and start murdering rich folks. After decades of lamenting the loss of his friend, something has sparked in the scientist that’s made him understand the folly of his ways. So, for Ford, there’s only one thing to do: realize his old friend’s dream of letting the hosts live their own lives on their own terms.

    The only way to accomplish that goal is to make sure that none of the people who see profit are alive to get that money. The implicit understanding is that the massacre will also dissuade anyone else from interfering in the inner workings of the park.

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  • 4

    White Hat William Is the Man in Black

    Photo: HBO

    Update: Confirmed!

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    Original Theory: Jimmi Simpson’s William is one of the few park guests who has actually shown some decency towards the hosts. Donning a white hat and remaining somewhat segregated from the rest of the town, theories have cropped up that William is actually the nefarious Man in Black, only thirty years younger. Fans point to some subtle distinctions in the details—such as changes in the decor of the train station—to indicate that William and the Man in Black are actually operating on two different time lines, with the Man in Black pursuing an end game that’s begun in William’s time.

    Though this theory has been discounted (because fans want to see William run up against the Man in Black, duh), it’s plausible that William’s journey could be taking place years before the Man in Black’s story. 

    Consider the new story arc being implemented by Dr. Ford; the Man in Black is clearly walking through some aspect of a story that in some scenes appears to have not even been implemented yet. Is it possible that chronologically, William’s story (and Dolores’s slow awakening) is first, followed by the employee drama of the new arc, before ending with the Man in Black’s journey?

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