We asked Christopher Nolan about Tenet fan theories and a potential sequel

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Before Tenet arrived in cinemas, we were borderline clueless as to what, exactly, the movie was actually about. Our set report made it clear this would be one of the most explosive movies of the year, yet plot specifics were fleeting. Time would factor in, somehow, and John David Washington was... in the movie.  

Catching up with Christopher Nolan now, after Tenet's release, the director remains coy when it comes to specifics. Asked by Total film in the new issue of the magazine whether there's room for a sequel about Washington's The Protagonist, Nolan says "I don’t really want to answer that question. [laughs] I’m not going to. The answer I’ll give you is: the choice to do a sequel or not to do a sequel is not based on any kind of principle of whether I do sequels or not. Each project is assessed on its own merit."

On the fan theories that have been eating up bandwidth in various internet forums: "It's always fun when you've made something that people are interested to debate and discuss and come up with theories. The wonderful thing about an audience’s response to the work that you’ve put there, and the thing that’s really exciting for a filmmaker, is that there are all kinds of things that you’re hoping that people will notice and that they’ll respond to, but you just have no idea what people are going to come up with, and how they’re going to interpret things."

It's perhaps no surprise that Nolan doesn't want to go into specifics. Even when making Tenet, the filmmaker found it difficult to relay information to the cast and crew. "What I loved about this premise, and what kept me going with it, is that it doesn’t really work on the page. It doesn’t even work to explain it," he says. "You actually have to see it cinematically. That’s based on the fact that the camera can see time. The camera can see something and manipulate something that we can’t in ordinary life. We can see things run backwards with the camera. We can see things run slowly or fast with a camera. So what you’re working on, for me, is really a big prize for any filmmaker: you’re finding a subject that can really only work as a film."

Tenet is available on home-release from December 14. For our full interview with Christopher Nolan, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits shelves real and digital this Friday, December 11. Check out the new covers of Total Film below: the one on the right is on its way to subscribers right now.

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(Image credit: Total Film)
Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.