Only three episodes in, and we’ve no shortage of Westworld fan theories to obsessively hunt down, Man in Black-style. Speaking of, star Jimmi Simpson is flattered by one time-turning theory in particular, but the circumstances of his casting might put another nail in that coffin.

You’re warned of potential Westworld spoilers from here on out, but anyone seeking online discussion of the HBO series may have stumbled across a curious fan theory identifying William (Jimmi Simpson) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) as one and the same, making William’s scenes a stealth flashback to the enigmatic gunslinger’s first experience with the park. This past Sunday’s “The Stray” seemingly made that timeline impossible (or at least a stretch), though the possibility has now made its way up the chain to Simpson himself.

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Simpson admitted to being “flattered” by the idea, but seemed more amused than protective:

I love that one. I think that’s so flattering. (laughs)

It’s not every day you get compared to Ed Harris.

I know, dude, because he’s the friggin’ coolest character on the show.

Not enough to discount the possibility on its own, but a separate conversation with The Wrap reveals that Simpson also auditioned for the role of William’s brother-in-law Logan (Ben Barnes), which might discount any physical resemblance viewers have used to connect Simpson with Ed Harris’ character:

I actually auditioned for both Logan and William, and there were just a couple of scenes they created for the audition that didn’t actually exist in the show. Logan was closer to my wheelhouse, and I had some interesting ideas for where to take him. But William was something I never really had been able to do, and I had to work with my partner because I couldn’t access my bag of tricks. It was just all new work.

Westworld seems like it has enough story to tell through the present day, let alone laying groundwork for a narrative that unfolds across multiple decades simultaneously, but HBO surely welcomes the speculation regardless. No doubt fans will comb every inch of this coming Sunday’s “Dissonance Theory” for further clues, and likely not rest until William and the Man in Black share a Sarsaparilla onscreen.

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