How Many 'Westworld' Timelines Are There? It May Go Beyond William & The Man In Black

Westworld, in the vein of other fan theory-friendly TV shows like Game of Thrones and Lost, has inspired great deals of speculation. Already the questions of who is really a human and who could be a robot have been asked and answered multiple times, but fans have picked up on a mystery that is possibly even grander than determining who in the park is not truly what they seem. Instead, this Westworld theory suggests that the story itself is not what it seems. Though it at first glance appears to be unfolding linearly, many fans suspect the plot is being told across at least two timelines on Westworld .

The two timelines theory revolves around the mystery of the Man in Black and the possibility that he and new visitor William are the same person. The extremely popular theory posits that William's story is happening decades prior to the plot that the rest of the series follows, namely the Man in Black's search for the maze hidden within the park, as well as the behind-the-scenes drama at Delos. But could there really be two timelines happening on Westworld? Could there actually be more than that? If you take a look at the HBO series' main stories, you'll see that it's actually possible we're witnessing up to four different timelines.

Timeline 1: William's Arrival


The basis of the main two timeline theory is that all of William's story is an extended flashback. The fact that Dolores' memories and present are starting to bleed into each other makes it all the more possible that the audience is seeing William through her eyes. This story seems to stand alone from many of the other plots on the show, aside from including Dolores — who, as a host, never ages.

Timeline 2: The Man In Black Searches For The Maze


If William's first visit to Westworld is its own storyline, and William and the Man in Black are the same person, then the Man in Black's search is actually the conclusion to the story that began when William first stepped foot in the park. While it's been theorized that the show is actually telling the same story 30 years apart, where do all of the non-William or Man in Black plotlines fall? Are they all happening in the "present" (likely, the Man in Black's timeline) or do they exist on their own?

Timeline 3: Maeve's Actualization


The Nov. 20 episode of Westworld made it clear that Maeve's journey from host to hostage-taker started when the Man in Black killed her and her daughter in cold blood to see if it would make him feel something. However, there's no indication that Maeve and the Man in Black's current storylines are happening at the same time, just that the Man in Black killed Maeve and her daughter sometime before his search for the maze began.

Timeline 4: Behind-The-Scenes Plotting


Bernard is not having a great time in Westworld. After discovering that he was a host and being forced to kill the woman he was having an affair with, his memory was wiped and now everyone is suspicious. The behind-the-scenes drama of the park encapsulates Stubbs' efforts to keep it running, Charlotte Hale's attempts to steal information for the board of Delos, Bernard's continued work, and whatever Ford is doing. While the behind-the-scenes drama is removed from the on-the-field plotlines of Westworld, the administrative characters still comment on the goings-on in the park. In the most recent episode, the employees assigned to Maeve discussed the incident with Theresa's death, meaning that those two storylines are probably happening at the same time.

All in all, there could be as many as three or four timelines being juggled in Westworld, assuming that more timelines aren't added later on. The HBO series seems to enjoy surprising the audience — or at the very least keeping us on our toes. Its mysteries likely won't be solved anytime soon, but that unpredictability has made it one of the most engaging shows on television.

Images: John P. Johnson/HBO; Giphy (4)