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Everyone has been theorizing about Richard being from ancient times, or from the black rock. I've just thought of something, what if, all this time he's from the future, a faraway future - and he's time traveling to a point before his own birth? Ok so I know he isn't a main character and the show isn't going to end being centered around him, but think about it. All this time from what we know, he was around with Widmore and Ellie, Ben Linus, and even a short time with Locke and yet he was never leader. Do we know that he can't communicate with Jacob? (OK sub-theory here) Let's say he COULD communicate with Jacob, it would show that he could be leader but maybe it isn't his time. When Widmore asks him why Richard took Ben Linus in, Richard responds "Jacob wanted it done". Does anyone find it odd, that Jacob is an entity whom not everyone could talk to, and yet Richards says Jacob wanted it done. (Another sub-theory - maybe Jacob at the time WASN'T living in the cabin, maybe he was a physical being like any man - just very special, who the leaders answered to?, and maybe something from the "Incident" would turn him into the Jacob we know now, hence why he hates technology, and maybe as a result of the incident and Jacob becoming into what he is now, would push the others to want revenge for him, which will result in the purge?)
Back to the main theory: if Jacob was still at the time a spiritual entity, AND Richard couldn't talk to him, then how would Richard know that "Jacob wanted it done"?. I THINK that Richard KNEW that Jacob wanted Ben as a leader because Richard was from the future and he already knew that some time in the past Ben would be leader.
I think that Richard is supposed to be leader at some point in time, my guess: After Widmore it was Ben, and after Ben it's Locke, so now I think, after Locke, Richard (Who will be born on the island) will become leader. I think maybe he's the son of somebody we already know?? And he traveled back in time to ensure the events which would eventually lead to him being born and becoming the leader of the others. We've seen that Ben and Locke have made sacrifices for the island (As of yet we don't know the sacrifices Widmore has made) and these sacrifices could have been a step in their ladder to leadership. Maybe Richard going so far back in time, and having to wait maybe even hundreds of years just to lead is his form of sacrifice. And maybe it's also a test, he could easily have become leader in 1954, but he knew it wasn't his time yet, so he waited for when he would become leader.
Is this making any sense???