HBO’s latest hit show, Westworld, is continuing to impress in its debut season, attracting both critical acclaim and strong viewership figures. Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie of the same name, Westworld is centered around an ultra-realistic replication of the Wild West that serves as a theme park for rich guests from the ‘real’ world to come and live out their cowboy fantasies – and indulge in the many pleasures the park’s synthetic ‘hosts’ have to offer.
As should be expected in a project with J.J. Abrams as executive producer, Westworld is full of mysteries and unanswered questions and viewers are even still unsure of exactly where and when the show is set. A myriad of questions such as “Who is Arnold?”, “What’s at the center of the maze?” and “Why are some hosts becoming more self-aware?” continue to baffle and have in turn inspired many wild fan theories. A brief look at the show’s online fan presence will reveal theories claiming that the park is located on another planet, that Wyatt and Arnold are the same person – and perhaps most interestingly, that the show’s narrative isn’t linear.
The last of these theories, dubbed the ‘multiple timeline theory’ has now been explained in more detail in a video from The Outline. The video essentially argues that the scenes featuring park guests William and Logan take place in the past, most likely thirty-or-so years before the rest of the show’s plot. The video points at subtle visual hints such as a different Westworld company logo and slightly altered packaging on the can Dolores keeps dropping as cues to viewers that what they’re seeing is taking place at different times – and goes on to suggest that if this were revealed to be true, it would pave the way for another theory to come to fruition: that William is the mysterious Man in Black.
Certainly, the video is very convincing and the visual clues it uses as evidence are unlikely to be mere coincidence and will almost certainly hold some deeper meaning in further episodes. Of all the fan-theories out there, the multiple timeline theory is perhaps one of the most well-supported and it would be a surprise is the claims made in this video weren’t at least close to hitting the mark, particularly with J.J.’s well documented penchant for time-bending storytelling.
The fact that Westworld has its audience guessing and discussing the show to such an extent is testament to the show’s initial success and its ability to draw in viewers without providing any clear, immediate answers. It’s been quite a while since a mystery sci-fi TV show has captured imaginations so quickly and avidly as Westworld has – and the mixture of futuristic and Old West visual styles has made for quite a unique viewing experience.
Of course, the show can’t continue to muddle and mislead its audience indefinitely. With the first season now at its halfway point, Westworld will likely have to provide some kind of answers to its many questions sooner rather than later, lest it run the risk of losing some of the more casual sections of its viewership. Abrams and fellow executive producer Bryan Burk will know from their time on Lost that there is only so long fans will happily let a series walk them down the garden path – before eventually losing interest and becoming frustrated.
Westworld continues with ‘The Adversary’ on November 6th on HBO.
Source: The Outline