Lana Wachowski Calls ‘Jupiter Ascending’ a Sci-Fi Space Opera

Published 1 year ago by

wachowskis cloud atlas jupiter ascending Lana Wachowski Calls Jupiter Ascending a Sci Fi Space Opera

What better way for Andy and Lana Wachowski to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Matrix – the sci-fi/action/philosophy trip that inspired countless “Bullet-time” imitations and/or parodies – than to release their next venture into the sci-fi realm, Jupiter Ascending? The new original work from the filmmaking siblings stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum as, respectively, a futuristic Snow White-esque woman and the genetically-engineered hunter who is recruited to track her down, but ends up becoming her protector instead.

Jupiter Ascending – based on the official plot synopsis – reads like a mashup of re-appropriated fairy tale archetypes, hero’s journey story elements and tropes that walk the fine line between fantasy and sci-fi; in other words, it’s to the Wachowskis what Star Wars is to George Lucas or Avatar is to James Cameron. But how would the filmmaking pair describe their latest project?

Here is what Lana said, during the Australians in Film awards dinner last week (via AP):

“It’s a science-fiction space opera. It has a lot of things from a lot of genres that we love. It’s got a lot of original action, it’s got a lot of romance.”

The genre-blend design of Jupiter Ascending was apparent from the very beginning, when the first plot details leaked and pointed to a film that brought to mind a menagerie of culturally-specific influences (European fables, Japanese sci-fi, and so forth).

Doona Bae and Jim Sturgess in Cloud Atlas Lana Wachowski Calls Jupiter Ascending a Sci Fi Space Opera

Similarly, between the trend-setting action sequences in The Matrix films – including The Matrix Revolutions which, as has been discussed on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast, set the bar for mid-flight fisticuffs until Man of Steel released ten years later – and the fundamentally human stories explored against fantastical sci-fi backdrops in Cloud Atlas, you tend to expect big things from the Wachowskis (hence, their films can be love/hate affairs).

Lana commented on just that, when she admitted:

“We seem not to be very good at making small things. We keep saying ‘Let’s go make a small movie.’ But then they always end up being enormously complex. We want to somehow always find something that is different or that no one has tried.”

Cloud Atlas was very much just that and, although there’s no denying that it wasn’t to everyone’s taste, the Wachowskis’ ambitious collaboration with director Tom Tykwer resulted in a movie that earned more than its fair share of applause too (read our review, for case in point). Even the more polarizing Speed Racer and Matrix sequels have their share of fans, including those who just admire how the directors always aim for the stands, whenever at bat.

As Lana put it:

“People come up to us and just break into tears talking about (‘Cloud Atlas’). Even ‘Speed Racer,’ we get people that come up and say it was their favorite movie of all time. We’ve been very lucky that way. We have great fans. … And we keep trying to keep surprising them.”

No doubt, Jupiter Ascending could be yet another divisive Wachowski offering, but any filmmakers whose work prompts these kind of passionate responses is doing something right. If enough people dig it, then the siblings’ latest sci-fi adventure could also be the first installment in a new blockbuster trilogy – and thus, continue to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors (see: the wave of Star Wars movies and the Avatar trilogy due to hit theaters over the next 2-5 years).


Jupiter Ascending opens in U.S. theaters on July 25th, 2014.

Source: Associated Press

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. really dude? when are you guy gonna give up on that crap yeez go die

    • The f*ck are you talking about?

    • lol they removed the comment, good

  2. anyway the movie sounds good and it probably will look great, looking forward to it

  3. Cloud atlas was one of my favorite movie of 2012
    Very underrated

    • I agree.

    • So underrated! It was my favorite movie of ’12.

  4. denying free speech good job screenrant, it isn’t my fault that no matter what abnormal surgery he had done he is still a man.

    • Your previous comment got booted because it had nothing to do with the actual topic (read: the film) and was a passive-aggresive slight against me.

      Consider that your warning – stick to the topic at hand.

      • no slight against you buddy, I understand that you need to be PC because you are part of the team that runs this website.

      • Sandy, why hasn’t this 2nd, equally offensive, posting been deleted? It also has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand (read: the film).

    • There is no free speech on a privately owned website. You are a guest on private property and the owners make the rules.

  5. The pair make unique films. Maybe this one will be good.

  6. i’m sorry, but i will NEVER take serious ANYONE that says Speed Racer is thier favorite movie of all time… this DELUSION must end!!! that movie is a steaming pile of crap!!! easily one of the WORST movies of all-time!!!

    • you don’t get out much to watch movies, do you.

      “one of the worst movies of all-time” … in a pack of how many other worst movies of all time?

      there are hundreds upon hundreds of films that are far, far worse than Speed Racer.

      I’m curious to know your criteria for judging it “one of the worst movies of all-time”.

      Please explain how its acting is so terrible that no other film has worse acting.
      Please explain how its cinematography is so terrible that no other film is worse.
      Likewise the visual effects, the script, the pacing, etc…

      Which criteria are you using to make this grand sweeping statement?

      • i’ll make it very simple… this was a box office bomb!!! which means considerably more people would agree with my view of this film than yours…. you like it? good for you, i did not, i wanted to, but it just wasn’t a good film…

      • look, you know how people say SW episode 1 would be a whole heck of alot better without jarjar binks, i would have LIKED and speed racer would have been BETTER without spridle and chimchim (thier scenes kill the movie for me). i would love to give you bullet points for why i don’t like speed racer, but you’re such a jerk in your comment that i don’t feel the need… besides, the fact speedracer is a box office bomb speaks volumes!!!!

    • Hate much? SPEED RACER was made with a lot of love and care. People who have nothing but hate in their hearts seem to hate this movie for that very reason.

      • for one thing, i dislike the film, didn’t say i hate it…. love your logic though, just because i dislike a movie means i have a hateful heart?!?! you don’t no me son, keep your self-rightious attitude to yourself, please?

  7. This is interesting. Lets see how they pull this project off.

  8. I am very much looking forward to this one.

  9. Looking forward to it.
    BTW, has anyone seen Lana on interviews? I think Larry just found his true genre.Im happy for him(ok her).

    And Lets thank Andy and Lana for Cloud Atlas and Matrix…
    Im hoping for more good projects. as well as new Matrix films.

    • Just so you know (many don’t seem to be aware of the etiquette surrounding this particular issue):

      it is “her”.

      the “old name” no longer exists. (it is considered a terrible insult to use the old-gender associated name)

      and yes, it would be “Lana”.

      It’s not terribly complicated. Lana is a woman (despite what a certain other poster in the comment section appears to believe). She should be referred to as such.

      And yes, I love what she and her brother have done. I wasn’t a huge Matrix-sequel fan, but I enjoyed Speedracer (enjoyed, not “the greatest thing since slice bread”, but did enjoy), and I absolutely loved Cloud Atlas which I think is potentially a masterpiece (time will tell).

      • no he isn’t

  10. Considering the distinct lack of live-action space opera (depending on how you want to define it) that’s not Star Trek or Star Wars over the past several years, I’ll give them some ticket money if it looks even halfway decent. Granted, space adventure is hard to do “right,” but it seems like most studios aren’t interested … or just don’t want to commit the money.

  11. Darn! From this to Interstellar to Guardians of the Galaxy, there are going to be some very interesting and original space journey films next year

    • ^^^

  12. saw cloud atlas for the first time today, WOW!!! fantastic movie, best they’ve done since the original matrix, gives me high hopes for jupiter ascending, it’ll definitely make me forget speed racer….