Exclusive11 minutes agoWhat Happens After ‘The Creator’s Ending is “Up for Grabs,” Director SaysByHoai-Tran BuiGareth Edwards reveals the original ending for The Creator, and how it shaped the movie.

Gareth Edwards had a vision for the ending of The Creator from the very beginning — literally. Back when the visually astonishing sci-fi blockbuster was first called True Love, Edwards had an idea of the film ending with his hero Joshua (John David Washington) “being reunited with his wife in heaven.”

“Everything worked backwards” from there, Edwards tells Inverse.

In the end, that’s not exactly what happened.

Warning! Spoilers for the ending of The Creator follow.

The Creator tells the story of a battle between humans and AI, with the AI simulants fleeing to “New Asia” from their American oppressors. The only hope of ending this bloody conflict lies in a new AI creation, Alfie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), a simulant child with the ability to shut down any technology with her mind. But as her abilities are still growing, it becomes the task of Joshua, who was originally sent by U.S. forces to murder her, to escort her to her destination: NOMAD.

NOMAD is America’s weapon of mass destruction, hanging high in space and preparing to wipe out the entirety of the simulant population. That’s where Joshua and Alfie find themselves in the final act of The Creator’s action-packed saga.

The Creator Ending Explained

Maya appears at the end of The Creator, but not in the way you’d expect.

20th Century Studios

After discovering that Alfie is a simulant that his wife Maya (Gemma Chan) engineered based on their unborn child, Joshua switches his allegiances and turns on humanity. He bids goodbye to his comatose wife, revealed to be the mythic “Nimrata” (aka the titular Creator) that U.S. forces had been trying to capture, and returns home to break Alfie out of the military compound where she’s being held. Together, they commandeer a space shuttle headed for the moon and reroute it to NOMAD, which is preparing to destroy all the New Asia cities harboring simulants. A thrilling heist sequence follows, with Joshua and Alfie successfully shutting down NOMAD right when it’s about to obliterate half of New Asia.

But on the way back to the shuttle, Alfie discovers a room full of sleeping simulants, one of which resembles Maya. She inputs Maya’s memory drive that Joshua acquired from his comatose wife’s bedside but has to flee the room to help Joshua before the drive fully loads. The two run out of time before the bombs that Joshua had planted all around NOMAD start to go off, and in a moment of noble self-sacrifice, Joshua sends Alfie back to Earth in the last shuttle. As NOMAD explodes around him, he finds his way back to the station’s field of self-sustaining crops, where he sees the simulant form of his wife Maya, now awake and harboring all her memories. They run to each other and embrace in a fiery explosion.

It’s not exactly the ending that Edwards originally envisioned, but maybe it’s close enough.

“Metaphorically, NOMAD was supposed to represent heaven at that point in the biosphere,” he tells Inverse.

What Happens After NOMAD is Destroyed?

A simulant in Tibetan robes looks up at NOMAD as it blasts a nearby village.

20th Century Studios

To Edwards, this was a happy ending. The simulants managed to destroy NOMAD, the weapon that was threatening to wipe out their entire race. “I always intended it as an optimistic view, like there’s going to be world peace,” Edwards says.

But he was fascinated to find that test audiences came out of the movie with an entirely different reading of the ending. “We screen the movie as you make it to friends and family and some people came out and felt it had a bit of sinisterness to it,” Edwards says. “I actually really like that. I like it when you’re on a knife’s edge at the end and it’s bittersweet and you have mixed emotions. It’s not just one simple result.”

“After the credits roll, I’m fascinated to find out what people think,” he adds.

So does Edwards have a concrete answer for what happens to the simulants after the debris has cleared? “I don’t know the answer, it’s up for grabs really.”

But that ambiguity doesn’t mean Edwards is eager to return to this world for a sequel.

“There’s no intention to do a sequel. I’m not interested in doing that. It’s a standalone movie.”

The Creator is playing in theaters now.