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‘Tenet’: What We Know (And Don’t Know) About Christopher Nolan’s Next Film

Tenet, Christopher Nolan

This summer, Christopher Nolan is back with a film starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson called ‘Tenet’. Here’s what we know (and don’t know) about the movie so far.

Look anywhere for details regarding Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming epic ‘Tenet‘ and you’ll hit a roadblock. The most information you’ll get is that it’s an action thriller revolving around espionage. Even one of the film’s stars, Robert Pattinson, was prevented from keeping a copy of the script prior to shooting in fear of details getting out. According to an interview that appeared in USA Today last April, Pattison said, “I got locked in a room to read the script – I don’t have it myself.”



Thankfully, the official trailer gives us a few more details regarding the movie. Namely that it will follow in line with prior Nolan films in its examination of space and time. Pay close attention to the title of the film, ‘Tenet’, and you’ll notice that the word is a palindrome (a word or phrase that reads the same backward and forwards). In watching the trailer, you’ll see this theme is repeated throughout.

The theme first appears in the trailer when the yellow ship seems to be traveling in rewind (1:10). It occurs again when a man in SWAT gear slides backward on the floor (1:24), and again during the car sequence (1:31), and yet again at the end of the trailer, when Pattinson’s character asks, “What the hell happened here?” John David Washington‘s character replies, “It hasn’t happened yet,” before another man in SWAT attire bursts through the doors in reverse.

Given how these events transpire, the world seems to tread forward for Pattinson and Washington, while the events surrounding them travel backward.

Like I said, the film looks to be quite a trip.

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Here’s what we know about ‘Tenet’

The cast for the film includes some Christopher Nolan veterans, like Michael Caine who will make his 8th appearance in a Nolan film, and Kenneth Branagh who also appeared in ‘Dunkirk’.

‘Tenet’ will feature the aforementioned son of Denzel Washington and ‘BlacKkKlansmen’ star John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. It will also include ‘A Million Little Pieces’ star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a ballerina turned actress in Elizabeth Debicki, and veteran Bollywood star Dimple Kapadia who has 88 other films on her resume.

We also know that the film was shot entirely with IMAX cameras and 70mm, which will provide audiences with enhanced visuals (wider shots) and sound.

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Questions we still have

When the teaser for the film dropped during screenings of ‘Hobbs & Shaw’, audiences were treated to a first look at the film filled with even more clues. These clues prompted many to wonder whether ‘Tenet’ is a sequel to ‘Inception‘, Christopher Nolan’s dream heist epic.

What folks, like Kyle Kizu of The Hollywood Reporter point to are themes in Nolan’s prior films in which the hero torch is being passed on to the future. In analyzing this, Mr. Kizu poses the question, “Could those kids [Cobb’s kids in ‘Inception’] have grown up to look like Debicki and Pattinson? In watching and rewatching the trailer, they kind of do.

Kizu and others have also pointed to not so subtle messages posed in the teaser to determine whether ‘Tenet’ is ‘Inception’s’ sequel. “Time has come for another protagonist,” Kizu claims the teaser states, “time has come for a new kind of mission.”

If we’re looking into the future world posed in ‘Inception’, could the government have developed new technology that allows people to travel backward?

I guess we’ll have to wait until July 17, 2020 (10 years and 1 day after the release of ‘Inception’) to find out.

Having grown up in Washington Heights, a small Dominican neighborhood just one mile away from Yankee Stadium, Manny is a life-long Yankees fan. He began pursuing his passion for writing about baseball in March 2018 when he co-founded a small baseball media company called Welcome to THE SHOW. Manny is also a contributor at Call to the Pen. Follow Manny on twitter @MannyGo3.

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