John David Washington is ready for action in these exclusive new Tenet images

Christopher Nolan and John David Washington on set of Tenet.
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

A new Christopher Nolan movie is always an event, and Tenet is no exception. An espionage epic starring BlacKkKlansman's John David Washington as a new kind of spy-movie protagonist, it's the type of big-scale original we see all too rarely these days.

As the new Tenet trailer revealed, the film follows Washington on a mission to "prevent World War 3", the outcome of which could be worse than armageddon. His target is a Russian national (Kenneth Branagh), who can communicate with the future, not through time travel, but time inversion. All he has to go on? A word: Tenet.

Expect gigantic scale set-pieces, mind-scrambling concepts, sharply-suited heroes and guns catching bullets, rather than firing them. As Washington says in the trailer, "Whoa."

“It’s a film of great ambition and great scale that takes a genre, namely the spy film, and tries to take it into some new territory, and tries to take the audience on a ride they might not have had before, and might not be expecting,” says Christopher Nolan, talking to our sister publication Total Film magazine, in their upcoming Tenet cover story.

You can see Nolan on set with star Washington in the exclusive new image from Total Film, above, as well as exclusive new images of Washington and co-stars Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh below.

John David Washington in Christopher Nolan's Tenet

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Elizabeth Debicki in Christopher Nolan's Tenet.

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Kenneth Branagh in Christopher Nolan's Tenet.

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

“We’re looking at first and foremost giving the audience an incredible ride in the spy movie genre, but using the audience’s facility with following the conventions of that genre to push it into some interesting and unexpected territory,” adds Nolan.

Inside the new issue – which hits shelves, real and digital, this Friday, May 29 and you can preorder here – Total Film goes on set of Tenet to witness an explosive set-piece up close. Let's just say it involves a real, full-size plane. For much more from Nolan, producer Emma Thomas, and stars Washington, Debicki, Branagh and Robert Pattinson, be sure to grab a copy. Tenet is scheduled to open in cinemas on July 17, 2020. 

Total Film's Tenet cover

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Total Film)

If you're a fan of Total Film magazine, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue? Subscribe via and you'll start your subscription with TF299, the Tenet issue (note: new subscribers will receive the newsstand cover for this issue).

Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.