Moonfall (2022) Movie Ending Expained & Theme Analysed: German filmmaker Roland Emmerich is the director, producer, and co-writer (alongside Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen) behind the new space film Moonfall. The all-star cast of Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland make it one of the most expensive independent films ever made. 

The basic premise follows a pair of disgraced astronauts who discover that the Moon has fallen out of orbit, plaguing Earth with a series of natural disasters. There’s a lot of technical science jargon to digest in Moonfall, so we’re going to take a deeper look and decipher some of the themes and plot points:

Warning: Contains spoilers for Moonfall

Moon (2022) Movie Summary & Synopsis: 

Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson headline the film as Brian Harper and Jocinda Fowler, whose reputation is shattered by a space-mission-gone-wrong. When a strange black swarm suddenly attacks their orbiter, their co-worker Marcus is killed, and the pair are blamed for human error. Fast-forward ten years and nerdy conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) steals some documents and finds the Moon is falling out of orbit, posing a great danger to Earth. He approaches Brian—now out of work and late on rent—disregarding his findings. However, this only leads K.C. to go public via social media, and NASA responds by sending an SLS Block 2 to investigate. 

Again, the mysterious swarm attacks, and all three crew members die. As the Moon’s orbit continues to fall, natural disasters erupt all over the globe. Jocinda learns that the Apollo 11 mission found evidence of the Moon’s hollow interior—just as K.C. theorized—but covered it up with a two-minute radio blackout. A military program was put forward to destroy the swarm but fell through due to financing problems. The EMP device was then put into storage, so Brian, Jocinda, and K.C. retrieved it to launch. 

Moonfall 2022 Ending Explained

The three enter the Moon’s interior and find it siphoning off energy from a white dwarf located inside the hollow “megastructure” (Moon). After learning the Moon was created by humans—once more technologically advanced than their descendants—to repopulate Earth, they realize the swarm is a rogue AI that must be killed. Despite the US President ordering a nuclear strike on the swarm, the Chief of Air Force refuses because he is married to Jocinda and sacrifices himself. 

Back on Earth, Brian and Jocinda’s family head for a bunker in Colorado, fighting off other survivors and deadly natural disasters. Up above, K.C. lures the swarm away before detonating the EMP device and killing himself. The Moon’s orbit gradually returns, and Brain and Jocinda are reunited with the survivors of their families. 

Moonfall (2022) Movie Ending explained

Moonfall concludes that the Moon is not a planet but a benign AI suffused with the corruption of humanity from back when they constructed it billions of years ago. The theory that humans have actually devolved and were once much more intelligent than we are now isn’t new (which we’ll dive into later). Emmerich takes this idea and adds to it, proposing that they built a conscious AI which is now out for revenge for being imprisoned. The Moon acts as an operating system more than organic material, downloading information into K.C.’s brain so that he may destroy the swarm and save Earth. The Moon rewards K.C.’s sacrifice, reviving his consciousness to live on within its operating system.


Will there be a sequel to Moonfall?

Emmerich is renowned for his action-packed disaster movies (Independence Day, 1996, and The Day After Tomorrow, 2004), and Moonfall is undoubtedly one of his more outlandish ones. Critics may have disliked the absurdity of Moonfall’s complex plot, but there remain fans who enjoyed its originality, shocking plot twists. Although no sequel has been confirmed, the final moments of Moonfall leave it open for continuation. After downloading K.C.’s consciousness, the Moon takes on the form of his mother, appearing to him with the cryptic message that the time has come for them to work on something new. But what is it? Moonfall cuts away before we get an answer to K.C.’s question. For all its clever plotlines and open-ended questions, Moonfall was received poorly at the box office, and—given its expensive budget the production companies never made back—a sequel would likely pose a financial risk. However, the possibility remains open from such an ambiguous ending. 

Moonfall (2022) Movie Themes Explained: 

The Moon as a “hollow megastructure.”

Like his 2009 movie 2012, using the conspiracy theory of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, Emmerich was inspired by fundamental theories for his explanation of a Hollow Moon. K.C. finds the Moon’s orbit falling because of his space studies. He and a handful of doddering conspiracy nuts believe the Moon to be a “hollow megastructure.” It’s referenced many times throughout the film—but what does it really mean? 

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It’s commonly believed that the Moon landing was a hoax, but another set of Moon-conspiracy fanatics are the Hollower Mooner’s. They began proposing the Moon was really an empty “megastructure” (a large, self-supporting artificial object) back in the 1970s when NASA recorded a series of “ringing” noises emanating from the supposedly natural space satellite. This was supported by the fact NASA lost two minutes of radio footage when the Apollo 11 mission landed in 1969, which Moonfall also touches upon. 

By treating the Moon as an artificial object/intelligence rather than a natural entity, Moonfall can explain why it falls from orbit, being consciously destroyed from the inside out by an evil swarm out for revenge. 

Is humanity devolving?

Humans are almost undoubtedly the most intelligent forms of consciousness on Earth. We’ve seen a surge in technological, scientific, and medical advancements in the last century mainly. Between the 16th and 17th century, not too much had changed, yet the difference in lifestyle between 1900 and 2000 are immense, springing from horse-drawn carriages and candles to race cars and the internet. 

That said, some conspiracy theorists believe humanity has actually devolved over the last few billion years. The dumb-caveman stereotype is being debunked by scientists, who constantly find evidence of their resourcefulness. They could build castles and pyramids with little more than a pile of rocks, while nowadays we have the benefit of vehicles and electricity. 

Some people even go as far as to say they were much more intelligent than we are now, that the mysterious structures and wonders that litter our world cannot be explained by the remnants of simple tools left by prehistoric humans. Hieroglyphs that depict helicopters, old batteries, and the lost city of Atlantis are all theories that suggest a vastly intelligent primeval race that surpasses our current understanding. One that, in Moonfall, literally built the Moon. 

Downloading human conciseness 

If you’ve ever seen the film Transcendence (dir. Wally Pfister, 2014), you’ll be familiar with the concept of downloaded consciousness. The film depicts Johnny Depp as a scientist who, after being shot by a polonium-laced bullet, has his consciousness uploaded to a quantum computer by his wife. Despite making ground-breaking advancements, his new capabilities pose a threat as he becomes corrupt with a dangerous amount of power.

The theory of Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) has been long discussed in scientific circles. Although not the main plot of Moonfall, Emmerich does tap into this idea at the end of the film when K.C.’s brain is uploaded to the Moon’s operating system so he may live on in some form. Having evolved from a world devoid of technology and into the digital age, where our phones and computers are a practically unavoidable extension of ourselves and our identities, it seems like an inevitable next step—to converge the two together. 

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When the Moon—in the shape of K.C.’s mother—tells him it’s time to start something new, there’s an ominous allusively about it. A “new” AI or technological progression could mean an end to the world we know today. This futuristic possibility seems revolutionary and terrifying as we lose touch with nature and hurtle towards technological singularity (a hypothetically uncontrollable growth in technology). Much like our ancestors did when creating the Moon a billion years ago (in the film), wreaking havoc on Earth as the swam pushes it out of orbit in revenge.  

Moonfall (2022) Movie Review

Moonfall clearly took some risks with its extravagant storyline. Emmerich pushed the boat out for this one, taking the whole disaster-movie trope to new heights after a career of steady blockbusters. The science behind the plot is rooted in real theories and smartly put together once you dissect all the scenes; however, it remains that—just theories. Moonfall lacks any concrete science, and the writers probably could have benefited from consulting a real astronaut. 

There is such a thing as overdoing it, which Emmerich certainly did here. Perhaps we would have a better movie on our hands if the writing weren’t clunky, the dialogue so cliched, and the pace going at breakneck speed. However, as it stands, the two-dimensional, underdeveloped characters and ludicrous plot made Moonfall a box office flop. 

Moonfall (2022) Links: IMDb
Moonfall (2022) Cast: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Wenwen Yu, Michael Peña


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