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Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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Main Article Theories about
Richard Alpert
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Origin and identity


The first mate of the Black Rock

  • Magnus Hanso is described as a ship owner who loved to go to sea. The blast door map references that Hanso lies buried on the Island. The natural assumption of command by a first mate in the event of the death of a ship's captain. Richard Alpert's preeminence among the Island's original Inhabitants
  • Richard is a senior member, but not the leader, of the Island's original inhabitants. When the crew of the Black Rock and others aboard found themselves, without warning, stranded well inland on the Island, a period of uncertainty that could have led to mutiny or, since the Black Rock was never going to sail again, anarchy, ensued. Richard, who demonstrates a cold-blooded calmness within the framework of Lost, was able to prevent the descent into anarchy, and possibly barbarism. One might compare his success to that of Jack Shepard, who was faced with opposition from a number of fronts but kept the Survivors focused by promising to get them off the Island. Jack told the Survivors that if they couldn't live together, they would die alone. Richard could not have made the promise to his survivors to get them off the Island, but he could assure them that working together would mean living. Jack eventually had to cope with the defection of John Locke and his adherents. Richard had to to deal with his own rebellious faction or secessionists. Whether that group remains within the main body of the Inhabitants lives separately is an unanswered question. Richard and his band became the Island's "original" Inhabitants. The Inhabitants came to be known as The Hostiles by DHARMA and as The Others by additional arrivals. Under normal circumstances, Richard is a deputy to the leader of the Inhabitants. He is, above all, an inveterate first mate.
  • Richard came to the island on the Black Rock as one of the slaves they were transporting. He could have been a priest or other kind of advisor (which explains his prominence among the Others, but his reluctance to lead). Jacob is now using him as the "all-time quarterback" so to speak. As revealed in The Incident, Jacob is the one causing him to never age. He is doing so in order to preserve him as the island advisor to the Leader.
    • This is also supported by the nemesis' line: "Hello, Richard. It's good to see you out of those chains"
  • Richard Alpert was the first mate of the black rock. His character is based on Albert Richardson, the real life first mate on the Mary Celeste, a merchant ship famously discovered in 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and apparently abandoned, in spite of the fact that the weather was fine and all crew had been experienced and able seamen.
  • In ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2"), Richard is referred to by Ilana as 'Ricardus'. This suggests he is more ancient than the Black Rock (the year 1845), and probably as ancient as the Roman Empire.
    • This could just be because the Others speak Latin to each other. Richard seems to view 'Ricardus' as an unnecessary formality, rather than his actual name.
  • Richard is seen making a ship in a bottle in the episode ("Follow the Leader"). This hobby is inspired by his time spent on the Black Rock.

Richard is a representative for Jacob/The Island's will

Richard doesn't have any executive power, like Ben or Eloise and Widmore had. That's why Ben calls him "advisor", instead of leader. Also, the fact that Richard isn't aware of everything that's going on, shows that he isn't the mastermind of the Island. Richard is rather chosen by Jacob to teach and advise new leaders, so that these leaders will follow the Island's/Jacob's will.

Richard is of medieval European origin

  • In "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2", Ilana addressed Richard as "Ricardus;" Richard corrected her. However, given the fact that Ricardus is a Latinized version of the Germanic name Richard, her use of the Latinized version would indicate that Richard was originally a medieval European who lived in the time after the fall of the Roman Empire to the Germanic tribes, but when Latin was still commonly spoken as either a native language, lingua franca, or liturgical language.
  • Richard Alpert is the 13th century European ambassador to the Mongols and Latin translator known as Rychaldus, who was also called Richardus, or Ricardus, the name Ilana addressed him as. No one knows the ultimate fate of the historical Rychaldus. At some point, Jacob took notice of his diplomatic skills and enticed him to come to the island to work for him, and he essentially vanished from the outside world.This would explain Richard's status as an emissary between Jacob, the Others, and other groups; He was specifically chosen to live on the island because of his skills and career. It would also explain his fluency in Latin, and eventually it will be revealed that he is proficient in East Asian languages, just like the real Rychaldus.

Richard was not always adviser to The Others

  • Much like the position of Leader, at one point the position of Adviser was rotating and there was a careful process to determine the holder. At an unknown time in the past, Richard was made the permanent adviser, and thus granted agelessness by Jacob. The position of Leader will eventually become permanent, but Richard and Jacob are still trying to find someone.


  • The Island is rife with ancient egyptian hieroglyphs and architecture, which suggests that at least some Egyptians lived on the Island before. Jacob's Nemesis mentions that there is a cycle in which people come to the Island, corrupt and destroy, and the Egyptians may have been one of these groups -- possibly the first. It is mentioned several times that Richard has been around for a very long time, usually with emphasis on "very". 150 years -- since the Black Rock -- is a long time, but perhaps not long enough to qualify as very long. References to Richard being like a vizier of sorts could be a reference to his Egyptian origins. He could have learned Latin and English in his probaby several thousand year existence, even enough to speak without a foreign accent. You could say he also vaguely looks egyptian (enough for television), complete with dark eyelashes, even if those are it's own! Actually he uses a corrector to lighten the darkness of his eyelashes (An epic day with Richard Alpert). And, by the way, Richard Alpert stands for RA...
  • The Ra correlation seems more than coincidental.
  • An alternate theory of identity, in light of Smokey-Locke's comment about Richard being in chains, is Richard is Apep. That seems rather straightforward for this show but fits with the Egyptian mythos already put into play. In Egyptian mythology, for thousands of years, perhaps a million depending on the version, Set slew Apep every night in the underworld and Set, which is the likely identity of Smock, was his arch-enemy. That could be why Richard said, "YOU!" and why Set quickly, violently dispatched him with no hesitation. Also at some point in the mythology Apep joined in an attack on Ra and was sent to the underworld then bound in chains by the children of Horus. This fits Smock's line about it being good to see Richard out of those chains. If Apep was able to take on human form, the chains could disappear. It also fits Richard continually serving Jacob and saying he is ageless because of Jacob.
  • The island has a lot of dead people represented on it but that doesn't make it the underworld.
  • Horus might be represented on the island as Jacob but who represents his children, including Sekhet, who is responsible for guarding Apep?
  • According to some versions Apep mocks Set due to his defeat at the hands of Jacob, and Apep working for Horus might be a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but there don't seem to be any direct links between Horus and Apep in Egyptian mythology.
  • It's difficult to discern if Lost is using Apep as separate from Set or as a combined entity, as Set was eventually viewed after his "demonization." In earlier mythology, Set was almost given all of Egypt because of his services to Ra killing Apep. Later, Set was seen as so evil that Apep and Set were one and the same.

The Padme Amidala Theory

  • In Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, we found out partway through the Queen was a decoy. A fake Queen was put in place to protect the true Queen who was acting as a simple handmaiden to the fake Queen. Padme the handmaiden later revealed she was the true Queen of Naboo. With this said Richard Alpert is the TRUE leader of the island. Jacob is simply a puppet or second in command to protect Richard's true nature, the fact he rules the island & has tons of power we didn't know. This is why Richard plays a prominent role but still remains in the shadows as to not reveal everything. This is why Illana came to Richard, she was ordered by Jacob to find the true leader of the island. Also this is why Jacob summoned the Black Rock.....nobody could easily return to the island back then so Jacob used his powers, given to him by Richard to summon the ship which was carrying Alpert. Even recently the teaser poster for the 6th season had hidden hyrogliphics in the text which translated to "Who is the true leader?" This is why, in season 6, the killing of Jacob will not matter as the true leader of the island will be revealed as Richard Alpert, making his a main cast member.

Also in LA X Richard says to Illana "Just because you asked what lies is the shadow of the statue doesn't mean you're in charge." Illana replies "Then who is?" "Richard" is the next thing said, by Ben

    • To help support this theory even more, there have been many Star Wars references on LOST in previous episodes.

He is just as we see him 40 years old

  • Richard does age it has just been that every time we have seen him he has been in the same time scope. Richard could very well be from the year 100 AD (just an example year) and is able to skip through time like Locke&Sawyer's group did, but control when he is around. This falls apart when you consider that nearly every other around him has a very strong "relationship" to him, but it may still be possible. We have seen Sawyer's group go back to a time of the statue in place (Jin saw this) so anything is possible.

Was a Slave Aboard the Black Rock

  • Near the end of part 2 of 'LAX', Jacobs Nemesis says "Richard, good to see you out of those chains" just before knocking him out. Obviously, a slave on a slave ship would probably be kept in chains or shackles. MattC867 07:07, February 3, 2010 (UTC)
    • This theory is absurd. Why would Flocke want to talk about the Black Rock at that moment? It's quite obvious that Flocke means Jacob, when he is talking about the chains. Jacob is dead, Richard has been his loyal servant for a very long time and as we know, Flocke hates Jacob, so he would think that serving Jacob is like being in chains.
      • Probably meant it in both aspects. That chain comment seemed to be the key to Richard knowing who had taken John Lockes' form.
        • He might have been a slave, but not necessarily came to the island on the Black Rock. Let's not forget that most ancient civilizations had slaves, and Richard might have been originarlly from one of them.
  • Jacob's nemesis could have seen Richard in chains on the Black Rock chronologically right after he and Jacob talk about the arriving boat at the beginning of 'The Incident'. That is, if the boat is the Black Rock. And there is the possibility that Richard was not a slave, since most slaves at the time of the Black Rock were African. Instead, he could have been a prisoner, perhaps after starting a mutiny.
        • Not exactly false the chains could be that he was a prisoner or slave and he sided with Jacob and not the DN and this is the first time the DN has seen Richard since being "freed".

Biblical Theory

  • Richard could represent Joseph, son of Jacob in the Hebrew Bible. Joseph was sold into slavery (Flocke made the chains comment to Richard), but then later became Pharaoh of Egypt.
In the Bible, Joseph actually became second in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt.


  • Richard is Prometheus, or a Prometheus-like being. This explains the chains, and why he doesn't age. Also, this would mean he is of European origin, as stated elsewhere above.

Life status

  • We know that Richard doesn't age due to Jacob making him that way. That does not mean he can not be killed. He is concerned about Ellie having shot Daniel for reasons we do not yet know. Even allowing for the ability to survive a gunshot based his own vitality and the Island's power to heal, he still would not look forward to the pain involved. Richard is mortal, but he knows that he will be involved in things that will happen in the future. At a minimum, he knows he will find John Locke in the jungle, heal his leg and give him the compass, so he knows he will not die this time shot intentionally by Daniel or unintentionally by Ellie.
    • Richard never knew anything about later finding Locke in the jungle to give him the compass. He's not even sure if Locke will be important, or that he wasn't lied to.
    • Richard is mortal, however he was destined to die of old age. For this reason, Jacob used his 'healing powers' (which we have seen him use on Locke) to stop him from aging.
  • Jacob gave Richard the ability to not age. Now that Jacob is dead, Richard will either age normally, or age rapidly.
  • Juliet asserts that Richard is "very old." He is older than everyone on the island except possibly Jacob and his nemesis.
  • The Island/Jacob granted Richard his agelessness only for one reason - so he would remember all of the events that took place 50 or whatever years ago, that involved time-travelers. If Richard was aging, "Locke" would never be able to use his time-traveling to his advantage.
    • Richard said he doesn't age because Jacob made him that way. Now that Jacob is dead, Richard will begin to age again.
      • Just because Jacob is dead does not mean everything he ever did will be undone. Clearly, Jacob's influence is still important as Hugo spoke to him after he died.
  • The island produces an endless supply of Botox, which Richard clearly benefits from.
    • The island's botox is perhaps a perfected version that, not only makes you look younger, but it also let's you live longer.

The items

See Richard's items/Theories


  • Richard will serve in the elder statesman role, educating and guiding John Locke. If the Island becomes unhappy with Locke's leadership, Richard will perform that same duty for the next chosen one.
  • Richard will eventually pass away once Locke's regime is fully realized. Indeed, his purpose for the Island - the reason the Island has kept him alive - is to establish Locke as the Island's leader. Richard has, to our knowledge, been in charge of appointing all of the Other's/Hostile's leaders, and he has found the exact one he's been looking for in Locke.
  • Once the island is saved at the end of Season 6 Richard will become mortal and live out his days on the will-be-Jacob&Esau-less island either alone or as the leader of the surviving Others.
  • Richard has no future. Richard is dead. Flocke judo chopped his neck to death and moments later we witness Sayid reviving seemingly out of nowhere. This is the reason Sayid will have his revenge and takes his spot amongst the LOST supper.


  • He is beyond good and evil. His interest is in protecting the island and that's all he cares about. He will gladly save everyone on the island if it means saving the island itself and he would gladly kill everyone on the island if it protected the island. He is willing to work for people without morals provided they work towards protecting the island. Richard didn't turn against Charles and Ben because they became evil. He did so long after that. He began moving against them once they took the island and its rules for granted. Richard shouldn't be viewed through the lens of good or evil. Ben, Charles and Locke all have their agendas. So does Richard. He has been charged with finding and advising the leaders of the island. Once that leader upsets the applecart and tries to go against the islands rules then that leader must go. He has been granted the miracle of immortality to serve a purpose and he thinks that purpose is a noble one. He just does his job. A job that was given to him by Jacob. Richard for all his crimes lacks the character flaw Charles, Ben and Locke share... ego. Richard is willing to be subservient to serve the best interests of the island.
  • Richard's gift of immortality was given with the condition he remains an advisor both to the leader and to Jacob. Therefore he struggles with following leaders he doesn't respect nor like (Ellie, Ben) because he knows that if he should stop following them he will lose his eternal life.
  • Richard for all his immortality doesn't seem to be much of anything. He doesn't come off as all knowing, as a good leader and he certainly isn't fearless. This whole season we've seen how little Richard knows about anything. He can't communicate with Jacob, all of his insight in John Locke's past is based on things John has told him through time travel and nothing more. For all his immortality he doesn't actually know that much about what is going on. Even his immortality isn't what it appears to be. He was clearly fearful of being shot by immortal would be less likely to flinch. He flinched because his life was in danger...he can be killed. Richard has survived as long as he is because he isn't a leader. He's the perfect follower. He's a flunky, a sidekick, a lackey whatever you want to call it. He doesn't take chances. The island has given him the task to follow the leader and he does so. He can't speak to or see Jacob. He can only find and aid the leaders who can. Richard survives because he's the island's perfect little stooge. He does whatever the island wants and that's all he does because he's too weak to be his own man and lacks the vision or ambition to do anything special.
    • Could not disagree with you more.
    • Because Richard has immortality from Jacob, if he did anything to betray his leaders, he would start to age again.
  • Richard trusts Locke 100%, due to his connection to the island. The person Richard doesn't trust is Ben: "Why is he here?" he says, and he wants to know how Locke really died, suspecting Ben. He was testing Ben with the "I think he's going to be trouble," and Ben can't resist making an ally over a common enemy and blurts out "that's why I tried to kill him." If Richard thinks Locke is trouble, he means it in good nature, for he seems fully intent on listening to him.
  • Richard has never chosen sides between Jacob and the MIB. He is a referee (for lack of a better term) in their game. He takes direction from Jacob (and MIB, which has yet to be seen) and tells the Leader of the Others. In other words, he explains the rules of the game to the players. (Rule = orders / Players = leaders) He is ageless like Jacob and his rival because he is part of this almost never ending game.

Richard knows about The Nemesis

  • When Ilana's team was headed to the Cabin, Bram told Frank they needed to show Locke's body to somebody, so "They'll know who they're up against." When they finally arrive at the Statue, Ilana asks for "Ricardus." If Richard didn't know about Jacob's Nemesis, He wouldn't know who he's up against when they'll show him Locke's body.
  • We saw in "The Cost Of Living" that The Others burn their dead during funerals. They know what happens to a body that's left unburied on the island. Someone had to tell them about it, and since most of them are not in contact with Jacob, it had to be Richard.
  • Although Jacob is able to walk around the island even though his body was burned.
  • Not in the same way. He can only be seen by Hurley
  • The chains referred to by the Man In Black may refer to a previously attempted mutiny of the Others involving Charles Widmore for which the he may have been involved. Charles Widmore remains a nemesis for Ben in a similar way that the Man In Black rivals Jacob.

The Richard Alpert That Met Young Ben Was Jacob's Nemesis

  • When young Ben went into the jungle and met a long haired Richard Alpert, this person was not Richard at all, but Jacob's nemesis, the man in black. The reasoning:
  • Richard goes from short hair in 1954, to long hair in 1974, to short hair in 1977 and beyond. The reason why is Richard having long hair is how Jacob's nemesis remembers Richard.
  • When young Ben comments to long haired Richard that he saw his dead mom, this causes the Nemesis to become interested in Ben and that's why he told him to be patient. Since the only thing Nemesis cares about is "going home", he takes an interest in Ben because to go home, he has to kill Jacob and to do that, he needs a loophole. The ability to see dead people may be the hallmark of that loophole.
  • Except in 1977 when Kate and Sawyer bring young Ben to the others, Richard recognizes him, and thereafter brings him to the temple.

So Ben becomes his focus for manipulation to bring to the point at the end of season 5 where he kills Jacob. (Which is also interesting, as Hurley can see dead people. Is he the loophole that can kill the Nemesis?).

  • The point to be made is Ben has been manipulated since day one by the Nemesis to kill Jacob and that day one was in the jungle that night.
  • This is a very cool theory but the MIB has technically never been seen to show himself as living people - so we do not know that he has that ability - as far as we know, currently, his ability is to display himself as people who have died already.


In "LA X, Parts 1 & 2", Man in Black mentions to Richard that he looked better in chains. Richard also says that he is "like this" because of Jacob. So, Richard was chained by the Man in Black. Jacob took pity on him, released him, and made him never aging/immortal.

  • What Locke/MIB actually said was "It's good to see you out of those chains, Richard.", seemingly implying that the last time MIB saw Richard, he was in chains. Or the statement could have been symbolic, meaning that Richard was no longer subservient to the recently deceased Jacob. (I.E. Jacob's death = Richard's freedom)

This article uses material from the "Richard Alpert/Theories" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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