If you visit any Westworld theory discussions, you’ll see one unnamed character mentioned over and over: The Man in Black, played by Ed Harris. Fans of Lost who watched the show while it aired will notice an interesting comparison: Lost also had a Man in Black character who was at the center of many fan theories and discussions while the show aired. Is J.J. Abrams, who is at the helm of both shows, leaving Lost fans a clue?
Here’s what you need to know. Warning: There are spoilers in this post through Episode 8 of Westworld and for the entire Lost series.
The Man in Black Is a Mysterious Figure in both Westworld and Lost
In both Westworld and Lost, The Man in Black is referred to in discussion boards as simply “MiB” since no one knows his name. He fancies himself a god figure in his universe, a world where the characters are quite separated from the outside world. He only wears black. He appears to be evil at first…
Here’s Westworld’s Man in Black:
And here’s Lost’s Man in Black:
Right now, fans are mostly guessing that Westworld’s Man in Black is a good figure. He started out appearing evil at first, but he’s evolved through the episodes. We now know that he got married 30 years ago and used to visit the park every year. We know he’s a philanthropist and he has a daughter. His wife died in an accident, but Emily was convinced she committed suicide because they all believed that MiB had a dark side that he kept hidden. MiB returned to Westworld after his daughter rejected him, determined to solve Arnold’s game and find what is at the center of the maze. He explained that when he encountered Maeve, he found the very first indication that hosts can be human. He learned that pain can lead to an awakening.
MiB said in the premiere that he is here to set the hosts free. He’s not a bad guy after all. But exactly who he is is up for debate.
Meanwhile, in Lost, there was another mysterious Man in Black who made his first appearance in the season 5 finale. (Major Lost spoilers here.) At one point, it was revealed that he was the Smoke Monster and he took over John Locke’s body. He could scan the minds and memories of people on the island, replay their pasts and render some type of judgment. He could assume the form of people who had died. The Man in Black was referred to as being the incarnation of evil and his primary goal was to escape the island, which would wreak havoc on the outside world.
Originally, Lost’s MiB was born to a woman who shipwrecked on the island, but he and his twin, Jacob, were raised by a native who killed their mom. At one point, MiB leaves to live at a survivors’ camp, and Jacob visits him over the course of 30 years. Jacob is appointed the island’s caretaker, while MiB is figuring out a way to harness the island’s energy to get off the island.
MiB was essentially a good person while he was a human, until his brother Jacob pushed him into a pool of water, where he touched the mysterious “light” and turned into the Smoke Monster. Although MiB was portrayed as evil, some viewers saw him as a tragic character who only wanted to be good and leave the island, but was forced by Jacob to be overtaken by an evil entity.
The Man in Black is Connected to Two Actors Who Look Very Similar
Here’s where things get interesting. Mark Pelligrino played a character on Lost who was connected to the Main in Black. On Westworld, Jimmi Simpson plays a character who may be connected to the Man In Black. Jimmi and Mark look very similar. So similar, in fact, that we originally thought the two actors were the same person. We’re probably grasping at straws here but, still, it’s interesting to consider the comparisons.
Here’s Mark Pelligrino, who played Jacob on Lost:
And here is Jimmi Simpson on Westworld:
The similarities are striking. And if you came here because you thought they were played by the same actor, no they are not. But they look a lot alike!
So what theories are fans deriving from the similarities between the two shows?
Essentially, it’s the idea that a battle between two brothers led to implications that impacted an entire world. In the case of Lost, that was an island. Here, that would be Westworld. Perhaps the Man in Black had a battle with his brother-in-law, which led to one brother dying and the other living (just like in Lost). And if that’s the case, then MiB is either Logan or William, dealing with the crimes and sorrows of his past and turning the world upside down.
Can you think of any additional clues from the Lost-Westworld comparisons? Let us know in the comments below.