Dystopian science-fiction is quite popular nowadays, as evidenced by the surge in lucrative young adult books-turned films that deal with dark and troubling visions of the future (The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner). Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Interstellar also taps into modern concerns about what tomorrow will bring, but offers rays of hope through a story about the importance of discovery, pushing boundaries, and breaking new ground (among other things) – something that also characterizes Tomorrowland, the new movie from Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol).
Tomorrowland tells the tale of young Casey Newton (played by Under the Dome‘s Britt Robertson), a teenager – living in present-day Florida – who holds tight onto her big dreams of the future, even as she watches NASA abandon its shuttle program from her own backyard (quite literally). However, Casey’s prospects begin to change one day when she discovers a mysterious pin with fantastical abilities. As the film’s co-writer Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, The Leftovers) put it when interviewed by EW:
“There is a piece of technology in this pin, it’s the kind of old-school pin you would wear on your lapel, and when you make physical contact with it, you have the illusion of being physically transported to another world, and that’s how Casey gets her first glimpse of Tomorrowland. She is a Muggle who accidentally wanders across Platform 9 ¾ and sees something she probably shouldn’t have.”
Those Harry Potter comparisons didn’t end there; Lindelof brought up the fantasy property once again while discussing Tomorrowland‘s vision of science – and its relation to the possibilities held by the future.
“What Hogwarts is to magic, Tomorrowland is to science: They are both easy to find if you are a wizard and very difficult to find if you’re a Muggle. Walt Disney is not a character in our movie, but he is referenced as having some involvement in this mysterious place called Tomorrowland, as a huge futurist and aficionado of space travel, rocketry, cities of the future, and space travel.”
Casey’s discovery of the mysterious pin eventually leads to her crossing paths with Frank Walker (George Clooney), a “hermit and failed inventor” who knows a thing or two about this place known as Tomorrowland – a world inextricably linked to Frank’s past, when he was just a wide-eyed, non-jaded, boy genius. Below, we have concept art from Tomorrowland, along with images of both Robertson and Clooney in the film.
Clooney, in the past, has praised Bird’s “wild imagination” and how it has shaped Tomorrowland, while he teased that the movie – which Lindelof co-wrote alongside Bird and EW writer-turned screenwriter Jeff Jensen – has its fair share of secrets that are worth keeping under cover, until it’s time for the final reveal (read: when everyone sits down to watch the film for themselves). The official Tomorrowland synopsis doesn’t give away too much either, though it suggests that some of those promising rumors we’ve heard about the story in the past are, in fact, accurate.
It was once mistakenly believed that Tomorrowland‘s plot involved humanity making contact with extraterrestrials, after Lindelof compared the film to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, the writer reiterated to EW that Bird’s lated movie does very much bring to mind the optimistic and exploratory spirit that defines that Steven Spielberg sci-fi classic, while also taking inspiration from the works of such authors as Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, and Carl Sagan. Sounds good to us.
Tomorrowland opens in U.S. theaters on May 22nd, 2015.