To save the future, are you willing to sacrifice your present? This is the dilemma humankind wrestles with in Amazon’s new science-fiction action blockbuster, The Tomorrow War.
Streaming July 2 on Amazon Prime Video, The Tomorrow War stars Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World lead Chris Pratt as Dan Forester, an Iraq War veteran and father struggling to do something more meaningful than teach science to bored high school kids.
But what happens next defies imagination. During the World Cup, time travelers from 2051 arrive in our present with a dire warning: 30 years in the future, Earth is on the losing side of a war against a powerful alien species. With the future running out of soldiers to battle these extraterrestrial invaders, a two-way wormhole is created to refill the ranks and give humanity a fighting chance.
But when Dan is drafted and travels to 2051, he meets someone wildly unexpected.
In an interview with Inverse, Chris Pratt and co-star Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) unpack Tomorrow War’s biggest plot twist, and what it means for their central characters.
Warning: Spoilers for The Tomorrow War ahead.
The twist of The Tomorrow War
In The Tomorrow War, Earth is on its last legs. Out of sheer desperation, the remnants of humanity recruit people — and we really do mean people, as in teachers and doctors and mailmen — to fight as soldiers. Because of the severity posed by this alien threat, every recruit’s tour of duty lasts just a few days. But only a fraction make it back alive, and those who do are scarred forever.
When Dan Forester (Pratt) is drafted, his previous experience as a soldier makes him invaluable to the war effort. After accomplishing a difficult retrieval mission in war-torn Miami, he meets the tough, no-nonsense colonel who drafted him: Col. Muri Forester (Strahovski). That’s right: she’s his own daughter, all grown up and defending the human race.
“A second chance”
Dan is given some words of wisdom by a fellow recruit, Dorian (Edwin Hodge): “I’d rather die here than a slow death back home.” That fatalist sentiment from a multi-tour veteran moves Dan deeply. He reevaluates his current predicament — surviving a high-risk war zone and taking orders from his daughter — while reevaluating his perceived unhappiness at home in the past.
“Dan has a special set of circumstances that only parents can find themselves in, which is you don’t make decisions just for the benefit of your own good,” Chris Pratt tells Inverse. “[It’s] for your progeny, your offspring, and what it’s going to mean to them.”
Adds Pratt: “He certainly doesn’t want to die. He’s doing it to save his loved ones.”
Playing the adult Muri Forester, Strahovski believes her character has emotionally shut down as a way to prioritize mankind’s chances of victory. It’s nothing personal. It’s just survival.
“There’s definitely [a sense of] putting aside your own emotions and past trauma, and everything you’ve dealt with, to really save the day,” Strahovski tells Inverse. “I don’t think the stakes could be any higher. This is it. We don’t have any more time.”
As The Tomorrow War unfolds, both Foresters undergo seismic transformations. Staring danger gives Dan a new lease on life. And for Muri, it’s all about getting to know — and forgive — the absentee father who abandoned her all those years ago.
“Dan looks at this war as a way to save his family, his daughter, and a way to go back into his life now with a second chance,” says Pratt. It’s “a chance at redemption and a new way of looking at his life. I think Dan’s perspective is pretty unwavering in terms of what he’s willing to do.”
Adds Strahovski: “It’s really a matter of saving the human race and the world.”
A changed future?
If sci-fi fans know anything about time travel, from Back to the Future to Avengers: Endgame, it’s that nothing is permanent. With Dan more committed to being present for his family after discovering his future — not to mention successfully stopping the aliens from awakening at all in the Arctic — Strahovski speculates as to whether her younger self (played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong) will grow up to be the same person.
“That’s an interesting question,” Strahovski says. “If Dan changes his behavior and his dynamic towards his wife and daughter, perhaps Muri grows up to become not as driven. Trauma effects people in different ways. I definitely think it’s a factor [as] to how driven [she] is in the future.”
The Tomorrow War is available to stream starting July 2 on Prime Video.