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The Man in Black

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The Man in Black
 
 
Man-In-Black-icon
Portrayed by
Ryan Bradford (child)
Mirelly Taylor (in the guise of Isabella)
John Terry (in the guise of Christian Shephard)
Adetokumboh McCormack (in the guise of Yemi)
Rob Kyker (as the "mysterious figure")
Carlton Cuse (as the voice of the "mysterious figure")
Tania Raymonde (in the guise of Alex)
Terry O'Quinn (in the guise of John Locke)
First seen
"Pilot, Part 1" (heard, shadows seen)
"Walkabout" (form of deceased - Christian)
"Exodus, Part 2" (smoke form)
"The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" (original form)
Last seen
"The End" (in the form of Locke)
Appeared in
{{{Appearances}}}
Mentioned in
{{{Mentioned}}}
Episode count
41 episodes, 3 (original form), 2 mobisodes
Centric episode(s)

Shared centric episode(s)

{{{SharedCentric}}}
Non-centric episode(s) featuring flashes

Centric mobisode(s)

{{{CentricMobisode}}}
{{{Listen2}}}
{{{Listen3}}}
Name
None
Also known as
The Monster
The Man in Black
Brother
The Smoke Monster
Cerberus
The Black Smoke
The Security System
Adam
Locke
Yemi
Isabella
Alex
Age
43 (body)
Around 2000 (consciousness)
Date of birth
Date of death
Manner of death
Shot by Kate then kicked off a cliff by Jack
Origin
The Island
Profession
{{{Profession}}}
In Australia...
{{{ReasonAus}}}
On the plane...
{{{ReasonTrip}}}
On the island...
{{{IslandReason}}}
Family members
Unnamed woman - Adoptive Mother
Jacob - Twin Brother
Claudia - Mother
Connection
{{{Link}}}
Season(s)

S1 - S2 - S3 - MP - S4 - S5 - S6

The Man in Black was a centuries-old inhabitant of the Island. He was once a normal man with dark hair and steely eyes, but an encounter with the Heart of the Island, brought on by his brother Jacob, changed him into a violent cloud of black smoke often referred to as the Smoke Monster. In this form he could manifest as deceased individuals, most frequently as his former body. Eventually, and permanently after the death of Jacob, he took the form of John Locke.

Born on the Island in the Classical Roman era, the Man in Black and his twin brother Jacob spent their childhood with Mother in a cave. He was raised to believe that nothing existed across the sea from the Island, that the other people living on the Island were bad, and that his destiny was to protect the Heart of the Island from them at all cost. During this time, the Man in Black played games with Jacob and received preferential treatment from Mother, who favored his curious mind and thought of him as special. One day he saw a manifestation of his actual mother Claudia, who revealed how his childhood was a lie. She explained that the other people on the Island had shipwrecked with her, that he was taken from her as a baby following his birth, and that Mother had killed her immediately afterward. Enraged, the Man in Black defected to the camp of his mother's people and denounced the Island as his home.

During his time among Claudia's people, The Man in Black maintained contact with Jacob. He also kept his view that other people were bad, and merely used his time among them as a means to an end to escape the Island's hold. Through man's curiosity and intelligence he found a way to build a device that could manipulate the Island's source and allow him to leave. After telling Jacob his plans, Mother thwarted him by burying the device and slaughtering his village. In turn, the Man in Black returned to his childhood cave and stabbed her. In a rage, Jacob took him to the Heart of the Island and cast him into the source, unintentionally transforming the Man in Black into an invulnerable pillar of smoke.

The brothers spent the following centuries in conflict, drawing people to the island to test their nature. The Man in Black maintained his belief in the inherent corruptibility of man, whereas Jacob saw an essential good. Although Jacob disagreed with Mother's views on man, he maintained her hold on the Man in Black and prevented him from leaving. This led the Man in Black toward several attempts in finding a loophole in Mother's rule that he couldn't harm his brother. As the Smoke Monster, the Man in Black could glimpse into the minds of others, and used his ability to manifest as the deceased to deceive new arrivals. In one such instance, he tried persuading a shipwrecked Richard Alpert to kill Jacob for him.

Many years later, following Jacob's recruitment of Richard as an adviser, the development of the Others, the arrival of the US Army, the Dharma Initiative, the Bésixdouze, Henry Gale, the Beechcraft, Oceanic flight 815, the Kahana, and Ajira Flight 316, the Man in Black succeeded in killing Jacob through an elaborate deception involving the Island's special time properties and the manipulation of Benjamin Linus. He then tried to kill Jacob's replacements and the people charged with protecting them by means of recruitment and lies, and through Desmond Hume successfully deactivated the Heart of the Island. This inadvertently rendered the Man in Black mortal, and before he could fully destroy the Island and leave, the current protector Jack Shephard and the candidate Kate Austen killed him. Soon after, Jack restored the heart of the Island and fully ended the Man in Black's plans.

History

Early life and transformation

6x15 YourTrueFamily
The Man in Black is shown his origins by the ghost of his mother. ("Across the Sea")

The Man in Black was born on the Island after his pregnant mother Claudia's ship wrecked off-shore. A woman on the Island delivered him and his twin brother Jacob but killed their mother and raised them herself. The boys initially led a carefree life, but some thirteen years later discovered the shipwreck's other survivors on the island. When their adopted mother heard, she blindfolded the boys and led them to a cave where a stream flowed into a glowing light. The Boy in Black remarked how beautiful the light was but was warned never to enter the cave. Later, Claudia's ghost convinced the young Man in Black to join her people, against his adoptive mother's wishes. He invited Jacob to join him, but Jacob chose to remain with Mother.

6x15smokeyissuesforth
The Smoke Monster issues from the cave, knocking over Jacob. ("Across the Sea")

Years passed, but he remained in touch with Jacob, meeting with him often to play their childhood game. The Man in Black disapproved of his people, but when they discovered the Island's electromagnetism, he used them to dig a well to its source, seeking access to the light his adoptive mother had once shown him. He planned to build a wheel to harness the energy and leave the island. Jacob told their mother though, and she knocked him out, filled his well and killed all his people. Furious, the Man in Black sneaked up on her in her camp and stabbed her to death.

Jacob avenged her death by throwing his brother into the Heart which either transformed him or combined with a part of him. He became a cloud of black smoke, leaving behind his human body in the process. Jacob laid his mother and brother's bodies in a cave, where Locke would centuries later dub them "Adam and Eve." ("Across the Sea")  ("House of the Rising Sun")

Continued feud with Jacob

5x16 IWantYouDead
The Man in Black confesses his urge to kill Jacob. ("The Incident, Part 1")

The Man in Black retained the ability to assume his human form, but Jacob denied him access to the Heart, confining him to the Island. Their Mother had prevented the Man in Black from hurting Jacob, so he sought a "loophole" to kill him and his replacements. The two also began a conflict regarding the nature of humanity. Echoing his mother's beliefs, the Man in Black thought people always "fight, destroy and corrupt," but Jacob, believing in their potential for good, began drawing them to the island to test their nature. ("Across the Sea")  ("Ab Aeterno")  ("The Incident, Part 1")

In ancient times, some of these early inhabitants built the Smoke Monster a chamber beneath the Temple and devised an apparent method of summoning him, though Benjamin Linus later deduced the Man in Black only made it appear as if he were summoned. Hieroglyphs outside the chamber read "to summon protection," suggesting they considered him a guardian. An engraving portraying the Man in Black with Anubis suggests they even considered him a deity. ("Dead Is Dead")  ("The Shape of Things to Come")  ("What They Died For")

Soon after the Black Rock crashed on the Island, the Man in Black as black smoke killed its passengers and scanned Richard's memories. He returned in the form of Isabella, telling Richard they were in hell, and left, letting her screams convince Richard the smoke was killing her. Later, back in his human form, he freed Richard and gave him a knife to kill "the devil," who had taken Isabella. Jacob convinced Richard otherwise though, and Richard returned with a white rock from Jacob to give to the Man in Black. ("Ab Aeterno")

According to Charles Widmore, the Man in Black became a much-feared figure in myth, ghost stories, and "jungle noises in the night" to the inhabitants who would reside on the Island during subsequent years. ("The Package") They would also come to regard him as "evil incarnate". ("Sundown")

DHARMA Initiative

Backroom
The entrance to the Man in Black's 'summoning' chamber ("The Shape of Things to Come")

The DHARMA Initiative constructed a sonar fence around the Barracks to prevent the monster's entry; a video for new recruits said they built it "to protect us from the Island's abundant and diverse wildlife." ("The Man Behind the Curtain")  ("Namaste") Though their leader's house stood over the Man in Black's summoning chamber, it is unclear whether they knew its significance. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

The blast door map, begun by Radzinsky and Inman in the Swan, referenced "Cerberus activity" and "Cerberus vents", likely referring to the Man in Black and his subterranean pathway of tunnels. ("Lockdown")

1988

5x05 Montand monster
The Man in Black, looming over Montand. ("This Place Is Death")

The Man in Black, in his smoke form, attacked Danielle Rousseau's science expedition on their way to the radio tower. He silently killed Nadine, uprooted a tree; and dragged Montand beneath the Temple's outer wall. He severed Montand's arm during the struggle; and pulled his body into the depths. Moments later, the team heard Montand's voice saying the Monster had disappeared. Robert, Lacombe, and Brennan then entered through the opening. ("This Place Is Death") (In 2007, Montand's skeleton was found not far from the opening by Jack, Kate and Hurley while on their way to the Temple). ("LA X, Part 2")

Two months after the initial encounter, a time-traveling Jin found Lacombe and Brennan's bodies near Rousseau's camp. Jin watched as a distraught Rousseau confronted Robert at gunpoint, claiming he and the team were sick and had been "changed" by the "Monster." Robert claimed there was no monster, and that what they had seen was a security system charged with guarding the Temple. Robert then tried to kill Rousseau, but was quickly shot dead by her. ("This Place Is Death")

After the crash of Oceanic Flight 815

Days 1–44 (Season 1)

Just after the crash, Vincent encountered the Man in Black in the form of Christian Shephard in the jungle. He asked the dog to wake up his "son," saying he had "work to do." ("So It Begins")

1x05ChristainShephardinJungle
The Man in Black appears to Jack as his father. ("White Rabbit")

On their first night, the Monster awoke the survivors by knocking over trees. Rose, from New York, found its loud machine-link sounds familiar. The next day, he pulled the pilot out of the cockpit and left him dead in a tree. He pursued Jack, Kate, and Charlie through the jungle, but disappeared when the rain stopped. During the chase, they hid in the roots of a banyan tree, which appeared to repel him. ("Pilot, Part 1")

Three days later, Locke saw the Man in Black's Monster form. He stood his ground and escaped unharmed. He initially told Michael he had not seen it, but later told Jack, "I've looked into the eye of this Island... and what I saw was beautiful." ("Walkabout") ("White Rabbit") Locke later told Eko he had seen a beautiful bright light. ("The Cost of Living")

Exoduspart2monster
The Man in Black disappears after being attacked with dynamite. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Jack later saw his dead father in the jungle but thought him a hallucination; the Man in Black later claimed to have appeared to Jack to lead him to water. ("White Rabbit") ("The Last Recruit") He followed the apparition at Locke's suggestion and discovered the Man in Black's old home, the caves, which contained water and some debris from the plane. He found Christian's coffin intact among the wreckage, but the body was not inside. ("White Rabbit") Jack also found the black and white pieces from the Man in Black's Senet game and the corpses of him and his mother. Locke dubbed the bodies Adam and Eve. Following Jack's discovery, Arzt heard the Man in Black's roar and decided against moving to the caves. ("Arzt & Crafts")

Boone hallucinated the Man in Black chasing him. In the hallucination, the monster killed Shannon. Three weeks later, the Man in Black as the Smoke Monster form chased Rousseau, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate, and Arzt in the Dark Territory. Rousseau called it a "security system" that protected the Island and said they were safe behind some large trees. ("Exodus, Part 1") He chased them again later the same day, first appearing as a small wisp of smoke, then producing his usual noises and explosions. Locke approached him, but he knocked Locke down and dragged him to a hole in the ground. Kate tossed dynamite at the black smoke, and he let go of Locke, the smoke dissipating. ("Hearts and Minds")  ("Exodus, Part 2")

Day 50-64 (Season 2)

2x10 MonsterApproaching
Mr. Eko confronts the Man in Black in his Monster form. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Six days after the Dark Territory attack, Charlie and Mr. Eko encountered the Man in Black. Eko first saw him briefly as a wisp of smoke; when the monster returned, uprooting trees, Eko stood his ground. As the monster hovered just inches before Eko's face, several images from Eko's past flashed within the cloud, almost like lightning, coinciding with clicking noises the monster made. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Eko later dreamed of his brother Yemi, a form the Man in Black would later assume to appear to him. This dream figure told him to get Locke to lead him to the question mark. The figure appeared to Locke in a dream shortly after, again to lead them toward the Pearl, though Locke had never met Yemi in life. ("?")

Days 71–82 (Season 3)

Costofliving
The Monster grabs Mr. Eko, moments before killing him. ("The Cost of Living")

Three weeks passed without an encounter, until the Man in Black manifested himself as Yemi, Eko's dead brother. While Eko made his way to Yemi's final resting place, the Man in Black appeared as distant wisps of smoke. To test Eko, he appeared as figures from Eko's past. As smoke, he approached Eko, then retreated. Later Eko again encountered the Man in Black as Yemi, asking Eko to confess his sins. Eko denied any guilt, and the Man in Black left and returned as smoke, now over 40 feet in height. It seized Eko with a fist-like appendage and proceeded to repeatedly slam him into trees and the ground, fatally wounding him. Eko died in Locke's arms after whispering his last words. When asked what he said, Locke replied, "He said we're next." ("The Cost of Living")

3x20 Jacob
The Man in Black appears as an unknown man in Jacob's cabin. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

Nine days later, the Man in Black appeared as spiders, biting and paralyzing Nikki. (Official Lost Podcast/March 21, 2008) ("Exposé") The next day, the Man in Black chased Kate and Juliet through the jungle. He emitted a series of bright flashes of light at the women, then retreated and left them alone. ("Left Behind") He returned to chase them again the next day. Juliet activated the sonar fence's keypad, and it repelled the Monster like an invisible wall and it flew away. Juliet remarked, "We don't know what it is, but we know that it doesn't like our fences." ("Left Behind")

A week after that, the Man in Black may appeared to Locke in Jacob's cabin, as a mysterious figure, which both Locke and Ben at the time believed to be Jacob. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

Days 97–100 (Season 4)

MassiveMonsterAttack
The Monster attacks Widmore's mercenaries. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

When Hurley stumbled upon Jacob's cabin, he saw the figure of Christian Shephard in Jacob's rocking chair, wearing his usual outfit. He was also startled by a second figure peering through the window at him. ("The Beginning of the End")

While the Barracks were under siege by the mercenary team, Ben summoned the Man in Black through a secret room in his house. He appeared as a single black cloud, larger than ever before, that ran parallel to the ground. He only injured one of the mercenaries seriously, but he caused a great deal of confusion and panic amongst his victims, who fired upon him in vain. Keamy grimly described the Monster as "a black pillar of smoke." ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Ucango
"You can go now, Michael." ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")

The Man in Black later held Aaron outside of Sawyer, Miles and Claire's camp. Miles saw Claire walk away with him in the night, calling him "dad". ("Something Nice Back Home")

When Locke entered Jacob's cabin, he met "Christian," whose form the Man in Black had previously taken, and who now claimed to be speaking on Jacob's behalf. He dodged questions about Claire, prompting Locke to ask, "How do I save the Island?" In response, the the sitting figure told him to "move the Island."

Soon afterward, "Christian" appeared to Michael on the Kahana, heralded by whispers. He told Michael that he could "go now" and the bomb Michael was trying to control detonated. ("Cabin Fever")  ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3"). If this figure was the Man in Black, he had managed to travel over the water to the freighter and managed to escape the ship's destruction.

At some point after residing with Christian Shephard in the cabin, Claire came to know the Man in Black enough to consider him her "friend". She later credited him with helping her survive in the jungle from attacks by the Others for the next three years. He falsely told her the Others had Aaron, allegedly to motivate her with hate. ("Lighthouse")  ("Recon") However, it was clear that she was not aware that "Her father" and "Her friend" were the same person, the Man in Black. This was proved when Claire told Jin-Soo Kwon that both her father and her friend informed her of Aaron's apparent whereabouts.

Time flashes (Season 5)

5x05 AScoldingShephard
The figure of Christian, confirms that Locke was supposed to turn the wheel. ("This Place Is Death")

While Locke was trapped beneath the Orchid station in a frozen underground cave, the figure of Christian again approached him. He claimed that when he told Locke they must move the Island, he referred to Locke specifically. He told Locke to turn the frozen wheel, and confirmed Richard's statement that Locke would die trying to unite the Oceanic Six, calling it a "sacrifice." Moments before Locke turned the wheel, "Christian" asked Locke to say hello to his son. ("This Place Is Death")

After the arrival of Ajira Flight 316

2007 (Season 5)

5x09 PictureOnTheWall
Christian's form points to the 1977 DHARMA Recruits picture. ("Namaste")

During the day light hours on a day in late December 2007 Sun Kwon, Ben Linus and the body of the late John Locke returned to the Island on Ajira Flight 316, landing on Hydra Island in a controlled crash. ("Dead Is Dead")

5x07 ObiLockeKenobi
The Man in Black appears for the first time in the form of John Locke. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")

Shortly afterwards Ben slipped away from the other survivors to head for the main Island. Sun and Lapidus spotted him and followed. After Sun knocked Ben out, she and Lapidus traveled to the main Island, arriving at night. As they left the docks, they witnessed some trees at the end of the dock moving, and heard the familiar sounds of the Smoke Monster. Frank asked Sun if she had seen that, to which she replied it was probably "Just an animal." Once they arrived at the DHARMA Barracks, they saw the figure of Christian in the Processing Center. Sun asked him about the whereabouts of her husband Jin. He showed them an old photograph of then new DHARMA Initiative personel of 1977. It showed Kate, Jack and Hugo, all three in addition to Sayid had disappeared in mid flight. He intimated that Jin was with them. "Christian" told them they had a long journey ahead. As he said this, the door opened slightly, and a small amount of Smoke drifted into the room. ("Namaste") Off screen "Christian" would then tell a confused Sun and Lapidus to wait for "John Locke" at the Barracks which confused Sun even more since she believed that Locke was dead. ("Dead Is Dead")

That same night back at the Ajira survivors' Hydra Island camp, the Man in Black had assumed Locke's form and was found by Roxanne scouting the southern part of the Island and was brought to the camp. He talked to Ilana the next day, revealing the real Locke's memories, including remembering that he died and was wearing the suit that he was going to be buried in, which disconcerted Ilana. That night he found Ben in their makeshift hospital (that happened to be Ben's office) and informed Caesar Ben had killed him. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") After a confrontation that lead to Ben killing Caesar, Ben and the Man in Black traveled to the main Island in one of the outriggers where they met Sun and Frank at the Barracks after they had patiently waited for Locke as instructed by Christian two nights before. ("Dead Is Dead")

5x12 BenSmokeMonster
The Monster judges Ben beneath the Temple. ("Dead Is Dead")

The Man in Black convinced Ben to summon the Monster then briefly disappeared, saying on his return that he knew where the Monster resided. He led Ben and Sun to the Temple (Lapidus returned to Hydra Island reluctant to follow a "liar and a dead man"), where Ben accidentally fell through a weak section of floor. The Man in Black left and transformed into the Monster, surrounded Ben and flashed him with memories of Alex. He then retreated and returned as Alex, telling Ben to obey Locke or it would "destroy" him. The Man in Black vanished and returned to Locke's form. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")  ("Dead Is Dead")

5x15 InstructingRichard
The Man in Black instructs Richard on his upcoming encounter with Locke. ("Follow the Leader")

He left the Temple and led Ben and Sun to the Others' camp where they met with Richard Alpert. Richard assumed he was Locke but noted a change, and the Man in Black attributed this to his new-found purpose. He led Ben and Richard to the Beechcraft, giving Richard instructions to relay to wounded, time-traveling Locke: That he must get everyone back to the Island and that he had to die as a sacrifice. ("Dead Is Dead") (as originally seen in ("Because You Left")) After this, he demanded they see Jacob, surprising Richard and Ben by inviting all the Others to accompany him. He announced that something had to be done about the Ajira survivors then secretly told Ben he intended to kill Jacob. ("Follow the Leader") Richard asked how Locke had resurrected, and the Man in Black attributed this to Jacob. Ben described his encounter with Alex, pleasing the Man in Black. He then told Ben he wanted him to kill Jacob, reminding him of all he'd suffered at Jacob's hands. ("The Incident, Part 1")

5x17 KickIntoFire
Jacob tells the Man in Black his last prophecy. ("The Incident, Part 2")

The party reached the statue, and the Man in Black and Ben entered. Jacob immediately recognized his old enemy, calmly realizing the Man in Black had found his "loophole." Ben stabbed Jacob to death, and as he fell to the floor spitting blood, Jacob told the Man in Black, "they're coming." Looking startled, the Man in Black kicked Jacob into the fire pit at the center of the room. ("The Incident, Part 2")

2007 (Season 6)

6x01 MonsterFightsBodyguards
The Monster begins killing Jacob's bodyguards. ("LA X, Part 1")

The Man in Black sent Ben to fetch Richard, but Bram's crew entered instead. The Man in Black revealed Jacob was dead and gave the bodyguards permission to leave, but they instead opened fire, striking him several times to no effect. The Man in Black then disappeared behind a pillar, returning as the Smoke Monster and killing them all, though Bram temporarily repelled him with an ash circle. He returned to Locke's form and admitted to Ben that he was the Monster but said he resented the term. He then revealed his goal, the opposite of the man whose form he'd taken - to "go home." He then exited the statue, knocked Richard unconscious, announced disappointment in the crowd and carried Richard into the jungle. ("LA X, Part 1")  ("LA X, Part 2")

After Richard declined to join him, the Man in Black recruited a drunk Sawyer from the Barracks. On the way to the cliffside cave, they encountered Jacob's ghost, who warned privately that killing "him" would break the "rules." After a dangerous climb to the cave, the Man in Black threw a balanced scale's white stone into the ocean, tipping it in the black stone's favor. He then escorted Sawyer to Jacob's list of candidates, explained its meaning and gave him three choices: do nothing and risk dying, become the Island's new protector or leave. Sawyer picked the third choice, and the Man in Black smiled.

6x06 MiB's Group
The Man in Black and his new recruits after the Temple Massacre. ("Sundown")

Later that day, he met a shocked Jin at Claire's camp and sent Claire to the Temple to fetch Dogen. Dogen instead sent Sayid to kill him, warning to stab him before he spoke. The Man in Black snuck up on Sayid, and he stabbed in vain. The Man then cryptically offered him anything he wanted in exchange for his help. Sayid delivered the Temple a message from the Man in Black - join him by sundown or die - and then killed Dogen and Lennon, likely at his new boss's instruction. The Man in Black appeared just after sundown despite the Temple's ash circle and as the Smoke Monster killed everyone who remained. As Locke, he then walked off into the jungle with his new followers. ("Lighthouse")  ("Sundown")

MIBwar
The Man in Black announces "war" to Charles Widmore. ("The Package")

The next day, he came to Ben while he was digging his own grave. After releasing Ben from his shackles with a single gesture, the Man in Black offered Ben control of the island when he and his followers left. He also informed Ben of a rifle about 200 yards into the jungle that he could use to confront (and kill) Illana.("Dr. Linus")

He then led to his followers to Claire's shelter, where he blamed the Black Smoke for killing the Temple Dwellers. Privately, he told Sawyer he killed them to save himself and sent him on a reconnaissance mission to Hydra Island. Returning to the camp, he broke up a fight between Claire and Kate. He took Kate aside and explained why he'd told Claire the Others had Aaron. ("Recon") He advised Jin about his wounds and told him about the candidates, then he left for the beach camp, leaving his own in Sayid's care. ("The Package") Richard was shouting for him, and though he didn't reach him in time, he watched from afar then turned away angrily. ("Ab Aeterno") He then reached the beach camp and offered to lead Sun to Jin. He then chased her till she fell unconscious. He returned to his camp and found Widmore had attacked it and kidnapped Jin. He rowed with Sayid to Hydra Island and exchanged words with Charles Widmore. ("The Package")

MIBForms
The Man in Black explains to Jack that the real John Locke had to be dead before assuming his form. ("The Last Recruit")

He returned to camp, and the next day led Desmond, whom Sayid had taken from Widmore's camp, to one of the wells he'd dug years ago. They passed Jacob's ghost, now a laughing older boy. The Man in Black talked of the Island's mysterious properties then, angry at Desmond's confidence, pushed him into the well. ("Everybody Loves Hugo") Hurley's group joined his camp, and the Man in Black privately told Jack he'd assumed Christian's form to lead them to water. Zoe arrived demanding Desmond's return, fired a missile nearby and gave him a radio to contact her. The Man threw it on the ground and crushed it with his stick. He sent Sayid to kill Desmond, and the two shared a tense moment when he doubted whether he'd obeyed. He talked to Sun and denied guilt for new aphasia. And he sent Sawyer to retrieve a sailboat to ferry his followers to Hydra Island, but when he reached the beach, he found Jack crawling out of the ocean, Sawyer having taken the boat. Widmore then fired at the area, and the Man in Black carried Jack inland as another missile hit. ("The Last Recruit")

Down-the-source
Jack and The Man in Black look down the Heart of the Island. ("The End")


They rowed to Hydra Island where he freed the candidates from cages by attacking Widmore's followers as the smoke monster. As Locke, he then disarmed an explosive from the Ajira plane after killing Widmore's guards easily, but he secretly slipped it into Jack's pack, hoping the candidates would activate it and kill each other. He then led the group to Widmore's submarine, where Jack pushed him into the water. He climbed back out and shot several of Widmore's men, who were attacking the group. The sub left, according to his plan, but three candidates and Kate escaped before it sank. The Man in Black walked off, rifle in hand to "finish what he'd started." ("The Candidate")

Final-battle-mib
The final battle with Jack. ("The End")

The next day, the Man rowed back to the main Island and attacked the Barracks as the monster, tossing Richard against a tree. As Locke, he talked to Ben who led him to Widmore and Zoe. Widmore told Zoe not to speak, so he killed her immediately. He then threatened Penny unless Widmore explained why he had brought Desmond back to the Island. Ben shot Widmore, but not before the Man in Black heard all he needed that Desmond was a fail-safe in case the candidates died, one that could let the Man destroy the Island. The two trekked to the well and found someone had freed Desmond. They spotted Sawyer watching them, and Ben snuck up behind him and held and him at gunpoint, but he took Ben's gun and ran. The Man in Black followed dogprints to Rose and Bernard's camp and threatened to kill them unless Desmond came with him. His group soon crossed paths with Jack's, and Kate vainly shot at him; he scornfully told her to "save her bullets." He joked that Jack, the new protector, had been the obvious choice, and Jack said they'd go to the Heart of the Island together, where he would somehow kill the Man in Black. ("What They Died For")  ("The End")

6x17GoodbyeNamelessOne
The Man in Black falls to his death. ("The End")

The Man in Black lowered Desmond into the Heart with Jack, joking about Jack and Locke's old times together. Desmond uncorked the Heart, and the Island began to shake. Satisfied, the Man in Black left the cave, but Jack attacked him, drawing blood, making the Man in Black realize that he'd just made himself mortal. In a last attempt to leave for good, he knocked Jack out and ran for the cliffs where the Elizabeth was waiting. Jack regained consciousness and now had a chance to kill him, so he caught up to the Man in Black and the two fought. The Man in Black stabbed Jack in the abdomen and tried to stab him in the neck, thinking Jack would "die for nothing," but Kate shot him in the back, "saving him a bullet." The Island continued to rumble, convincing the Man in Black that it would indeed sink. Jack then kicked him off the cliff, and the Man in Black, the Smoke Monster was dead. ("The End")

Non-canon appearances

Lost: Via Domus

In the video game Lost: Via Domus, Elliott encountered the Monster several times. Most of the encounters are in the jungle and all occur almost exactly like Jack, Kate, and Charlie's encounter after visiting the cockpit. ("Pilot, Part 1") The standard encounters happen in the jungle, where the small wisps are first seen, followed by the Monster's signature loud noises. Elliott then runs until he finds banyan tree roots, where he hides until the Monster retreats. On one of these occasions, the Monster attacks Beady Eyes on a tree-fort-like scouting post where he was shooting at Elliott as he ran past in the jungle. ("A New Day") The Monster also attacks Elliott within the caves, but he is saved by Locke before the Monster can get to him. ("Via Domus")

Later in the game, the Monster chases Elliott the distance between the Swan station and the sonar fence. The Monster finally catches up to Elliott, but doesn't harm him. Instead, it hovers in front of Elliott for some time, and then leaves. ("Whatever It Takes") This encounter is almost identical to Eko's encounter with the Monster. ("The 23rd Psalm") The Monster then leaves and is not seen again in the game. ("Whatever It Takes")

Signs of Life

In the semi-canon Lost novel Signs of Life, Locke, Charlie, Hurley, Jeff, and Michael encountered the Monster while on a boar hunt several weeks after the crash. The group heard the Monster traveling towards them after several hours of unsuccessful hunting and were forced to flee further inland from the beach camp.

Locke led the group to a small cliff, which they scaled in the hope of avoiding its oncoming path. Hurley, the last to climb, nearly fell into the Monster's path after sliding several feet down the side of the cliff, moderately scraping the front of his chest and stomach in the process. He managed to regain his grip only moments before the Monster reached the cliff base.

The group discovered a large underground tunnel shortly after reaching the clifftop, where they hid until the Monster moved on. They did not see the Monster during the encounter, although they did speculate briefly as to its nature. (Signs of Life)

Lost: The Mobile Game

In Lost: The Mobile Game for iPods and mobile phones, there is a level where Kate tells you to stop the Monster by taking some dynamite and blowing up the vent where it is coming out of, in order to save Sawyer.

Nature

Abilities

The Monster

The Man in Black's most notorious ability is that of manifesting himself as a giant dark cloud, often described as looking like smoke. Referred to as "the Monster" by most characters, it appears immune to conventional weaponry, but was repelled on one occasion by dynamite. ("Exodus, Part 3") While seemingly intangible, the Monster can grasp and manipulate objects with a tremendous application of force - capable of uprooting enormous fully-grown trees, knocking down walls and slamming victims into the ground. The Monster makes a variety of biological and mechanical sounds -- two of the most distinctive being a mechanical clicking and a loud high-pitched warning or alarm call. It appears the Man in Black is somewhat limited in movement in this form -- and cannot ascend high enough above the ground so as to pass over the sonar fence. The Man in Black also implies his smoke form cannot pass over large bodies of water ("The Package"), although it is unknown if this is actually the case.

Some Island inhabitants believed the Monster could be summoned from a secret room in the Barracks. ("The Shape of Things to Come") Ben eventually concluded that the Monster himself controlled this process. ("What They Died For")

Morphing ability

Throughout the series, the Man in Black has displayed an ability to take on a number of different forms and perfectly mimic individuals, their appearance, voice and memories so as to manipulate others. All of the confirmed impersonated individuals are dead. He does not require that the dead person died on the island, only to scan the mind of a person who knew them, selecting the forms of those that were most meaningful to people to better manipulate the targeted individual. In smoke form, it displays images from an individual's past within itself. The scanning process appears as a rapid series of bright flashes of light. ("The 23rd Psalm")  ("Left Behind")  ("Dead Is Dead") He also appears to gain access to the memories of the mimicked person, even if they have been dead for sometime. ("LA X, Part 2") Some island apparitions, possibly the Man in Black's work, feature living characters. He can also transform into lower animals, including spiders. The Man in Black can change from human to monster form at will.

The list below denotes apparitions seen in the series that have been definitely confirmed to be the Man in Black.

Picture Name First seen Last seen Information
Monster-portal
The Monster "Pilot, Part 1" "What They Died For" The most recurring form of the Man in Black is that of a black cloud, described as looking like smoke. Known as "the Monster," initially unseen, it made its presence felt to the Oceanic 815 survivors on their first night on the island. It has violently killed many characters and spared others. The Monster can generate images of a character's past within itself and create various biological and mechanical noises.
Jacob'sNemesisPortal
Jacob's Brother "The Incident, Part 1" "Across the Sea" Before becoming the Monster, the Man in Black was Jacob's brother. He was a dark-haired man who always wore his signature black clothes. After falling in the Heart of the Island, the man in black came back in his birth form. When he later assumed the appearance of other persons, he seemed able come back to his original form, until he got fixed into the form of John Locke.
MiB Isabella-Portal
Isabella "Ab Aeterno" "Ab Aeterno" After the Black Rock was shipwrecked, the Man in Black took the form of Isabella, the deceased wife of the ship's last survivor, Richard Alpert. He used this form to convince Richard that he had died and gone to Hell. Immediately afterwards, he made sounds of the Monster outside the Black Rock, which facilitated Isabella's quick disappearance and subsequent mission for Richard to "rescue" her.
Christiancabin
Christian Shephard "Walkabout" "Namaste" The Man in Black impersonated Christian Shephard immediately following the crash of Oceanic 815. He led Jack to the caves. He later appeared to Claire and Locke inside the Cabin where he told Locke to move the island. The figure of Christian later appeared to Michael on the freighter, to Locke in the wheel chamber during the time flashes and in 2007 when he showed Sun and Frank the 1977 DHARMA photo and instructed them to wait for John Locke.
2x01 WaltIsWhispering
Walt "Man of Science, Man of Faith" "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2" A number of apparitions of Walt appeared on the island. One first appeared to Shannon, and Sayid later saw it too. This version of Walt spoke incomprehensibly, and the show portrayed this through reversed audio. An appearance of Walt led Shannon to run into the jungle to her accidental death. A taller apparition of Walt appeared to Locke when he was about to shoot himself in the mass grave. It told him he had the strength to leave to grave and said he had "work to do". According to the producers, the apparitions "may or may not" be Walt and were "monster-related". (Lost podcast)
Portal-Yemi
Yemi "?" "The Cost of Living" The Man in Black impersonated Yemi in order to manipulate Eko. He first appeared inside Eko's tent, somehow setting it on fire. Eko then ventured into the woods, being stalked by the Monster and other visions. Eventually, Yemi contacted him at the Beechcraft and requested he atone for his sins. When Eko refused, the Man in Black revealed that he wasn't Yemi and retook his Monster form before he killed Eko.
Spider. Expose
Medusa Spider "Exposé" "Exposé" The Man in Black took on the form of a Medusa Spider and bit Nikki, resulting in her paralysis, and subsequently her death at the hands of the other survivors.
3x20 Jacob
Unknown Man "The Man Behind the Curtain" "The Beginning of the End"? The Man in Black may have appeared briefly to Locke as an unknown figure, asking Locke to "help [him]". Hurley later saw another figure that could have been the Man in Black in this form.
AlexVisionPortal
Alex Rousseau "Dead Is Dead" "Dead Is Dead" The Man in Black took the form of Alex in the tunnels leading to the Temple when Ben went there to be judged. After being surrounded by the Monster and shown images of his past, Ben was greeted by Alex, who violently demanded that he follow John Locke's every word or she would kill him. Ben agreed, unaware Locke was actually the Man in Black as well.
6x01 Go home
John Locke "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" "The End" The Man in Black most recently impersonated John Locke, whose dead body was returned to the island on Ajira flight 316 in December 2007. The Man in Black used the Locke form to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob. The deception worked until Ilana showed Locke's corpse to Richard and the Others. All of the survivors became aware of this impersonation, but only Richard had indicated-by way of his sheer terror-he knows the true identity of the Man in Black. According to Ilana, he was stuck looking like Locke and could no longer change his appearance except to his Smoke Monster form.

He may have taken on other forms throughout the series as well (some possibilities include Kate's horse, Emeka, Daniel, and Harper Stanhope) - although these are unconfirmed. The producers have confirmed that the apparitions of Emily Linus and Dave were not The Man In Black. (Official Lost Podcast/March 21, 2008)

Immunities

The Man in Black is immune to bullets in both his Monster and human forms. Bram and Charles Widmore's team shot at him with no effect. Sayid stabbed him in the chest with the special dagger, but he did not appear to be wounded or suffer pain. He also appears to be invulnerable to explosions in his human form per Widmore's mortar attack. Regardless, the Man in Black claims he can be killed and used this as a justification for destroying the Others at the Temple.

He lost his immunities and became mortal when the light at the Heart of the Island was extinguished. ("The End")

Other abilities

Sayid stated that the Man in Black brought him back from death - ("The Last Recruit") a power his brother Jacob stated he did not have, although Jacob had the power to confer immortality. ("Ab Aeterno")

The Man in Black somehow released Ben from his shackles without physically touching them. ("Dr. Linus")

On occasion the Man in Black has displayed some unusual precognitive abilities. In the guise of John Locke, he knew exactly where and when to be to meet the passengers of Flight 316 when it made an emergency landing on Hydra Island. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") (although he could had simply seen Flight 316 land on Hydra Island from the main one) Much later, the Man in Black brought Richard Alpert to exactly the right time and place to meet an injured Locke caught in the time flashes. ("Follow the Leader")

Although the lagoon at the Hydra dock was quiet, he told Claire he knew the sub had sunk, and was also certain that not all candidates had died. ("The Candidate")

The Man in Black is able to manipulate people's dreams and manifest within them. He does this to both Eko and Locke in order to lead them to the Pearl station. It is unknown how he is able to do this. Aside from the confirmed dream manifestations as Yemi in "?", it is possible that several other occasions in which people have been led through dreams could be the Man in Black as well. These include when Locke saw Boone in a dream shortly after the Swan implosion ("Further Instructions") and when he saw Horace in a dream, who instructed him to find the Cabin. ("Cabin Fever")

In addition to all his supernatural abilities, the Man in Black is incredibly persuasive. He can easily bring people to trust him, or at least follow his lead (often under threat of death, overt or subtle). He is an expert liar (even outsmarting Ben) and can fake emotions and sympathy, so it is difficult to tell when he is sincere. So far, few characters weren’t convinced by his lies. He is also very strategic, being able to find the “loophole” necessary to kill Jacob, patiently biding his time perhaps over the course of hundreds of years.

Despite his long imprisonment on the Island, the Man in Black proved adept at fashioning a timing detonator from a digital watch and blocks of C-4 found aboard the Ajira aircraft, probably after learning from John Locke. ("The Candidate") In an act similar to what the Man in Black would do over three years later sinking Widmore's submarine with the Candidates on board, John Locke at one time did destroy the Galaga with C-4 plastic explosives to prevent his fellow Castaways from leaving the island, displaying a knowledge of demolition to complement his hunting and tracking skills. ("The Man from Tallahassee") The Man In Black had scanned Locke's mind as far back as the fourth day the Castaways were on the Island during his first encounter with him, obtaining this knowledge through that method. ("Walkabout") Also, while The Man In Black cannot leave the island, many people have come to the Island, through Jacob bringing them there, they finding the island on their own, or were recruited from the outside by on island institutions like The DHARMA Initiative and The Others gaining insights on the outside world including technological advances.

According to the apparition of his birth mother, Claudia, The Man in Black is able to see the dead while his brother Jacob cannot. ("Across the Sea")

5x12 Monstrous Keamy
The Man in Black shows Ben an image of his past. ("Dead Is Dead")

Due to his "special" nature, the Man in Black appears to be extremely intelligent. He was able to construct or reconstruct a mechanism to harness the island's electromagnetism in ancient times. ("Across the Sea")

Weaknesses

Sonar fence

The DHARMA Initiative's sonar fence repels the Man in Black in his Monster form. When Juliet activated the fence, the Monster slammed into the invisible barrier, screeched, and took off into the jungle. ("Left Behind") When Charles Widmore arrived on Hydra Island, his men began setting up a portable series of sonar pylons to keep the Man in Black at bay. ("Recon")  ("The Package")

Ash circles

Ash circles repelled the Man in Black. Ash at the Temple and around the cabin prevented his entry, and on a smaller scale, Bram tried to use one to save himself. ("LA X, Part 2")  ("The Man Behind the Curtain")  ("LA X, Part 1") The ash evidently relied on an external force, the Man In Black could enter the Temple as smoke after Dogen was killed. ("Sundown")

Banyan trees

On several occasions, characters have hidden in thickets of banyan trees, which seem to repel the Monster. Kate hid in a thicket after the Monster killed the pilot. ("Pilot, Part 1") In his hallucination, Boone and Shannon hid inside one while the Monster chased them. However, this was only in Boone's vision ("Hearts and Minds"). Later, Rousseau claimed hiding in banyan thickets could protect someone from the Monster. ("Exodus, Part 1") When Kate and Juliet were chased by the Monster, they hid in a banyan thicket. A Monster-perspective crane shot looms in front of Juliet behind the branches. Juliet reacts to several bright flashes of light just before the Monster leaves. ("Left Behind") The Monster, in the form of John Locke, is able to approach Kate as she sits in a banyan grove. ("Recon")

Explosives

The Man in Black appears sensitive to explosives, at least in his smoke form. On his second encounter with John Locke, he attempted to drag John away as he had with Montand in 1988. ("This Place Is Death") Kate lit and threw sticks of dynamite from the Black Rock at the monster, and it released Locke. ("Exodus, Part 2")

In December 2007 when Charles Widmore returned to the Island, Zoe and her party attempted to intimidate the Man in Black by firing mortar rounds close to his camp. Zoe later fired on him when he was on the beach with Jack. These explosives has no effect on him. ("The Last Recruit") Widmore also wired Ajira 316 with explosives, though likely to destroy the Man in Black's escape plan rather than to hurt him. The figure of Christian, whose form the Man in Black had previously taken, was also aboard the Kahana when it exploded, and he clearly was unharmed. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2")

Candidacy

One of the primary obstacles to the Man In Black's destructive capabilities was that he could not directly kill or harm anyone Jacob branded a candidate. While he could kill others with ease (such as Seth Norris), the rule surrounding candidates deterred him from attacking, for instance, all of the Oceanic survivors immediately upon their arrival.

The limitation did not, however protect candidates from indirect attacks or plots. The Man in Black exploited this loophole by tricking candidates into killing either each other or themselves. There are many examples of this throughout the series, including the death of Nikki Fernandez. The most prominent was his attempt to make the final candidates kill one another inside a submarine by triggering an explosive device. Such attempts encourage candidates to accidentally rather than deliberately kill themselves or each other, as rules appeared to protect the candidates from suicide.

The Man in Black also killed Eko, whose name appeared on the lighthouse candidate list, after the man refused to atone for past actions. This suggests a further loophole.

The Light

In "The End", the Man in Black was revealed to have a crippling weakness that even he had been unaware of; his dependence on the Light at the Heart of the Island to maintain his supernatural abilities. After the extinguishing of the Light there, at Desmond's hands, the Man in Black returned to being a mortal man, albeit one that still resembled John Locke. He lost his ability to transform into smoke, his immunity to physical injury and his other abilities. This allowed for the Man in Black's final defeat and death (when shot by Kate and kicked off the cliff by Jack). Just as he became mortal but still in the form of John Locke, he left a corpse behind despite the former already being buried elsewhere on the Island.

Victims

The Man in Black has killed many people and has indirectly led to the deaths of several others.

Names

The entity has been known by several names to both fans and characters of the show, both as the smoke monster and as the Man in Black. Whether or not any character ever knew the Man in Black's true name, as well as whether or not he ever had one, is still unknown.

  • Referred to simply as the "Monster" or the "Smoke Monster" by the survivors as well as Ben, and, at one point, Jacob. The Man in Black disliked being called "the Monster" the one time he was referred to as such to his face.
  • The DHARMA Initiative appeared to refer to it as "Cerberus"
  • According to Ben, the Others have no name for it at all.
  • Rousseau and Robert referred to it as the "security system."
  • Sawyer and the Man in Black himself refer to it as "the smoke thing." ("Recon")
  • The ghost of Isabella told Hurley that Richard must stop "the man in black" from leaving the Island. This was the first time he was referred as such in the show itself. Earlier, Jacob referred to him as "a man dressed in black", indirectly calling his brother "the Man in Black" ("Ab Aeterno")
  • Richard referred to the Man in Black as "that thing".("The Package") Jin and Ilana have also referred to the Man in Black as such.
  • On few occasions, Jacob called him "brother".
  • For lack of any other name, most people have simply called the Man in Black "Locke", due, obviously, to his appearance as John Locke. Notably, both times he has been called "John," the person who says it has been corrected with the phase "That's not/This isn't John".

Credits

  • For his appearances in his original form, he is credited as man in black (no article, no capitals), with the exception of "The Incident, Part 1", where he is credited as Man #2.
  • For his appearances as John Locke, he is credited as Locke.

Fan Nicknames

As the Monster

  • Fans nicknamed the monster "Smokey." In the series finale, Sawyer called him that as well ("The End").

As the Man in Black

After the Man in Black's first human appearance in "The Incident, Part 1", the character was given several nicknames by the fan community, actors and staff, including:

  • "Flocke", a portmanteau word of the words "Fake" and "Locke". Coincidentally, Flocke is the name of a polar bear in the Nuremberg Zoo - the German word "Flocke" means "flake."
  • "Un-Locke", as in, the opposite of Locke. Used subsequently in TV Guide.[1]
  • "Samuel", often used as a reference to the character's initial casting call, and finally claimed by Kristin Dos Santos to be the Man in Black's real name. The ABC publicity department dismissed this claim, saying that its use was for casting calls only to avoid red flags for fans.
  • "Jacob's enemy" or "Jacob's nemesis", in relation to his antagonistic role to Jacob, was the man names on Lostpedia for a period.
  • "Locke Ness Monster", references the legendary Loch Ness Monster of Loch Ness, Scotland. Used by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in their February 22, 2010 Podcast.
  • "Demon Locke", as Michael Emerson refers to him.
  • "Barry", the name given in a humorous Lost short shown at Comic-Con 2011. Jacob says tells his brother, "You've got a bad attitude, Barry."[2] Possibly inspired by a 2010 article in The Guardian. [3]

These names are considered parody and/or non-canon as they are not indicated as Man in Black's true name in the TV series of Lost.

Trivia

General

  • The Man in Black was the thirty-third and last character to ever have a flashback.
  • The Man in Black was the eighteenth main character to die.
  • The Man in Black never once left the Island during the course of his roughly 2,000-year life.
    • He is the only main character to never be off The Island - the opposite of Penny.
  • The original appearance of the Monster was the first major plot twist of Lost and changed how the viewers and characters perceived the Island. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • The Man in Black has been portrayed by seven different actors, more than any other character on the show.
  • The alleged appearance of the smoke monster swooping down and causing the turbine explosion was officially debunked by the producers. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • The entity, in the form of the black smoke, has been seen or heard by all the main characters except Daniel, Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Libby, Pierre, Eloise and Christian. Locke, Jack, Kate, Charlie, Eko, Juliet, Jin, Ben, Sawyer, Claire, Hurley, Miles, Sayid, Frank, Sun, Ilana, Michael, Nikki and Desmond have had "close encounters" with it. Walt, Shannon, Boone and Paulo have all heard the Monster but not seen it. However, Boone and Shannon had a "close encounter" with the black smoke in Boone's vision. Jacob and Richard are the only ones who have been shown encountering the monster in the forms of the Black Smoke, Man in Black, and as Locke.
    • In its human forms, the Man in Black has met Locke, Sawyer, Sun, Michael, Eko, Ben, Frank, Ilana, Richard, Claire, Jin, Sayid, Kate, Desmond, Jack, Hurley, Rose, and Bernard.
LockeDrawingSmokey
Locke's drawing of the Monster
  • He seems to know the existence of Widmore's daughter, Penny, as he has threatened to kill her once he leaves the Island.
  • Richard Alpert took notice of a picture that a five-year-old Locke drew of a man being attacked by a cloud of whirling black smoke. ("Cabin Fever")
  • Cerberus is also the common name for dog-faced water snakes, a genus of water snakes in the Colubridae family.
  • Cerberus in the Greek Mythology was a multi-headed hound which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Robert claimed the monster wasn't a monster at all, but a security system charged with guarding the Temple.
  • In the May 26, 2006 Official Lost Podcast, the producers said, "There's a good chance that you guys saw the Monster this year Season 2, but just didn't realize you were looking at the Monster." Gregg Nations later stated that the appearance of the Monster was after the episode "The 23rd Psalm" and likely in the second half of the season. Presumably, they were referring to his appearances as Yemi.
  • When the entity appeared in human form, his shirt and Jacob's shirt are contrasted. Jacob wears a light colored shirt, while his nemesis wears a dark one. (Dark and Light)
  • In November 2009, executive producer Damon Lindelof stated that, regarding the scene in "Pilot, Part 2" where Locke explains to Walt the premise of backgammon using the concept of light and dark, he and fellow co-creator JJ Abrams had planned for those two sides to eventually be personified by two individuals (in reference to Jacob and the Man in Black). [1]
  • The casting call described the entity's 1800's appearance as "Samuel. Any ethnicity, 40s-60s. A corporate raider looking to take over his next company. Powerful, devious and obtuse. He has a cunning intellect and a strong sense of danger. May lead to recurring. Looking for someone very interesting and very special for this role..."[4]
  • Dogen describes the Man in Black to Sayid first as "an angry man" who is influencing Claire, then "evil incarnate."
  • The Man in Black evidently has a streak of sadism, as shown in the brutality of its attacks as the Monster, and the apparent amusement it expressed at John Locke's confusion about his own murder.
  • Since a DVD commentary reveals the monster sound effect to be an NYC taxi cab printer, Rose's familiarity with the sound may be an in-joke. In ("Pilot, Part 1"), the Losties discuss the sound on the beach the morning after first hearing the Smoke Monster in the jungle. Rose is heard saying "The noise it made sounded very familiar." Shannon is heard asking "Where are you from?" to which Rose replies "The Bronx."
  • In what appeared to have been a red herring, on June 14, 2006, DJ Dan fielded a call on his podcast, which was part of the ARG The Lost Experience, from a scientist worrying about nanotechnology (miniature machines that can carry out tasks). The caller suggested that with an electromagnetic field, the machines could work together to form a "storm cloud" that could actually think. This clearly was a reference to the Monster, but the theory had already been discredited by the producers in the July 31, 2006 podcast, and again in the first DJ Dan live broadcast.
  • The Man in Black is one of 22 characters to have their name appear in a soundtrack title, although some of his nicknames are used instead of a name, e.g. Monster and Smokey.
  • According to the Across the Sea audio commentary, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse thought it would be interesting if the Man in Black didn't have a name at all.
  • The Man in Black along with Sun, Christian, Bernard, Eko, Libby and Ilana are only main characters who doesn't have any line in their first episode.
  • Last words: "You're too late"
  • Witnesses of death: Jack, Kate

Cultural references

  • Forbidden Planet is a classic sci-fi film based on Shakespeare's The Tempest and was mentioned by writer David Fury when describing the Monster. Its storyline features many similar themes to Lost: a mysterious location, geographic isolation, immense power sources, ancient civilizations, hidden underground facilities, an invisible monster, a stranded crew of explorers, lost scientific expeditions, and deadly psychic powers. The howling noise frequently made by the smoke monster in 'Lost' is strikingly similar to noises made by the monster from 'Forbidden Planet'.
    • The Tempest is a play written by William Shakespeare, that tells the story of the sorcerer Prospero and his daughter Miranda, who are stranded on a mysterious desert island that has mystical properties. Prospero raises a storm, or tempest, which causes a passing ship containing his enemies to run aground. Using magic, spirits and a man-beast creature named Caliban, he separates and manipulates the survivors of the wreck for his own purposes. The play ends with Prospero restored to his former glory. The Tempest is also the name of a DHARMA Initiative station that stores a deadly toxic gas.
  • In Dane Cook's "Rough Around the Edges" tour, he references the Monster, calling it a "Smokey Dragon," and wonders why no one ever thinks about it when they go into the woods. (Outside references to Lost)
  • Cerberus’ three heads relate to the threefold symbol of the baser forces of life. They represent the past, the present and the time yet to come.[2]
  • In William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, one of Lost's major influences, survivors on a deserted island live in constant fear of an entity they dub "the beast." Unlike on Lost, the monster in Golding's work is a figment of the survivors' imaginations, and fear of it is a major driver of the story. Also, interestingly enough, the survivors mistake a corpse hung up on a tree by a parachute for this monster, much in the same way Naomi was caught in a tree upon landing on the Island.
  • ABC's recap of "The Incident, Part 1"[5] refers to him as the Man in Black. In Stephen King's The Stand and Dark Tower series, "the Man in Black" is a name used for an antagonist also known as Randall Flagg or Walter o'Dim.

Explanations

Carlton Cuse: Well then, he might be a manifestation that the Island has generated. Perhaps an incarnation of the Monster?

Damon Lindelof: That's interesting. I would assume that that's sort of a theory that people are tossing around. Um… there's several manifestations in that episode. All of them seem to have come from Eko's memory. So, could one assume that when they last faced off, that all those flashes that happened in the Monster cloud, that it was sort of "downloading information" that it might want to use at a future date?

Metaphorically, the Monster was just the great unknown threat, the imminent danger around the corner that potentially haunts us all… Some thought of it as a monster of the id, much like in Forbidden Planet-- that maybe it appeared differently to everyone who saw it. The most tangible thought, as explained later by Rousseau, was that it functioned as a security system set up by the Island’s creators/early residents... For Locke, clearly, the Monster was the "soul" of the Island that was responsible for his "miracle." (LP Interview:David Fury)

Sound effects

In the form of the black smoke monster, the entity releases several distinct noises.

  • The howling sound is usually if not always an A-flat 4. The frequency of this pitch is 415.3 hertz; exactly one semitone flat of concert pitch A, or A-440; the note that most musicians use to tune a musical instrument.
  • In the voice-over commentary for "The 23rd Psalm" on the Season 2 DVD, producer Bryan Burk confirmed that one of the Monster's sound effects is the receipt printer from a NYC taxi cab. You can hear the sound at this link
    • This was reaffirmed in the May 21, 2007 Official Lost Podcast, but it was clarified that the mythology of the Monster is unrelated to the cabs and was just a matter of sound effects. This sound effect was heard in the following scenes:
    • When Locke punched some numbers into a counting machine, right before the first commercial ("Walkabout")
    • As the Monster flew by Kate and Jack ("Exodus, Part 2")
    • Before Nikki gets bitten by the Medusa spider, as was confirmed on the Season 3 DVD commentary for that episode ("Exposé")

Production notes

  • Some viewers believed that the The Twins (Others) could be amongst the entity's manifestations, but this was officially debunked in an interview with Damon Lindelof. He said they hired the twin stunt men to be guys on the Others' boat, but they were never meant to become important to the storyline. Damon Lindelof said, "We can tell you, sitting here now that twins have nothing to do whatsoever with the mythology of the show." ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • In the production building on the Disney lot where the Lost production has been housed, Cerberus is the name of the safety and fire protection system. The three-headed dog logo can be found all over the grounds.
  • According to Kristin Dos Santos of E! Online (but unconfirmed by official sources), the name "Samuel" was used in scripts to refer to the Man in Black, but the writers ultimately decided not to use the name in dialogue, feeling that leaving the character unnamed was more interesting. [3]
  • In a parody video shown at Comic-Con 2011 and at abc.com, it is "confirmed" that his name is Barry.

Additional casting

  • Ryan Bradford played the role of the young Man in Black (age 13) in "Across the Sea" The casting call described him as "[MATT], Caucasian, dark hair, 12-14, defiant and rebellious. Wise and smart but fights with other boys. He’s given a big responsibility that makes him feel important... NICE CO-STAR."[6]

Producer's favorite fan theory

In February 2007, Damon Lindelof opened a question on Yahoo! Answers about the nature of the Monster. The answer he and Carlton Cuse liked the best was given by user ar233. Out of over 8000 submitted answers, the winner was:

I think the Monster was originally a highly advanced security system designed to separate participants in the experimental DHARMA hatches. I think it was an effect that was designed to frighten people (smoke, noise) if they strayed too far from their experiment location. (A bit Wizard of Oz-like.) However, the electromagnetic force has mutated it—in the same sense as Desmond experienced time travel and can now see the future after exposure—and made it malevolent and able to physically grab things in its force (Eko, the pilot, Locke). So in theory it may be able to be deactivated, if they can find the control room for it (which would be another hatch somewhere yet undetected).

The producers' explanation as to why they picked that answer was:

We were amazed at the imagination and prodigious creativity applied to answering the question, what is the Monster? We have chosen our favorite answer. Not that's it's the right answer. Sorry but we can't really give away the ultimate secrets of the Monster quite yet. The answer we selected might be somewhat right, totally right, or completely off-base. But we liked it and found it very cool and intriguing. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in. We loved reading your thoughts, and thanks for watching! -Carlton and Damon

They later stated they were impressed by how close some of the responses came.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Man in Black/Theories

General

  • Why was he kept at bay by the sonar fence or by a circle of ash?
  • Why was he able to enter the Temple after Dogen's death?
  • If he could glide at a very great height, why couldn't he glide over the sonar fence just as Kate climbs over it?
  • What would have happened if the Man in Black left the island?

History

  • Why was he transformed into the smoke monster upon his encounter with the Heart?
  • Did he occupy Jacob's cabin? If so, for how long?

Recent events

  • Where was the Monster dragging Locke?

External links

Videos

References


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