By Robbie Graham
Alien design for After Earth (2013)
M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming sci-fi survival movie After Earth features an elaborate back-story unhinted at in its trailers involving multiple extraterrestrial species.
io9.com reports that After Earth’s recently-released companion book United Rangers Corps Survival Manual reveals an intricate fictional historical narrative leading up to the events of the film.
“Turns out, there are aliens in this movie,” writes io9’s Meredith Woerner, “lots of them. Different species, in fact, which sound infinitely more interesting than a boy with a spear in the woods.”
Woerner then lays out the approximately 1000 years of events that constitute the movie’s back-story:
“1908 - An alien ship crash lands in Russia. All collective world governments then keep this discovery a secret basically forever. (But they let smarties like Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein play with the remains).
2012 - NASA announces that they've invented WARP ENGINES. By secretly tapping into the alien spaceship's knowledge of the universe's "dark energy." Tah Dah!
2071 - 2072 - Earth is all GTFO, humans. No one can live here anymore, because it's poison for us, so 750,000 survivors leave on ARKS (one is named the Asimov). The Arks were created thanks to additional information pulled (over the years) from the downed spacecraft.”
Here, then, we have yet another blockbuster movie borrowing liberally from modern UFO-conspiracy lore, central to which are ideas relating to UFO crash retrievals and top secret efforts to reverse-engineer alien technologies. Although the Roswell Incident of 1947 is most commonly associated with such ideas, Shyamalan has here chosen to reach further back into UFO history – specifically, to the Tunguska event of 1908, which involved a massively powerful and mysterious explosion in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai in Russia. Officialdom attributes the explosion to a large meteoroid or comet fragment, but UFO researchers have long theorized that an alien craft may have been involved. Clearly this theory holds great appeal for Shyamalan, whose big-budget movie will now push the Tunguska event further into popular culture, albeit in a fantastical context.
After Earth hits cinemas May 31, 2013. For the rest of the movie’s long and complicated back-story, head on over to io9.com.