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The Top Fan Theories Surrounding The 'Mr. Robot' Finale — Who Was Elliot Really?

"Mr. Robot" had a dedicated group of fans who came up with intricate theories about how it all would end.

By Tyler McCarthy
Mister Robot Key Art

“Mr. Robot” was one of the most enigmatic and cerebral dramas of its time. When it ended in 2019, it put a satisfying bookend on a perplexing series that introduced a massive twist in its final season. However, before viewers learned the truth behind Elliot’s existence, the internet ran rampant with theories about what was truly going on. 

[SPOILER ALERT]: When the show ended, it revealed the Elliot viewers had been following all this time was not actually the main Elliot consciousness. You see, it was established in Season 1 that the character lives with dissociative identity disorder and Mr. Robot himself was merely a projection of Elliot's own consciousness designed to help him navigate the world. 

In Season 9, it was revealed there was a third personality who had been at play the entire time. The two-part finale dealt with that revelation, which showed there is a main Elliot and the version we’d been seeing can blame his forgetfulness on the fact that he’s not always in control. 

While that ending satisfied longtime fans of the show, there were many who had their own ideas about how “Mr. Robot” would end. To honor the fan speculation that dominated the conversation ahead of the show's finale, below is a rundown of some of the most interesting theories. 

Time Travel Theory

The villain Whiterose is clearly obsessed with time and had a massive machine she believed would help reset the world into a utopia — albeit through very nefarious means. Elliot and the others spent a lot of time at odds with Whiterose and many wondered if what was being teed up all this time was some kind of time machine. A lot of people believed, going into the finale, that the third personality would be the product of some kind of time travel scheme that fragmented Elliot's mind. However, that didn’t end up coming to fruition. 

The Darlene Theory

Elliot’s sister acted as his memory throughout the series: He’s established as a troubled man with substance abuse issues so remembering key details from his past was not his strongest talent. Meanwhile, Darlene has a more realistic grasp of their upbringing. Some speculated that it would be revealed Darlene was another fragment of his consciousness all along, the one who remembers more and cares about him. After all, Elliot went through and made a mother figure and father figure for himself — why not a sibling? 

Another Elliot

In a theory that’s adjacent to what actually happened, some speculated that the third persona would be revealed as an entirely new character or version of Elliot. While this gelled with previous statements that series creator Sam Esmail made to The Hollywood Reporter about the twist being in plain sight all along, others argued that a different version of Elliot would (very, very technically) meet that criteria. 

Another Mr. Robot

Some on Reddit noticed that Mr. Robot often appears in one of two outfits. This led many to believe it was all a subtle signal that Mr. Robot was actually two different versions of Elliot’s consciousness the whole time. In other words, he would be appearing as one person with two different agendas whenever he interacted with Elliot. One is the more thoughtful and caring version, the other is more driven by rage and vengeance. However, in the end, it turns out that Mr. Robot is one persona that is just complicated and has a routine sense of fashion.

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