George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky – What Happened to the Earth?

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The Midnight Sky was one of the most anticipated movies of the year. A massive budget, George Clooney sitting on the director’s chair, and numerous a-list actors signing on to appear in the film, it was a must see flick. And by the end of the film, we are still wondering what happened to the earth.

While the movie was not as good as expected, with heavy burrowing from previous sci-fi movies, it was still a emotional flick surrounding love, loss, family, and our existence. Your cannot look past the Rich Purnell Gravity Assist-type scene and also the Michael Clayton ending, but George Clooney keeps the movie afloat.

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The Midnight Sky is based on the book Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The story follows a scientist who discovered life is achievable on one of the Jupiter’s moon as he tries to get in contact with the last mission ship so he can warn them to not return to Earth as a cataclysmic event happened here. But beyond calling it the “event” there is nothing explained about the fate of Earth.

So, What Happened to Earth on The Midnight Sky?

After the 30 year flashback we are thrown into a station on the Arctic, in the Netflix movie. We see an old Augustine Lofthouse, the man behind the mission to K-23, one of the moons of Jupiter. The dialogues let us know that two weeks early a cataclysmic event happened and people evacuate the Arctic circle with the military.

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No one explains the event, only showing a graphic of United States where somewhere around Chicago, a red dot appears and the computer reads Day 1. By the 14th day the heat map is all over America and rest of the world, still no explanation of what is causing the cataclysmic event.

Later in the movie, while Augustine tries to explain the state of earth, he refers to it by saying an “event.” We are kept on the outside about the “event” and by the end of the movie, we know there is radiation everywhere but the reason for the cause of radiation was unknown.

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the-midnight-sky-2020-netflixThe Midnight Sky heat map shows the “event” happening first near Chicago.
Image Source: Netflix

So, the question remains, what really happened to the earth? There is a dialogue in the film where Augustine tells the crew of Aether that they could not take care of earth while the crew was away, making a moon habitable for the people of earth.

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There is also another line of dialogue where Augustine explains the reason for the “event” was an accident. So from the heat map we saw from the start of the movie, it appears the accident first started near Chicago, then Vancouver, New Year and soon covered the whole North America, later the whole world.

Our guess for the “event” is a nuclear accident. But the problem with that theory is the accident happens hundreds of miles apart in America. So, how does nuclear failure happen in two different places within days. Also, there are spots appearing in places where there are no nuclear weapons.

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It cannot be a disease because what kind of disease causes radiation. So, the easiest explanation would be future technology where people were getting ready to transport human population to K-23 and there was an accident. Again this does not explain accidents happening in two places at the same time, but what would be an accident where radiation is a reaction?

Also Read: Extraction 2 – Joe Russo Discusses Filming Date and Script for the Sequel

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There is also a lazy explanation though, nuclear war. Another dialogue in the movie hinted that Western world did not have a cozy relationship with China, Russia, and India. All three countries are Nuclear armed nations and maybe accidentally a nuclear missile struck Chicago which resulted in an all out war.

The military planes in Arctic could be explained with this logic and also the nuclear wind and radiation. Or it was environmental, what exactly we do not know but sending missions to Jupiter in hopes of finding an accessible planet means there are way too many people on earth.

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The earth is small and it is not meant to hold the amount of people that will be present by the time 2050s rolls around. So maybe it is earths way of cleaning house and starting fresh in a few millennia. Still two humans are still alive, how they are going to keep the human race going on K-23 is a mystery but they are together, and pregnant, so best of luck, I guess!

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