Oblivion
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FAQ for
Oblivion (2013/I) More at IMDbPro »

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A Note Regarding Spoilers

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 Oblivion can be found here.

Oblivion is based on the director Joseph Kosinski's unpublished graphic novel of the same name which he had developed with Arvid Nelson for Radical Comics. Initial rushes of the novel were shown at the 2010 San-Diego comic con by Kosinski while promoting his then upcoming movie TRON: Legacy (2012). The novel attracted a lot of attention from movie studios with quite a lot of them bidding for the movie rights. The rights were eventually secured by Universal Pictures. Oblivion is planned to be published as an 'illustrated novel', not a graphic novel. See Jesse Berger's (co-founder of Radical Studios, the future publisher) comment here:


F]or clarification, the illustrated novel will be published. 100% fact. Radical controls the publication rights and has every intent to release the book. Unfortunately, as the film began to take off, Joes focused turned towards the film and the release of the book was delayed so that the twist of the film would not be revealed. Joe may have lost interest, but Radical has not! Like all of Radicals content, while we always hoped that we would be so lucky to make films, tv shows, games and merchandise from our titles, we always first focused on telling incredible stories, by visionary creators, with amazing art and top quality paper, marketing and distribution. That is the case with the Oblivion illustrated novel, which is a powerful story, but unfortunately, we will have to wait for the holdout period to expire after the films release, before we can put the book out. Hold guys, the world will see this amazing product soon enough. -Jesse Berger, Co-founder/EVP Radical Studios.

From the director:


The notion of heavy hydrogen or deuterium existed in our seawater as being a very special thing in the universe. Heavy hydrogen is an element that exists in very trace amounts in our seawater, and it's used to create kind of the purest form of fusion energy. that's one thing that makes Earth valuable, that energy source. Source
Ionized deuterium also gives off a pinkish-red hue which would explain the pinkish color emitted from the drones' power cores.

From the director:


Well there's a little clue when Jack goes to the stadium, the drone 166 has been shot down and the fuel cell has been taken and its been damaged. Vica says to Jack, "The whole central core is off alignment, you don't have the necessary tools down there." And Jack uses a piece of chewing gum to glue a piece back in place so that it works. That is an example of something that only a human can do. That level of ingenuity, that level of improvisation is something that we are very good at. The Tet realizes that we are very useful at thinking on our feet and on the fly. That's why humans make great drone repairman. What the Tet didn't realize is that same level of ingenuity and what it is that makes us special ultimately leads to us getting the idea that maybe there's a way to take down the system. Source

First of all, because Julia had to cross a much larger distance than Jack. But there are more factors.

When Jack released Julia, he said they would be sent into the orbit of the Earth. At this time both the Tet and the Odyssey are near Jupiter. The ejected segment containing Julia and the rest of the crew in delta sleep was set for course towards Earth. The Tet captured the Odyssey's command module with Jack and Victoria in it, and kept on moving towards Earth at unknown speed. It did not encounter the sleep model with Julia in it, or it simply didn't bother with it. The Tet started producing mass amounts of clones of Jack and Victoria. After it reached Earth, the war took place, with the clones used as soldiers. Society and much of Earth was destroyed as a result, and what remained of humanity went underground.

The sleep module may have taken months or years to reach Earth, depending on its speed. Unmanned Earth vessels from the last three decades could make the trip within 6 years, depending on their speed and flightpath. It is therefore plausible that the sleep module did not need the entire 60 years for the trip home, and spent several years or perhaps decades in orbit around Earth; the Tet may have continued to ignore it, or didn't notice it between all the satelites also orbiting the Earth.

In the meantime, the remnants of humanity learned of the ejected sleep module still orbiting the planet. Sixty years after the war, they used the remains of the Empire State Building to transmit a landing signal to it, forcing it to crash-land within their territory. Since the module responded quite fast to the signal (within a day after activation), it is likely it was already waiting in orbit rather than just coincidentally arriving at Earth. When Jack flies back to the Tet, it is orbiting the Earth, which is a much shorter voyage than from Earth to Jupiter.

Because it simply cannot understand human nature. The Tet is an artificial life form, which can anticipate human responses to certain extents, but it can never comprehend the emotions behind them. It mistakenly thought it had learned all about humans from studying the data aboard the Odyssey.

That's why it took Jack Harper and cloned him by the thousands: with no memories of his earlier life, it expected Jack could be programmed to be the perfect weapon to wage its war. By thinking it understood him, it thought it could have absolute control over him. Which was true during the war, when the army of Jacks nearly wiped out humanity. The Tet probably assumed that the remaining people would fear the sight of him forever, and never reach out to any of the Jacks remaining on Earth as caretakers. So the Tet could easily fool Jack into thinking that the humans in disguise were remaining Scavs.

Its flaw was that it did not expect Jack to retain one vital memory, one of the love for his wife. It was so deeply rooted in his emotional being that it would resurface in every clone of Jack, given enough time and opportunity (notice that Jack from Tower 52 freezes temporarily at the sight of Julia, implying he remembers her as well). Even more so, the capacity to love also extends to all things from the Earth, its environment, music and culture. Despite having no memories, Jack still feels that Earth is his home. The Tet did not realize that a love for the Earth is so deeply rooted in humanity that it cannot simply be 'erased' (according to Victory from Tower 52, Jack 52 also had a similar desire to stay on Earth).

So the flaw in the Tet's plan started to backfire when General Beach (Morgan Freeman) noticed Jack 49 picking up a book, and saw him defending the people in the pods against the drone; this convinced him that despite everything, Jack had retained his humanity. The Tet never knew that Jack was cooperating with the other humans, and didn't expect him to. Even when Jack learned the truth about the Scavs and the Tet, the Tet was convinced Jack was no longer human, and thought it could keep his allegiance by promising him things. Nor did the Tet understand the true meaning of death. It simply thinks that all humans have an instinctive urge to stay alive, and does not calculate that Jack may sacrifice himself for Earth and its people. Even when the Tet seems to suspect something is wrong as Jack proceeds into the object's interior, and suspects he might be lying, it ultimately accepts as true his genuine desire for humanity to survive.

As for the Tet not suspecting that Jack may be carrying the drones' missing fuel cells: it had ordered the drones to follow Jack's trail to the humans' secret hide-out, and may have assumed that the drones would wipe out the entire human resistance, along with the fuel cells. Again, since Tet did not expect Jack to work with the humans, it did not know that Jack had helped them defeat the drones and obtained the fuel cells.

While similarities can be found between the two works, Kosinski wrote the story for Oblivion in 2005 after moving to Los Angeles, but the writers' strike in 2007 prevented him from shopping around the treatment to studios so he had Radical Comics begin turning the project into a graphic novel. The unreleased graphic novel was later used to pitch the movie to film studios. Moon was released in 2009. Source

The shoulder belt for Jack's weapon was covering his old tower number for the majority of the time that he was at Tower 52. Also, she had no reason to notice it. As far as she was aware, he was the only Jack, and she wouldn't bother to make a conscious effort to notice a number that had never changed before.

It is not made clear in the film whether or not the Tet is acting autonomously, unbeholden to any alien species, or performing duties assigned to it by, or on behalf of. some aliens who might've created it. The film establishes that the Tet utilizes deuterium extracted from Earth's seawater to power itself and its drones, but the audience does not learn if this fuel energy-source is also being collected and harvested for delivery back to some extraterrestrial point of origin. It is also possible that the Tet is now a self-sustaining AI with only the intention of survival for itself, moving from one world to the next much like a parasite. This is what Malcolm hinted at. The answer to this question is mostly left to viewer speculation.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 1 month ago
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