In 2010, Christopher Nolan directed a film that was so spine-tingling and conceptually boundless it made most of us doubt our very existence.
In the age of franchise after franchise, Hollywood ploughs out guaranteed blockbusters, success stories and origin prequels off the back of their older brothers and sisters. So why did we never get an Inception 2?
Well, despite Inception ‘s spectacular Academy Award-winning success we never heard from Leo and his motley crew of bandits again. Looper has the answers.
Apart from the mind-boggling brain power it would take to figure out if Inception within Inception was even possible, there are a few reasons Christopher Nolan hasn’t returned to intercept everything we know to be true with a second narrative take on Inception‘s conceptual boundlessness.
Although the director was initially open to the idea of a sequel, largely thanks to the success of his epic Batman trilogy, he always saw Inception as a standalone film.
He told Deadline:
I’ve always liked the potential of the world. It’s an infinite, or perhaps I should say infinitesimal world that fascinates me.
I think of Inception as one film, but that’s how I approach all of my films. When I was making Batman Begins, I certainly didn’t have any thoughts of doing a second Batman film, let alone a third.
You never quite know where your creative interests are going to take you. But when I was making Inception, I viewed it as a standalone movie.
Nolan actually considered creating an Inception video game, which would have suited the film’s action-packed dynamism.
Undeniably, a multi-player gaming platform would be much more versatile in tackling the alternate dream realities you simply can’t cover in a two-dimensional film screen.
Although the game would offer an even more expansive place for story-telling, it is still only a ‘longer-term proposition’ according to Nolan and nothing is yet confirmed.
Regarding the story itself, many of us were left confused by an ending that seemed to leave the narrative open, with the spinning top still playing its mind games on us all. In actual fact, Nolan had intended that ending to be a much more final resolution.
The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb – he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality.
He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.
Finally, it seems the nail in the coffin – as ever in Hollywood – is the budget.
Inception was expensive to make and although it earned $825 million worldwide, blockbuster trends show that top grossing films’ sequels tend not to do so well at the box office.
When you pair that with the extra costs it would require to make Inception bigger and better for the ever-demanding film audience, the film might actually not be the cash cow you might expect.
Of course, there’s one small matter of the excellent cast and director going onto make a multitude of brilliant films since Inception, from The Revenant to the sci-fi epic Interstellar.
You can watch the full video explaining the sorry tale behind the lack of Inception sequel on Looper.
One thing is for certain: Inception was the stuff of dreams.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.