Alternate Interstellar Movie Theories and Explanations
Interstellar is a mindjob of a movie made by one of the greatest movie creators in Hollywood today, Christopher Nolan. IMDB
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I have been really slow to get my Interstellar act together.  Mainly that was because I was so blooming disappointed with Christopher Nolan’s latest movie.  After walking out of this one I was certain that everything I’d thought about the brilliant director was wrong.  Maybe I had given him the benefit of the doubt when I shouldn’t have with regard to The Prestige?  Could it be that Nolan’s Memento was actually just a fluke?!?  And if that’s the case, then maybe our good buddy Chris had completely screwed the pooch on Inception, but we just didn’t know it?!

To say the least, I was pretty rattled.  The last third of this movie was just so completely terrible that I couldn’t actually wrap my brain around it.  Just disjointed and unexplainable.  There was so much Deus Ex Machina going on that it was unjustifiable.  So I just had to go away for a while and pound my head against the wall a few times.  Think and reflect on what I had just seen.  Because if face value is what we are left with we have a pretty crappy movie on our hands.  Just awful.  So I read blogs, went back and reviewed some of our conversations and debates on other movies here at th-inc.  And eventually light bulbs starting turning on randomly on a variety of different possibilities and ideas.  But then one key idea came to me after reading a few mind blowing reviews and I haven’t slowed down since.

First though.  Please know that this post isn’t a spoiler proof review of the movie.  It isn’t actually a review of the movie at all.  It is in fact a spoiler filled diatribe of all the ins and outs of the movie for the sake of discussion and argument down below in the comments section.  This site is pretty well known for its Christopher Nolan arguments and debates.  At the time of this writing in all of my Nolan movie posts we are already upwards of over 850 comments.

interstellar-snippet

Interstellar Movie Plot Overview

So you all know the movie plot overview already.  Right?  But heck, if we can’t get on the same basic page then we won’t be able to converse at all about the more complicated pieces later.  So let’s walk through the overview and make sure we are all playing from the same sheet of music.

When we arrive on the scene at the beginning of Interstellar we are presented with an Earth that is in a bad way. Our home planet has been decimated by an environmental catastrophe of global proportions.  Crops are failing and our hope of feeding the entire planet is wearing thin.  Soon after the start of the movie Cooper, a former NASA pilot turned farmer, mysteriously discovers the coordinates to a top secret government project.  Apparently NASA was not moth-balled like the government said it was, and they were working on utilizing a recent worm hole that had appeared in hopes of colonizing a new planet.

In order to find a suitable planet though, Cooper was needed to go and find which of the planets they had found during previous explorations would be a best hope for their future.  So Cooper leaves his children behind with their Grandfather, promises to return, and sets out for the stars.

interstellar2

Interstellar Space Travel Explained

One of the trickiest aspect of the movie Interstellar is definitely the various aspects surrounding space travel.  We have the long jump of space travel that is given via the wormhole.  We are also given smaller time jumps with regards to distance and proximity to the wormhole once inside.  The hardest physics to understand is the wormhole business, but its the simplest within the movie. Apparently there is even a formulat to explain and account for this sort of time dilation that we see playing out throughout the film:

\Delta t=(1/\sqrt{1-V^2/c^2} )\Delta t'

The concept of time relativity via good ‘ol Einstein definitely could keep you up at night trying to understand the detailed implications to the movie.  Here is a diagram that shows how the wormhole jumps work.  Its similar to the explanations we are given within the movie as well.

interstellar-wormhole

I think that bit is obvious – though impossibly complicated.  No?  Enter wormhole, exit through a fold in space somewhere else.  But what about the movie?  What actually happened in the movie?!?

The Literal Interstellar Theory

INTERSTELLAR-INFOGRAPHIC-TIMELINE

This is the theory that I had to wrangle with the longest, and it is the theory that I just gagged on when I walked out of the movie theater.  The basic gist (which I’ve included a timeline flow of on the right – but you are going to HAVE to click it to make sense of it) of this theory walks through like this.

Young Murphy cleverly finds the location of the NASA outpost.  Cooper and Murph head there.  Cooper is recruited for this mission and Brand ‘n Cooper head off to the great beyond.  They both enter the wormhole.  They head to Mann’s planet and all kinds of badness happens.  Mann basically sabotages the mission in hopes of getting picked up.

Cooper and Brand learn that Plan A was a farce just to help fund Plan B (The Noah’s Ark approach).  Cooper decides to make a play now for Edmonds’ planet – but is still holding out hope for Plan A.  They send TARS into the blackhole (Gargantua) in order to translate the gravity data and hopefully help solve the equation.  Cooper then decides to sacrifice himself in order to help Brand get to Edmond. But Cooper somehow then survives the void of space and is picked up by Gargantua.

The tesseract scoops Cooper up into the singularity and he is then inhabiting 5th dimensional time and space – which manifests itself with Cooper confined/interacting with the bookshelf in his old house.  The tesseract enables Cooper to spell out a message to himself  which says, “S-T-A-Y” by pushing books off of Murph’s shelf.  He is also able to send map coordinates to Murph by spreading dust across the floor (in binary).  But more importantly, the tesseract and its 5th-dimensional gravitationally induced communications allows Cooper to manipulate the hands of Murphy’s watch and send her the equations that TARS acquired with morse encoded watch ticks.  Dot-dot-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot-dash-dot…  This information on her watch is all the information that Murph needs to dramatically advance humanity’s understanding of space and time – as well as complete Plan A.

So, somehow, this disproportionate relativity magically – whoops, I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself – eloquently, allows Cooper to survive his drift through space and reunite with Murph.  Murph know is something like 123 years and had to be de-thawed from her cryo chamber in order to meet her now much younger father.  Cooper looks around him and sees nothing at all worth living for what with the earth dead, and what not, and the fact that Murph will soon die.  Never mind that his son is already dead. Murph reminds Cooper that Brand is just now beginning to setup plan B on Edmonds’ planet.  His planet is in fact inhabitable, but Edmonds’ himself did not survive the landing. Which leaves us with a damsel in distress and a Brand alone at the colonization site.  Cooper decides he’s going to find her.  Fade to black.

So, if you’ve already read through my entire infographic you know what’s coming next. Inevitably, Brand and Cooper setup shop on Edmonds’ planet.  They are through the wormhole, so their perspective on time is way way faster than the humans circling earth now. And now, this theory begins to get fuzzy.  They solve the problems of gravity and the fifth dimension on their own, or they procreate (or have children, one or the other) and their children, in generations past, solve the problem. Regardless, someone creates a tesseract that will allow Cooper to speak backwards in time with himself, and Murph, and save him and the people of earth from perishing forever.  It is out of this Plan B thread that comes the ability to manipulate time and space and make the leap backwards in time for Cooper.  Make sense?  Nope. I didn’t think it would, because it doesn’t make sense for me either.

Problems With The Literal Interstellar Theory

You mean, there are problems with the literal theory, other than its completely and totally full of crap?  You mean, other than that?  Gah.  When I left the theater, I was like, do what?!  Oh I got the time travel.  I got the looping logic of it all.  But you are telling me that Cooper jumps overboard to give Brand a fighting chance at her love, and also a final chance at keeping the human race alive in the Plan B Noah’s Ark approach, and not only does he not die, but he also saves the day with PLAN A?!  What?

The mood of this movie is somber.  It is brilliant.  It is thoughtful and heartfelt.  It is really really pitch perfect for an end of the world movie.  This is not an Independence Day rendition of the end of the world apocalypse happening here. No no.  In this movie this ending given to us with the literal view is not even worth thinking about for another minute.  So drop it please.  Just forget trying to work this out.

But if you are wanting a “REAL” reason to drop it other than it makes zero sense I can give you a couple. Like for example the fact that Cooper is picked up in space “with only a second of oxygen left”… holy lottery ticket Batman!  No. The proponents of the Literal Theory would have you believe that the “disproportionate gravitational conflux” – EH? is what kept him alive.  No, no. He is through the wormhole.  He is back on the standard side of time.  He is drifting through space just like we would.  You can’t say that it “seemed” like he was drifting through space for seconds, but actually it was years and years as I have seen some people argue.

Another problem I have with the Literal Theory, and this is very very significant – I’ll even give you the drifting through space lottery ticket, whatever – is the fact that Cooper is saved by Cooper so that Cooper won’t die, by a future Cooper that solves the 5th dimensional confluence of gravity.  Did you see it?

A —- AX

A —- A(A1) — A —- A1

Cooper is A, and in the top timeline, Cooper dies.  He needs to be saved.  He needs someone to show up just in time.  So the bottom timeline shows the future self coming through with a tesseract just when he needs it to save himself from dying. This cannot happen, because he died.  Right?  Time travel all you want. Unless it is some other entity intervening, Cooper dies. But Nolan makes it pretty clear that Cooper is his own grandpa.  No no, wait.  That’s not it. Cooper is his own savior.  (That one sentence is enough to make me hate the movie.)

But its a paradox, and time travel solves and creates these types of paradoxes all the time, I hear you yelling at the screen.  My response is, if you don’t survive to create time travel, you cannot save yourself through time travel.  It is illogical.  (I know, and I hate Star Trek.)

5th Dimension Equates to All Possible Realities

One thing I’m hearing a lot is this idea of the fifth dimension representing all the possible alternate realities, and ways things could have played out.  If you have no clue what string theory is, here’s a real quick primer.  One of the initial theories to propose this was the Kaluza-Klein theory which theorized the 5th dimension was a circular, wrapped up, configuration.  Leave earth along this 5th dimension plane in a straight line, and eventually you’d up back where you started from.  The Kaluza-Klein theory basically stated that general relativity was the same, but with the added dimension overlay of electromageticism giving it this circular configuration.

So, obviously this was just a simple start to the world of string theory.  We aren’t given a theory with a many-worlds output.  String-Theory is famous for its positing of the fact that there would be many earths, with many different possible outcomes.  In this one life started.  In that one, life didn’t.  In the next one an asteroid destroyed the planet entirely.  This concept of string theory came along and took the Kaluza-Klein theory and wrapped it into their many-world theories.  So the two have become pretty intertwined.

Stephen Hawking is probably the most well known physicist to champion the world of string theory.  He has been fairly vocal in saying that, “M-theory is the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe.”  So, what many have theorized is that Nolan’s perspective of the tesseract is simply a gateway or admin console that allows a 5th dimensional architect to interact and manipulate 4th dimensional time and space as well as interacting with all possible outcomes simultaneously.  These people posit that Cooper would not only be interacting backwards in time by manipulating gravitational waves in time but he would also be selecting various potential negative outcomes at will simply by choosing the strings that will forward the mission effectively and give the best possible outcome imaginable.  This theory would surmise that in an infinite 5th dimensional tesseract, Cooper will not only have the power to move in time and space, but also move cross strings infinitely.

All Possible Realities Faults

The key defense against the Literal Theory (LT) is the same defense for the All Possible Realities (APR) theory. Which is that Cooper dies before he is even allowed the chance to escape the 3rd and 4th dimensions. He would need a time machine BEFORE he dies in order to solve his getting jettisoned into space not once but twice. But what is nice about this theory is that it tidies up a pile of inconsistencies in the movie by allowing Cooper to just pick his preferred ending as easily as picking the preferred setting on his microwave.  No.  This can’t possibly be the right solution.

Long Travel Theory 

This particular theory comes straight from the Reddit Deep Webs.  You can read wawa4life’s theory completely here as well as the larger community comments.

Most people, after seeing the movie, came to this conclusion: “How can there be a wormhole that the crew goes through in the first place if the only way NASA learns how to make a wormhole is by Cooper being in the black hole and relaying the data to Murph via the Tesseract? How did the initial wormhole come into existence?”

They do?  No WAY!  Oh, wait. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying here. Never mind. I’ll let wawa4life continue…

Well the answer is this:

“So imagine this scenario: Prof. Brand and the NASA team are trying to figure out Plan A but they can’t solve the equation. Originally there is no wormhole, and they are stuck on Earth as the blight is happening. Brand sends a team of astronauts and robots on a ship and travel to Gargantua without a wormhole (it just takes hundreds of millions of years). During this time they are in hibernation. They finally arrive on the planet, colonize, and send a probe into the black hole that relays the data to solve Plan A. After a long enough time of living on Gargantua, they evolve into 5D beings, and using the data from the probe in the black hole, they create the wormhole. Since it’s 5D, they can go back and change events (time is not linear anymore). They make the wormhole, place it near Saturn, and then the events in the movie play out as we see them. This way there isn’t a paradox, because the wormhole was not constructed out of thin air.

“This fits well with the movie’s tagline: “Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here”. Originally, mankind did die on planet Earth except for the select few that made it to Gargantua and colonized the remaining humans. It was only after evolving into 5D beings that they could go back and prevent mankind from perishing on Earth. The tagline is alluding to this theory because mankind did originally die on Earth, but eventually they went back after evolving to prevent mankind from dying on Earth in the first place.”

The Long Travel Theory Problem

I think I can debunk this theory in one sentence.  Just because a human is “hybernating” doesn’t mean their body will survive “millions of years”.  We allow this concept to go unchecked in a movie that utilizes it for 10, 20 or 30 years… but millions?  No.  Suspension of Disbelief shows up and rocks your world at that point.  No.  That isn’t going to fly I don’t think.  Not at all.  If we thought that hybernation could solve the problem of life longevity, I’m thinking we would have thrown all our resources at it already and solved this problem for once and for all.  I mean, infinite life?  Hello!

Well, NOW WHAT?!?

Alright. So if the movie’s literal theory is fatally flawed and can’t be fixed by using M-string theory, or any sort of long travel theory, then what do we do?  What we need to do is clean up that crazy infographic timeline I gave you so that we can actually understand what the literal theory actually looks like, so that when I tear it to shreds it will make sense.  So here, try this on for size:

Interstellar-Literal-Explanation

 The Post Mortem Theory

The only way that I make sense of Nolan’s movie Interstellar is actually a fairly simple explanation.  When Cooper jettisons himself to give Brand the help she needs to make it to Edmonds’ planet and he is adrift in space… remember that moment?  Yeah, Cooper dies.  From that moment on, everything we see in the movie is a vision that Cooper has as he’s dying. His getting picked up by the tesseract, the interactions with Murph, and meeting Murph again at the space station, heading off to find Brand?  All a dream.  These are all manifestations of a guilty conscience as he realizes the fact that he has failed his daughter and is attempting to make sense of it all.

I hear you crying FOUL! at the top of your lungs. Oh yeah? Then explain to me the illogicalness of the movie.  Give me a theory that even makes half sense and I’m all about it.  But I’m sorry, this is the only possible sensible explanation.  Nolan talks about how he knows about every inconsistency in ever movie he makes and he’s ok with them because most people don’t notice.  But with Interstellar he has created a logical fallacy big enough to drive a truck through. And anyone dumb enough to not notice this big of a plot hole should have their movie watching rights revoked.  (Just saying. hah.)  Anyway, to more clearly illustrate what I’m talking about I have created two more charts, one shows the specific details of what never actually occurred because Cooper was dead.  And the second one shows the actual events that most likely occurred in the movie as a result.  (obviously, click them to inbiggify them)

Interstellar-explained-hes-dead
interstellar-what-really-happened-at-the-end-infographic

Walking through this is easier if you think through logically what cannot possibly happen.  I’m going to give the movie the wormhole.  Otherwise we just have nothing.  Zero movie.  But we have to say that it is a naturally occurring black hole that spontaneously appeared.  Never mind the fact that it should have eaten the sun and the earth, etc.  (Take a deep breath Taylor.  You can do this.)  So if NASA has sent in probes, and somehow, they were able to send back communication about the planets they’ve investigated we have propped the movie up enough to continue forward surmising.  Cooper and Brand enter the wormhole and arrive at Mann’s planet.  Mann sabotages their mission with his selfishness. Brand and Cooper get off the planet, but barely.  Cooper ejects and sends Brand on towards Edmonds’ planet.

Cooper is drifting in the void of space.  And then he dies there.  And in his dying he sees visions of a dreamed tesseract that allows him to communicate with Murph at various stages in her life. He dreams of leaving the tesseract and being picked up by a passing ship just before dying.  He has visions of keeping his promise to Murphy.  And then he imagines heading off to meet with Brand and helping her establish the colony of humans utilizing the ark – the Plan B.  This is all an oxygen deprived dream.  Or better yet, its a Jacob’s Ladder equivalent, of his releasing all the detritus of his life before being able to move on to the after life.

As Cooper is drifting dead through space, we need to swivel our focus now to Murphy.  Without the TARS data, which would only be communicable via the tesseract, Murphy would not have been able to solve the gravitational problems and colonize space with the current survivors of earth. So Plan A would have failed.  But what about Brand?  She would have arrived on Edmonds’ planet and would have grieved his death. She would have found it habitable, and then she would have established the ark and began the colonization process with the DNA of the Ark. So human life would have survived the failure of planet earth.

Oh I know there are weaknesses in this theory. But when you point them out, my answer is invariably going to be, explain to me your theory, and how it has fewer gaping holes in it than mine?  Hahah. No, seriously, I’ve been struggling with this damn movie since I first walked out of the theater. Normally I crank a movie review the night after I see it. But this one wasn’t like that at all. I struggled and struggled and struggled with it until I decided my first thought in the movie theater was all that was left. He’s dead, I said to the guy next to me.  Nope. He died long ago. And although I wish I could have come up with a better explanation to solve the problems with this movie, I could not.  Do you have a theory that I should include here? I want to hear about it below.  Tell me just how bad my theory sucks. I want one that I can really believe in.  Come on guys!  Give me something better!  And Benjamin, here’s a shout out to you for pushing me to finally get off my butt and get this done. And then pushing again!  haha.

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13 Responses

  1. Kenny

    Hey there Taylor,
    Thanks for publishing. To be honest, I’m going to have to watch the movie again (or more likely several times) before I can intelligibly respond to your post. In the meantime, all I can offer is: I, too, left the movie feeling letdown. I kept waiting for the mind-twisting moment (ala Memento, the Prestige, and Inception…well, it wasn’t so much one moment with Inception, but I’m counting the spinning top at the end), and it never happened. There was one point, towards the end of the movie, though I forget which part, where I thought to myself “It’s not going to end here, is it?” It didn’t, which was a relief. But I again sensed the end coming for the actual end, and I was hoping that wasn’t going to be the final scene. At the beginning of the movie, there was this concept of ghosts, and it was mentioned that Cooper was in a plane accident years earlier. I was hoping that the accident was going to tie into the movie and be part of the main theme, but it didn’t, unfortunately. But, I will have to watch it again before I can really pass judgment on it. The above was just my first-time watching, in the moment, reaction. For what it’s worth, Anne Hathaway did say this in an interview: http://www.etonline.com/movies/153431_anne_hathaway_reveals_how_long_it_took_her_to_understand_the_ending_of_interstellar/

    Reply
  2. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Kenny,
    Great link. I just got ahold of a story that talks all about how Jonathan originally intended for the ending to be completely different. Like, earth-shankingly, totally different. I’m going to do a post about it, and also tweak the ending of this post to reflect these details – but talk about a complete bolt on rewrite by Christopher. Wow. Makes everything make more sense now.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/jonathan-nolan-says-his-original-ending-to-interstellar-was-much-more-straightforward-20150319

    I’m betting that the ending you sensed was the disappointing originally ending that Jonathan intended for Spielberg to end with. But who knows. All I know is that the ending we got was broken… unless of course, Chris liked my ending best… which is that he died and dreamed up the ending we saw. Just saying. I do feel like there is a significant hole even there though. Going to have to timeline the ending even further to make certain. Hrmm.

    Reply
  3. Mr.X

    Hi Taylor!!
    I am sad to read that you were disappointed by Interstellar! Just like you, I expect the best from Nolan´s pictures: I was amazed by Memento, Inception, and I 100% agree with your interpretation of Prestige . So since this is Nolan we are talking about, I think we can both assume that:
    1- There is a logical explanation to the movie
    2- This explanation is not fed to the audience like Dr.Brand must have fed all those babies in Plan B (sorry but I had to)
    I mean, it was not like that in Inception, not in memento, and definitely not in Prestige with the unrelying narrators.
    YOUR THEORY:
    First, since I could not disagree more with you, let me know give you the only evidence I have to support your theory of the “dream/dead Cooper”. It is proved that in dreams people only can see places that we have already seen. Now, Cooper in his dream sees the baseball field we know he has been to, a hospital, the spaceship we has also been in, and of course his house which now is a museum of some kind!

    Reply
  4. Mr.X

    However, since Nolan put a big effort in talking about Love and Caring in the movie(which makes this the most “humanized” picture of him so far), I think that as an audience we are “dared to aim higher”. So, I don´t buy your interpretation ( being a possible one, tough!) and here´s my theory: Cooper died in timeline 1, but not in timeline 2. (And yes, there are to timelines! But I will get to that later!)
    So this is Timeline A:
    1- Cooper is asked to fly the Endurance by Prof Brand
    (He did not brought himself with the gravity dust stuff: he will do so in Timeline B ) (this is very plausible since Prof Brand said that Cooper was their best pilot and if he hadn´t show up they would use some amateurs “who only have flew in simulators”. Now, this would be a major plot hole. Of course they would contact their best former-pilot, Cooper).
    2- All the scenes of Murph seeing ghosts, the binary code of the coordinates, the books spelling “STAY” did not take place.
    3- Then all we saw in space took place. Brand went to Wolf´s world and Cooper and Tars entered the blackhole.
    4- TARS collected the data but could not send it to Brand and not even to Cooper. Because Cooper died in the blackhole, so did Tars (I think robots can they, can´t they?)
    5- Dr.Brand arrived wolf´s world and successfully populated the planet alone, Plan B basically.
    6- After millions, billions of years, the human race has evolved and is able to control Time as a new dimension, and this means that they can “manipulate time like we can climb a mountain”, and so they got to know how their existence begun: it was a sacrifice made by people in Planet Earth who were left to die. But now they can, and will make it right. Not by time travel, but by interfering in time/space like we see Cooper do in the final of the movie.
    7- the super-evolved humans by messing with time/space put the Tesseract in the end of the blackhole
    8- Cooper falls in the Tesseract. (Again: All that communication he had with Murph we see in the movie did not took place!)
    9- -Cooper realizes that he can interfere with Murphs´ room in any timeframe. So, he starts by spelling “STAY” so that he wouldn´t end in space eventually dying. He wanted the easy way out.
    10- -Cooper now spells the Coordinates in the dust in binary code, and also spells the data in the watch through binary code.

    Now Timeline B begins:
    1- Murph sees the dust and Cooper finds the coordinates, goes to Nasa…well basically it happens exactly as we seen in the picture until the part Cooper enters the black hole
    2- When he enters the blackhole he is rescued by the Earth Ship that is now coming to Dr.Brand´s planet, thanks to the data Cooper sent in the last event of Timeline A

    Evidence: The order that Cooper contacts with his daughter is crucial. First, Cooper wanted the easy way out by spelling “STAY”; then he realizes that it had no effect. Then Cooper said in the movie “This was not about trying to reach me, but trying to reach Murph” and he says that particular phrase while spelling the Coordinates in binary code! Meaning? That he didn´t need to reach himself because even if he didn´t put the coordinates in the dust, we would end up flying the ship anyway, he needed something more.
    So, if you are asking “how can Cooper be his own savior?”
    Answer: He wasn´t his own savior, Cooper gets to live when the Humans put the Tesseract in the end of the blackhole. And now that he is alive, he can interfere with the past events and instantly see the outcome. How? Because he can see everything that happened in murphs room in any timeframe he wants! And if you change the Action of an event you would change its Reaction. It´s simple, action-reaction logic which works in the physical dimensions, and time was now a physical dimension. So Cooper changed the events in order to Murph being able to save Earth and end up rescuing himself. It was basically like the String Theory that you mentioned in your post, Taylor. Just like I can add Olive oil to a bottle of water and see what´s the reaction instantly, Cooper could do it in the Teressact by communicating through gravity.
    Overall, this whole idea is based on something that there are endless possibilities to each event in life, and Cooper managed to selected the best one. This is not only the String Theory but also the MURPHY´S LAW: “It means that whatever can happen, will happen.” [actual quote from Cooper]

    Reply
  5. Jane

    Taylor,
    I totally empathize with your disappointment over the movie. But hey, are you seriously questioning the genius of Nolan’s previous films ?

    You are starting to wonder if Memento was a fluke ? I mean, look at your blog, for many years have you been discussing this masterpiece now ?

    SLOW DOWN…….

    Yes, Interstellar was a let-down, big time. It’s time to cut Nolan a slack. Just because someone’s a genius does not mean he can churn up a mind-blowing masterpiece every time he attempts something.

    Face it. Interstellar has no layers-of-meaning woven within. It is what is appears to be on the first viewing (Yes, I am sticking to my All-is-real theory as I already described on http://taylorholmes.com/2014/09/23/christopher-nolan-interstellar-movie-theories. Yes I am very pigheaded)

    If you need a better version, Christopher Nolan would be the best person to provide you that 🙂 You’ve been a loyal Nolan fan for so many years that I’d say he owes you one interview at least. Do write up a big piece once you get to meet him. We’re all waiting.

    Regards,
    Jane

    Reply
  6. Vox.Zeit

    My interpretation and random thoughts, spoilers ([email protected])…

    Murphy’s law: anything that can happen, will happen. This may be an indication towards the quantum mechanics theory of many worlds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

    This simply means that our daily actions, our faree will, creates multiple realities, multiple branches of existence, many worlds, multiverses.

    You could for instance be served tea and coffee, and elect with your free will to choose coffee; however, in an alternate branch, you picked tea. This creates two realities or branches. Hence, every action, every invocation of our free will leads to a creation of new a branch of parallel existence, leading to possibly infinite branching like a fractal.

    This choice making ability, this free will, which creates multiple branches of reality, can be illustrated as follows: http://rosettacode.org/mw/images/a/a3/Fractal_tree_bbc.gif

    In one branch, humanity suffers blight, the Earth is dying and extinction looms. In another branch, humanity has progressed, evolved and transcended above space and time.

    The transcended humanity, or referred to as “they”, are able to traverse time as a physical dimension.

    Like normal humanity, “they” are able to travel through space backwards and forwards, and in all other directions. However, the difference is that “they” can also travel to events in time whether backwards or forwards.

    This time-travel is not a literal one whereby previous events can be altered creating paradoxes. Rather, all events which can happen, have happened. Murphy’s law from this perspective has happened, not will happen.

    All possible potential branches of reality have occurred. All events across space and time as observable by “they” have already occurred, and are available for “they” to traverse; “they” are able to observe all branches.

    Since all possible events or outcomes, or branches of humanity are available for “they” to traverse, this implies that branching is in fact finite and not infinite. Therefore, normal humanity experiences limited free will as opposed to unlimited free will; i.e. choices are limited even though a certain route branches to transcending space and time.

    Since the branching of humanity and creation of many worlds is limited and finite, and since blight is threatening to destroy an entire branch of creation, “they”, decide to rescue normal humanity to ensure the continued branching of many worlds.

    Why would “they” want to create branching / many worlds?

    Well, “they” are humanity which stemmed from normal humanity in the first place from an earlier branch. Perhaps “love is the one thing that transcends space and time” and “they” desire to love?

    Perhaps “they” feel being alone and one is lonely —perhaps the ‘one’ requires the ‘many’ to express love? Many and one have several themes —many worlds via quantum mechanics, many outcomes explained by Murphy’s law, and quite literally many worlds visited; i.e. Miller/Mann/Edmunds.

    Nature is created and manifested in fractal branching patterns (http://www.miqel.com/fractals_math_patterns/visual-math-natural-fractals.html), by ill-executed actions of limited free will, normal humanity threatens destruction of a fractal branch which “they” decide to restore?

    More evolved, “they” have transcended time. If time is transcended, free will cannot exist. If time is a physical dimension which allows “they” to navigate to all events past, present and future; this presupposes all events have already occurred and “they” simply move from event-to-event, from one point in time to another.

    Everything that can happen, has happened. Therefore, “they”, even though evolved, no longer have free will to create further events, thereby are no longer able to create further branches of realities.

    Hence, the fractal branching stops for “they” due to no free will, and the fractal branching in a another route is also stopping due to blight. Perhaps, this is another motivation for “they” to rescue normal humanity to ensure continued evolution?

    But, if “they” have no free will, how are “they” able to create a rescue event? The rescue event is created by “they” in normal humanity’s branch of existence; i.e. placing of wormhole nearby Saturn, and a tesseract nearby/within Gargantua. Normal humanity then devises and pursues plans A and B.

    The tesseract placed in the bulk of normal humanity’s space-time allows Cooper, via gravitational messaging, to interact with normal humanity’s space-time. This interaction is expressed additionally with time as physical dimension on top of normal humanity’s branch so that Cooper is able to traverse and message normal humanity’s space-time events.

    Continued evolution may be a theme: “Mankind was born on Earth, it wasn’t meant to die here” / “We’re explorers, not caretakers” / etc. “Our destiny lies above us” may also elude to predestination, hence themes of free will.

    Reply
  7. Dissembly

    I think you conflate “wormhole” and “black hole” once or twice up there – two very different objects. The strength of this as sci fi is it’s the first realistic depiction of either of those two objects that we’ve ever seen.

    I think the literal theory does make sense, unfortunately. There’s no timeline, no “run through”, where Cooper dies, and then gets corrected by future Cooper. That’s where your criticism breaks down. The idea is that the intervention from the future has always occurred. It’s a closed, self-consistent chain of cause and effect.

    The reason you don’t like it is because it has no prime mover, no cause outside itself. Which is valid and a valid criticism of the storytelling (it’s just a complicated Deus ex Machina), but not physically illogical or inconsistent.

    My biggest problem with Interstellar is how terrible the writing was, how cold and inhuman the characters are, how politically unrealistic the future world is, and: how utterly unforgivable the portrayal of female characters is.

    The movie fails the Bechdel Test and simultaneously illustrates why the Bechdel Test is a good rule of thumb.

    Brand gives a totally scientific, rational reason for choosing Edmunds planet over Manns. Cooper gives an irrational, unscientific, dumb reason for choosing Manns. Does the movie lampshade this as an example of Cooper foolishly trusting a guys reputation over a logical, coherent argument? No, instead it has Brand turn around and say “You’re right! I’m illogical because I’m a WOMAN and I’m in LOVE! But maybe FEELINGS are what matters! If only you MEN could learn that!”

    I may have paraphrased. It’s such an unforgivably sexist scene, if you saw it in a movie from the 1960s you’d chuckle at how naive screenwriters used to be.

    The movies take her side in the end, yes, but it’s the side of irrationality, explicitly represented by womanhood. Women and their judgement clouding emotions! My gosh, what a twist if they turned out to be right!

    The progress of science back on Earth, utterly unbelievable. The giant centrifuge NASA base – why would you even build that on the ground? Ridiculous. The behaviour of every character – none of them acted like believable humans, except for Dr Mann. One of my favourite movie villains ever. Such pathos. If only there was a human character thematically opposing his panicked doomed bid to not die alone.

    So yeah. Terrible movie, but not for any of the logic in the plotting – for the unbelievably low quality script.

    Reply
  8. Arta

    This theory works too….

    Cooper has no kids, he is a NASA pilot, and not a farmer. When he is sent to Space with the other crew members; all the usual events happen except when he ejects out into Gargantua, he ends up dying, along with the people of Earth; while Brand pushes on to Edmunds’ planet. There she utilizes the population bomb and starts a colony. Many years in the future, those humans have now evolved into 5D beings. Because of this, they can see the past present and future. They see that Cooper was one of the original saviours and helped the human race to survive by ejecting, they decide they want to save him and the other humans from death. So they manipulate his fly by wire from the future causing him to crash. This results in him retiring from NASA, marrying and having kids; one of which will be Murphy Cooper, a vital component of their plan. Skipping ahead to the blackhole part, he ejects but this time they pull him into their newly constructed Tesseract, thus saving him. This allows him to communicate with Murph, through the whole quantum physics morse code thing, resulting in her being able to lift the stations and save the people on Earth. You asked for a working theory and here you have one.

    Reply
  9. Carlo

    If what happens in the tesseract isn’t real, how do Cooper and young Murph receive the coordinates of the NASA outpost in Murph’s room at the beginning of the movie? Murph doesn’t “cleverly find the location”, Tesseract-Cooper writes its coordinates in the sand with gravity, so what happens in the Tesseract must be real. I think that the literal theory is the only one that makes sense: Cooper A reaches NASA outpost and goes to space only thanks to Cooper B who operates in the tesseract, but who gave Cooper B the coordinates of the NASA outpost, eventually making him go in the tesseract? The answer is: Cooper C, who was helped by Cooper D, who was helped by Cooper E and so on… it’s like wondering what gave origin to the Big Bang and what gave origin to what caused the Big Bang, and so on: in the end you just got to accept it happened 😀
    However, you say: “Cooper is saved by Cooper so that Cooper won’t die, by a future Cooper that solves the 5th dimensional confluence of gravity”. I don’t think this is correct: Cooper is saved by humanity after he saves humanity, the only instance in which he interacts with his past self is when he writes the NASA outpost coordinates. And if after the tesseract he died in space, everything would work the same (future humans discover the 5th dimension and create the tesseract, not future Cooper).
    (The fact that I think that the literal theory makes sense, doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s cheap sci-fi… but, apart from that, it’s a very good movie :))

    Reply
  10. Shelby

    I guess I was the only one on your blog who was absolutely mesmerized by Interstellar. I think one important note that Mr. X briefly mentioned is that the point of the film was about Love. The backdrop is space. Similar to Lost’s backdrop of a mysterious island when love/friendship was the point.

    With that in mind, Interstellar is known for being incredibly accurate (probably only 2nd to The Martian). I liked Mr. Ex’s string theory take on it, but it may not even be that complicated. Such a beautiful movie and I wish everyone had the experience I had because (without exaggerating) it had a profound effect on me. I feel bad that others didn’t have a similar experience!

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Shelby…
      Congrats on running the boards for all the big posts over the last couple years! hahaha. From my perspective, I have such enormous esteem for Nolan, that this was a bit of a logical let down. The continuity was flawed and the execution was iffy. But yes, I enjoyed the movie. There isn’t a Nolan movie I haven’t enjoyed.

      But if I could choose my favorite Nolan movies it would be The Prestige, Memento and Inception as three neck and neck finalists. I loved the emotion and the feel of Inception. But not the execution in every minute detail as his other homeruns. Just saying. But regardless, welcome!! Thanks for commenting… all the comments!

      Taylor

      Reply
  11. The 20 Best Time Travel Movies Ever

    […] is a mess to try and track from beginning to end. But I’ve done my best in several different posts here. But basically the gist of this movie is that mankind travels through a wormhole to find a solution […]

    Reply
  12. Vincent

    I also believe in the “death dream”. The whole ending sequence is just like a dream If you pay attention you might notice it. You have to re see it and pay attention to the details to onderstand this. I read earlier that it raises the question that how did his daugter then solves the equation. Well you will never know it for sure, its all a manifestation of his happy ending death dream. You can never survive falling into a black hole, go through the wormhole in another location and happens to be picked up at te other end where happens to be a huge space station in that exact location and have enough air also. Believe me if you re see this movie again with this in mind you all will understand and that’s why the Nolan brothers are a great team.

    Reply

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