Interstellar
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Interstellar can be found here.

For continuing survival of the human race, it was believed that humans should become farmers and not explorers, thus using all possible resources for crops, not space exploration. Claiming the moon landing was faked was used as a way to discourage students from pursuing space travel and exploration and instead focusing on survival on Earth. The idea that the Moon landing of 1969 was faked using astronauts in a Hollywood studio has been a conspiracy theory for decades. More info on it can be read here.

After Cooper sees the strange gravitational anomaly in Murph's room, he figures out that the dust lines actually represent binary numbers and not the Morse code. (Like Morse code, there were only two different type of dust lines - thick and thin - with thick representing binary 1 and thin representing binary 0). After converting the binary number to decimal, Cooper was able to decode the coordinates of the NASA base.

Professor Brand (Michael Caine) claims that NASA has two plans for humanity's survival: Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A: While the Endurance team is away, Brand will continue to work on an advanced equation that, if solved, will allow humans to harness fifth-dimensional physics, specifically gravity. Should Brand succeed, NASA will be able to defy our traditional understanding of physics and launch an enormous space station, carrying the remainder of Earth's surviving population into space. The very facility that Cooper and Murph stumble upon at the beginning of the film isn't just a NASA research station, it's a construction site for humankind's space-traveling ark.

Plan B: Should Brand fail in his calculation and/or the Endurance take too much time investigating potential homeworlds, NASA has harvested a bank of fertilized human embryos that can be used to ensure humanity's survival after everyone on Earth becomes extinct. To ensure genetic diversity, NASA procured DNA from a wide range of sources so that future generations would not be limited to reproduction between Endurance crew members. In this scenario, the Endurance team would settle down on the most habitable planet and raise the first generation of embryos, with each subsequent generation helping to raise a new set of embryos (as well as reproducing naturally).

According to Albert Einstein, time is relative to perspective. Thus, so is distance, because it takes time to travel a distance. Relativity does not imply that interstellar travel is impossible, just mind-meltingly difficult. You can get into a great star ship and fly very, very fast. By doing so, time passes by very slowly for you compared to the places you are passing. You will be able to reach another star handily if you fly fast enough. The hitch is that you have to be prepared to say goodbye to everything you know. Your entire race may have died out in the five years you were "on the road," because the clock back home wasn't slowed down like yours was. There is the theory of Miguel Alcubierre about the Alcubierre drive, which doesn't conflict with Einstein's theory of relativity and does allow faster-than-light travel. There are some recent documentaries on it. The popular TV series "Star Trek" used such theory to allow for faster than light travel. The warp drive in Enterprise is an example of the Alcubierre drive used in science fiction. It is not the speed that makes Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway age much slower than people on Earth (or on their space ship). It is gravity. Both speed and gravity influence the passing of time (time slows down as they increase). Because of their proximity to the Gargantua black hole, gravity was sufficiently large to make their local time slow down so that minutes equaled years on Earth. Earth's gravity slows time in our everyday life too, but at a much smaller scale.

Any mass can have a stable orbit around a black hole, where the mass is in free fall towards the black hole but its high lateral velocity keeps it curving around. It is only when an orbit decays and an object crosses the event horizon that it is then conjectured to be consumed by the black hole. Since black holes themselves are invisible, the main way astronomers discover them are by observing large objects like stars orbiting invisible phenomena. Also in the film, the only visible part of the black hole assembly is the accretion disk outside of it producing light much like a star does through fusion. Because this disk is outside the event horizon the light it produces is visible rather than being sucked in. The black hole itself is merely a condensed black sphere devoid of any visible qualities save for the effects its gravitational field has on the matter and energy around it (provided that matter and energy is outside the event horizon) . Although its gravitational field is many times stronger than other large objects, it can be orbited stably by another object just like the sun or any other object with a sufficient gravitational field. Again as mentioned before this has been observed and is in fact our main way of detecting black holes.

TARS detaches in one of the two Landers, not a Ranger. Cooper is in Ranger 2 and detaches. CASE remains with Brand and they land together in Lander 2. Ranger 1 was destroyed when Dr. Mann attempted to dock with the Endurance.

Cooper and the other NASA scientists assume "They" are an advanced extraterrestrial (or supernatural) race who have unlocked the mysteries of dimensional manipulation and, for some unknown reason, have decided to aid humankind in escaping our doomed planet. The NASA team believes that the beings may be unable (or unwilling) to communicate directly with humans, specifically that "They" are fifth-dimensional, having transcended our four-dimensional ways of understanding the universe. Brand thinks "They" have laid out a series of rudimentary breadcrumbs (binary messages) and advanced technology (the wormhole) for humans to follow in order to save ourselves from annihilation. While inside the black hole, the notion arises that "They" are humans from the future with much more advanced capabilities than currently possible, and are able to construct the tesseract to allow Cooper to communicate with his daughter due to the strange time properties of where they are.

Ostensibly, if "They" are "future humans" and provide help to the "present humans", the "present humans" survive into the future to become "They", who then provide help to the past. This is known as an ontological, temporal, or "bootstrap" paradox. On a linear timeline, it is impossible: if "present humans" can't survive without the "future humans", the "present humans" would die and thus there would be no "future humans" to save them. However, in a non-linear or cyclical timeline, this would theoretically be possible since there is no true beginning or end to the timeline. It is also possible that the "present humans" do survive to become the "future humans" without outside help, but the outcome is more detrimental to the human race, and the "future humans" are attempting to help the "present humans" to alter the timeline in favor of a better solution - one that they never initially had.

Another interpretation: Murphys Law: anything that can happen, will happen. This may be an indication towards the quantum mechanics theory of many worlds. This simply means that our daily actions, our free will, creates multiple realities, multiple branches of existence, many worlds, multiverses. You could for instance be served tea and coffee, and elect with your free will to choose coffee; however, in an alternate branch, you pick tea. This creates two realities or branches. Hence, every action, every invocation of our free will leads to a creation of new a branch of parallel existence, leading to possibly infinite branching like a fractal.

This choice making ability, this free will, which creates multiple branches of reality, can be illustrated as follows: http://rosettacode.org/mw/images/a/a3/Fractal_tree_bbc.gif In one branch, humanity suffers blight, the Earth is dying and extinction looms. In another branch, humanity has progressed, evolved and transcended above space and time. The transcended humanity, or referred to as "they", are able to traverse time as a physical dimension. Like normal humanity, "they" are able to travel through space backwards and forwards, and in all other directions. However, the difference is that "they" can also travel to events in time whether backwards or forwards. This time-travel is not a literal one whereby previous events can be altered creating paradoxes. Rather, all events which can happen, have happened. Murphys Law from this perspective has happened, not will happen. All possible potential branches of reality have occurred. All events across space and time as observable by "they" have already occurred, and are available for "they" to traverse; "they" are able to observe all branches. Since all possible events or outcomes, or branches of humanity are available for "they" to traverse, this implies that branching is in fact finite and not infinite. Therefore, normal humanity experiences limited free will as opposed to unlimited free will; i.e. choices are limited even though a certain route branches to transcending space and time. Since the branching of humanity and creation of many worlds is limited and finite, and since blight is threatening to destroy an entire branch of creation, "they", decide to rescue normal humanity to ensure the continued branching of many worlds.

Why would "they" want to create branching / many worlds? Well, "they" are humanity which stemmed from normal humanity in the first place from an earlier branch. Perhaps love is the one thing that transcends space and time and "they" desire to love? Perhaps "they" feel being alone and one is lonely perhaps the 'one' requires the 'many' to express love? Many and one have several themes: many worlds via quantum mechanics, many outcomes explained by Murphys Law, and quite literally many worlds visited; i.e. Miller/Mann/Edmunds. Nature is created and manifested in fractal branching patterns (http://www.miqel.com/fractals_math_patterns/visual-math-natural-fractals.html), by ill-executed actions of limited free will, normal humanity threatens destruction of a fractal branch which "they" decide to restore? More evolved, "they" have transcended time. If time is transcended, free will cannot exist. If time is a physical dimension which allows "they" to navigate to all events past, present and future; this presupposes all events have already occurred and "they" simply move from event-to-event, from one point in time to another. Everything that can happen, has happened. Therefore, "they", even though evolved, no longer have free will to create further events, thereby are no longer able to create further branches of realities.

Hence, the fractal branching stops for "they" due to no free will, and the fractal branching in another route is also stopping due to blight. Perhaps, this is another motivation for "they" to rescue normal humanity to ensure continued evolution? But, if "they" have no free will, how are "they" able to create a rescue event? The rescue event is created by "they" in normal humanity's branch of existence; i.e. placing of wormhole nearby Saturn, and a tesseract nearby/within Gargantua. Normal humanity then devises and pursues plans A and B. The tesseract placed in the bulk of normal humanity's space-time allows Cooper, via gravitational messaging, to interact with normal humanity's space-time. This interaction is expressed additionally with time as physical dimension on top of normal humanity's branch so that Cooper is able to traverse and message normal humanity's space-time events. Continued evolution may be a theme: "Mankind was born on Earth, it wasn't meant to die here" / "We're explorers, not caretakers" / etc. "Our destiny lies above us" may also elude to predestination, hence themes of free will.

Because their objective was to make us look into the black hole, get the data, and learn how to manipulate gravity.

The data from the black hole that Murph needed to solve the equation to manipulate gravity.

The movie takes great care to avoid the classic causality paradoxes so common in science fiction. Specifically, all information exchanged between different time frames has a definite, observational source: NASA coordinates are provided by TARS, singularity data is observed and provided by TARS again. Direct communication of that data from the evolved humans to the past would create an unacceptable paradox. In a sense, the evolved humans act only as facilitators to allow the human race to survive and, at the same time, evolve to a higher level of existence.

Fundamentally our understanding of human consciousness, will, and emotion is limited. Our current science describes the universe from an objective perspective, but we all experience the universe from unique, individual, subjective perspectives. Currently we don't know nearly enough to explain what gives rise to this subjectivity. Just as Interstellar deals with the limits of our understanding of black holes, wormholes, and the like, it seems to speculate on the possibility of real, "quantifiable" forces at the heart of human subjectivity. It asks the question: what if our true selves, the source of our subjective experience, exists in and affects areas outside of our current understanding of space and time? Ultimately of course the film cannot answer this question, but Cooper believes, and coincidences of plot - such as Edumund's planet being the correct spot for colonization as believed by Dr. Brand - seem to imply, that "love" may be one example of such capacities.

Interstellar was displayed in a wide range of different types of theaters (i.e formats) including IMAX 70mm film, standard 70mm film, 35mm film, IMAX digital, 4K Digital, and standard digital. In addition, theaters screening Interstellar on film opened two days prior to their digital counterparts. This caused people who were not film-tech-literate to ask what the difference between the formats are, and which theater format was the "best" to see the movie in. Below is a list explaining the difference between each format in layman's terms. For a more detailed explanation as well as a listing of where to find these specialized format theaters click here.

IMAX 70mm: Going to a IMAX 70mm theatre was the optimal way to see Interstellar. The movie was shot using IMAX 70mm film cameras, which are the highest resolution cameras yet devised. As such, when shown in an 70mm IMAX theatre, the sequences shot on IMAX were shown in their highest possible quality, ten times the resolution of standard projection formats, and fill the giant IMAX screens from top to bottom (as opposed to films not shot in IMAX which have black bars on the top and bottom of the screen). Interstellar opened two days early in IMAX 70mm in approximately 50 theaters across the United States

Standard 70mm film: A standard 70mm film theater offers an image with three times the resolution of standard projection formats. Though a 70mm theater is wide, it is not as high as a IMAX screen, and, as such, scenes of the film shot using IMAX cameras have been cropped at the top and bottom to fill the wide screen. Interstellar opened two days early in standard 70mm in approximately ten theaters across the United States.

IMAX Digital: IMAX digital has a picture quality that is higher than a standard theater, but lower than IMAX or 70mm. While most IMAX digital screens (those in cineplexes) are not anywhere near as large as a true 70mm IMAX screen, they are larger than a conventional theater. Therefore, when presented on digital IMAX, the sequences shot on IMAX cameras will fill the digital IMAX screens from top to bottom. However, this is not as high as a 70mm IMAX theater (an aspect ratio of up to 1.9:1. as opposed to 1.44:1). Some original (purpose-built) IMAX theaters have been converted to 4K digital projection; these combine the resolution of IMAX Digital with the aspect ratio of IMAX 70mm.

35mm Film: As 35mm is shown on standard theater screens, it is not as high as a IMAX screen. As such, the scenes of the film shot using IMAX cameras have been cropped at the top and bottom to fill the wide screen. However, many scenes of Interstellar were shot using 35mm film cameras. Seeing the film in that format will be preserving all the rich analog color and high resolution of the original 35mm photography. Interstellar will open two days early in 35mm film in approximately 189 theaters across the United States.

4K Digital: As 4K digital is shown on standard theater screens, it is not as high as a IMAX screen. As such, the scenes of the film shot using IMAX cameras have been cropped at the top and bottom to fill the wide screen. 4K digital projection produces a clear, bright, high-resolution image with absolute stability and cleanliness.

Standard Digital (2k DCP): As Standard Digital is shown on a standard theater screen, it is not as high as a IMAX screen. As such, scenes of the film shot using IMAX cameras have been cropped at the top and bottom to fill the wide screen. Standard digital is a quarter of the resolution of 4K digital.

Further Information: Here.

As stated by Dr. Mann, despite their intelligence and physical capabilities, robots such as TARS and CASE do not have the ability to adapt and improvise in unexpected situations. For example, when Mann blows the airlock of the Endurance and Cooper attempts to dock, CASE warns him that it is impossible, yet Cooper manages to dock anyway. TARS likely wouldn't have attempted such a risky maneuver because he doesn't have a human's capacity for risk-taking that Cooper does. Another example is on Miller's Planet when the Ranger is hit by a wave and the engine is waterlogged. CASE simply wished to remain on the Ranger until the engines dried out on their own. However, Cooper sparked the engine with oxygen to start it quickly, which allowed them to escape. Had CASE or TARS been the one in command in both circumstances, it is likely that they would not have tried to dock on the Endurance or start the engines on Miller's planet, which would ultimately have led to the failure of the mission.

An accretion disk's light is caused by friction, which in turn is caused by the spinning of the gas and dust orbiting a black hole. The faster the disk spins, the more friction, and thus more energy, is created. This energy radiates in the form of electromagnetic radiation (UV rays, X rays, etc) and heat. The faster the black hole spins, the more is formed. According to Kip Thorne's book, "The Science of Interstellar", due to Gargantua's massive size, the accretion disk only spins fast enough to form limited amounts of heat, and thus only produces small amounts of electromagnetic radiation (Roughly on a solar level). The accretion disk does not actually "bend over" the black hole, that is simply an illusion caused by the bending of light due to Gargantua's gravity. Thus, if the Endurance remained a sufficient distance from the disk, it would be unscathed.

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