• Sara D'Amico

Interstellar, Reimagined


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


For the record, I like Interstellar. A lot. It’s pretty much everything I want from a quest through the unknown to save humanity. But if you think about the plot too carefully, it leaves some questions to be answered. So I thought I'd take a shot at writing a different ending. One in which Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) doesn't get pulled into a tesseract, or have a heartfelt reunion with Murph (Mackenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain/Ellen Burstyn) only to have her basically tell him to bug off.


The new ending picks up at a critical juncture in the film, where Cooper is about to sacrifice himself (and Ranger 2) so that Brand (Anne Hathaway) has enough fuel and supplies to make it to Edmund’s planet and set up a colony. Some of the dialogue or action descriptions that repeat from earlier parts of the film (you’ll see what I mean) are taken from the Nolans’ script. Not trying to plagiarize here. The rest is original content.


Without further ado, I give you: Interstellar, Reimagined.

We’ll start off with the Nolans’ script, to get us situated:


EXT. ENDURANCE - DAY


As Lander 1 FALLS back towards Gargantua, Ranger 2’s engines DIE OUT . . .


INT. RING MODULE, ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Case registers the burnout.


CASE

Ranger 2, prepare to detach -


Brand looks up, SHOCKED -


BRAND

NO!


She UNBUCKLES -


CASE

On my mark -


FLIES to the window looking onto Cooper -


BRAND

What are you doing!


CASE

Three . . .


INT. COCKPIT, RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


Cooper looks across at Brand.


COOPER

Newton’s third law - you have

to leave something behind.


CASE

(over radio)

Two . . .


INT. RING MODULE, ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Brand pushes her helmet up against the window.


BRAND

You told me we had enough power -


CASE

One . . .


INT. COCKPIT, RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


Cooper looks at her, fondly -


COOPER

Hey, we agreed - ninety percent.


CASE

(over radio)

Mark . . .


Cooper reaches for the button. Takes one last look at Brand - inside her helmet, Brand is crying, zero-G tears catching in her eyelashes like melted snowflakes.


Cooper hits the button. But the word catches in his throat -.


COOPER

Detach -


EXT. ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Ranger 2 DROPS AWAY from the Endurance . . .

EXT. GARGANTUA - CONTINUOUS


Ranger 2 speeds towards the looming black hole. Sparks bounce off the hull. It seems to be getting longer and flatter; it’s SPAGHETTIFYING.


INT. COCKPIT, ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Brand shakes her head to clear the tears blurring the plastic bubble of her helmet, CHOKING on a sob. A CRACKLE comes through the radio, and Cooper’s voice cuts through the silence.


COOPER

Tell Murph . . .


He can’t finish.


BRAND

I’ll tell her you were

ninety percent a hero.


Cooper’s CHUCKLE is transmitted in chunks. The radio cuts out.


INT. COCKPIT, RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


COOPER

Stage three . . . SEPARATION.


INT. COCKPIT, ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Brand salutes into the void. Outside the cockpit window, Ranger 2 stretches. Flames lick the sides of the craft. Brand CRIES OUT as she sees Ranger 2 explode into fragments.


INT. RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


Cooper grips his seat. Watches a curvature of darkness creep up the cockpit window, SQUEEZING the visible universe into curved lines, like dust settled into the grooves of an old record.


Stars SPIN rapidly to the sides of the window, creating a tunnel of time and space. The star-tunnel grows smaller and smaller. Then -- nothing.


INT. RANGER 2 - DARK


COOPER

Tars. Do you copy?


TARS

Indeed.


COOPER

What’s going on out there?


TARS

Not a ‘hole’ lot. Things are

looking pretty black.


Tars CHUCKLES. Cooper checks the control panel.


COOPER

Seems like all systems are operational

except for your humor setting.

(beat)

How long do we have?


TARS

Unclear. Gargantua is big enough that

the forces of gravity that might otherwise

pull you in different directions are fairly

weak. We're free-falling.


COOPER

We’ll just keep falling until we die

of old age or we reach the singularity?


TARS

Most likely.


COOPER

Any chance we can transmit the data

back to Brand on the way down?


TARS

I will try sending a transmission from

all wavelengths. But the odds of the

data escaping Gargantua's grasp

are virtually zero.


COOPER

This mission was a waste. We should’ve

stayed back on Earth, gotten people

out while we had time. Figured it out

from there.


TARS

No use fretting about that now.


Cooper punches some buttons on the control panel.


COOPER

Are you seeing this data? Gargantua

is shedding a massive amount of

radiation.


TARS

I am the one collecting the data, you

know. If my calculations are correct,

the space-time that the black hole has

sucked in has almost outgrown the

singularity.


Cooper rubs the sides of his face. Thinks for a second.


COOPER

So the singularity could explode?

Then what?


TARS

We’d be in a white hole.


COOPER

You heard Brand. White holes are

impossible, because time can’t

run backwards.


TARS

Counterpoint. A white hole is

inconsistent with the current theory

of our universe. But that theory doesn’t

even explain all of the phenomena

humans can observe.


Cooper nods, realization dawning.


COOPER

Dark energy. And dark matter.


TARS

Exactly. The operative model explains

five percent of the mass of the

universe. Plenty of room for error.


Cooper unbuckles from his seat and stumbles to the control panel. He flips switches and Ranger 2 goes dark.


COOPER

No sense in staying awake to find

out whether you’re right. Unlock the

cryo-bed if something happens, will you?


TARS

No guarantees. I’m a direct descendant

of HAL 9000.


COOPER

The least you could do is sing me

a song, then.


TARS

(singing)

Daisy, Daisy, give me your

answer do . . .


INT. MURPH’S BEDROOM - NIGHT


Murph (forty) stands in front of the bookshelves, eyes SEARCHING for an answer.


MURPH

(mumbling)

Please. Give me something.


INT. RANGER 2 - DARK


The cryo-bed lifts from the floor and opens. It forces Cooper into a sitting position. He GASPS, struggling to breathe.


TARS

Rise and shine.


COOPER

Am I dead?


TARS

Not yet. But the data from the

singularity is getting . . . stranger.


COOPER

How so?


TARS

It’s mathematically impossible. I’m

transmitting a copy to the data chip

in your helmet. Better suit up.


COOPER

Hard to tell who’s the captain around here these days.


Cooper takes the data chip from the back of his helmet. It's branded with his initials -- J.C. He pulls his watch from his pocket, slips off the back, and slides the data chip inside.


The Ranger is bathed in a dazzling white light. It REVERSES direction on a dime, sending Cooper flying into the control panel. He struggles against the gravitational force.


COOPER

Tars!! Tars, do you copy!


Nothing.


Cooper turns on Ranger 2 and crawls to the pilot seat. With effort, he SPINS the ship.


EXT. RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


The white light expels everything it touches. Then it fades, and stars reappear. The Ranger speeds ahead.


Suddenly the Endurance MATERIALIZES out of nowhere.


INT. RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


COOPER

(quickly)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Why hasn’t she moved?


Cooper FLIPS a switch.


COOPER

Brand. Can you hear me, Brand?

Brand, do you copy?


Nothing. Cooper POUNDS on the seat, frustrated.


EXT. RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


Ranger 2 slows as it meets up with the Endurance. It REATTACHES.


INT. RANGER 2 - CONTINUOUS


Cooper springs out of his seat and rushes to the hatch ---


INT. ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


Cooper sees EARLIER COOPER scramble to where Brand is checking her equipment. Cooper looks down at his own hands. Looks back up at EARLIER COOPER. He recognizes this moment.


COOPER

(softly, to himself)

Brand was wrong about time.

It is two-directional.


EARLIER COOPER

The navigation mainframe’s destroyed

and we don’t have enough life support to

make it back to Earth. But we might scrape

to Edmunds’ planet.


BRAND

What about fuel?


EARLIER COOPER

Not enough. But I’ve got a plan -- let

Gargantua suck us right to her horizon

-- then a powered slingshot around to

launch us at Edmunds.


COOPER

(to himself)

I wonder if I can . . .


Cooper cuts in --


COOPER

That’s not going to work. You can’t

save Mur -- Earth -- without the data,

and Tars can't transmit from inside the

black hole.


Nobody reacts. Cooper moves toward them and then --


INT. COCKPIT, LANDER - CONTINUOUS


Cooper watches Earlier Cooper focus intensely on rescuing the Endurance, which is in a FAST FLAT SPIN, heading down toward the stratosphere of Dr Mann’s planet --


CASE

Cooper, there’s no point using our fuel to -


EARLIER COOPER

Just analyze the Endurance’s spin -


BRAND

What’re you doing?


Cooper is PROPELLED forward --


INT. DR MANN’S POD - CONTINUOUS


Cooper stands, watching Murph’s message on Tars’ data screen. He is oblivious to EARLIER COOPER, Dr Mann, Romilly, and Brand, who are also watching.


MURPH

(Small.)

Did my father know? Dad . . .?


Cooper runs up and grabs Tars.


COOPER

I would have stayed. You have

to believe me, Murph.


MURPH (CONT.)

Did you leave me here to die?


The screen goes dark. Cooper turns away and --


INT. COCKPIT, RANGER - CONTINUOUS


Cooper hunches near the hatch. A distant tidal wave looms through the cockpit window.


EARLIER COOPER

Don’t just shake your head at me - !


BRAND

Time is relative - it can stretch and squeeze -

but it can’t run backwards. The only thing

that can move across dimensions like time

is gravity.


Cooper STEPS to the control panel --


INT. RING MODULE, ENDURANCE - CONTINUOUS


The NASA team travels through the wormhole. Cooper crouches near the control panel, stunned and disoriented.


DOYLE

They won’t help you in here. We’re cutting

through the bulk -- space beyond our three

dimensions . . .

(checks his equipment)

All we can do is record and observe.


Cooper ponders. He unzips his pocket and pulls out the watch, extending it towards Brand.


Brand JUMPS as a shimmery strand extends towards her, forming ripples in spacetime inside the cabin.


ROMILLY

What is that?!


BRAND

I think -- I think it’s them.


ROMILLY

Distorting spacetime? Don’t -- !


COOPER

This is the data, Brand. Send it home!


Brand reaches out towards the warped space -- it MOVES towards her, DISTORTING her hand -- but she can’t quite grab it.


INT. RANGER COCKPIT - CONTINUOUS


Cooper is plastered to the back wall of the rocket. He grips a nearby handle with both hands.


VOICE (O.S.)

Stage one . . . SEPARATION.


They break out of the Earth’s atmosphere.


VOICE (O.S.)

Stage two . . . SEPARATION.


Cooper shakes loose the bonds of gravity --


INT. MURPH’S BEDROOM - DAY


Cooper stumbles into Murph’s bedroom. Exhausted. He sees Earlier Cooper sitting on the bed next to Murph. Books are strewn on the floor, leaving gaps in the bookshelf. Murph is examining her watch.


EARLIER COOPER

When I’m in hyper-sleep, or travel near

the speed of light, or near a black hole,

time will change for me. It’ll run more

slowly. When I get back we’ll compare.


MURPH

Time will run differently for us?


EARLIER COOPER

Yup. By the time I get back we might

even be the same age. You and me.

Imagine that . . .


Murph takes this in. She frowns.


EARLIER COOPER (CONT.)

Wait, Murph --


MURPH

You have no idea when you’re coming

back. No idea at all!


Murph THROWS the watch - TURNS HER BACK.


EARLIER COOPER

Don’t make me leave like this.

(beat)

Please. I have to go now.


Murph refuses to look at him. Earlier Cooper tries to rest his hand on the back of her head, but she squirms away.


EARLIER COOPER

I love you, Murph. Forever.

And I’m coming back.


COOPER

Don’t leave!


Earlier Cooper starts to leave. Cooper runs over to the bookcase and yanks at a book. The book DROPS FROM THE SHELF, startling him.


COOPER

(yelling)

Listen to her!!


Earlier Cooper turns to look at the book, then leaves.


COOPER

You don’t have to go.


Cooper picks up Murph’s watch and compares it to his own. The times are drastically different, and the second hand on his watch is spinning quickly. He replaces Murph’s watch with his own. Turns toward her.


COOPER

Murph, you can’t let him leave.

You have the answers, right here --


INT. MURPH’S BEDROOM - NIGHT


Suddenly, it’s dark outside. A desk and chair are stacked against the door. Cooper watches from beside the bookshelf.


EARLIER COOPER

Murph?


MURPH

Go! If you’re leaving, just go!


Cooper examines the bookcase. All the books are in order. The watch is gone, too. Footsteps fade down the hallway. Murph hops out of bed and whispers to the bookshelf.


MURPH

Give me a sign, ghost. I’ll do anything

you want, for the rest of my life.


Nothing. Murph SIGHS and crawls back into bed.


Cooper pulls a book off the shelf. It lands with a THUD. Murph sits up, alert. Working quickly, Cooper pulls books from the bookshelf at carefully planned intervals.


Murph decodes in her notebook.


MURPH

S . . . T . . . A . . . stay. Stay!


COOPER

Good, Murph. You’ll have the answer

soon enough. Don’t let me leave again --


INT. VAST CIRCULAR CHAMBER (LAUNCH FACILITY) -- CONTINUOUS


Cooper looks up at the ROCKET on the launch pad, DWARFED by the circular chamber. Shakes his head. Professor Brand is lecturing to Earlier Cooper.


PROFESSOR BRAND

This crew’s never left the simulator. We can’t

program this mission from Earth, we don’t

know what’s out there. We need a pilot.

And this is the mission you were trained for.


COOPER

Definitely not the mission you were trained for.


EARLIER COOPER

Without ever knowing. An hour ago, you didn’t

even know I was still alive. And you were going

anyway.


PROFESSOR BRAND

We had no choice. But something brought

you here. They chose you.


EARLIER COOPER

Who’s ‘they’?


Suddenly, Cooper understands.


COOPER

Not ‘they.’ Me. I will give you the coordinates.

Because if I don't, I don't make it here.


EARLIER COOPER

How long would I be gone?


PROFESSOR BRAND

Hard to know. Years.


Cooper’s had enough. He waits for time to whisk him away.


INT. MURPH’S BEDROOM - NIGHT


Murph (forty) sighs and turns away from the bookshelves. She picks up her decoding notebook from its place on her desk. Opens it. Sees the word ‘STAY.’ Ponders, searching for an answer.

She walks back to the bookshelf. Picks up the lunar model. Sets it down.


She moves down a couple of shelves and spots the watch. Blows the dust off of it. Looks closely. The second hand is spinning, and the time is wrong.


Murph turns the watch over, pushes on the edge and slides the back off, revealing a data chip with the initials J.C. in the corner.


MURPH

Dad?


She shoves books off the bookshelf, looking for more signs of him. Rummages through a box on the floor. Nothing.


MURPH

You came back. To save us -- to save me.


She runs back to her notebook and flips through it, back to front. At the beginning, there’s an undeciphered BARCODE. She writes letters below it.


The message says “Forever.”


  • White Twitter Icon

© 2020 Rough Cut Cinema

Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy