Everything We Know About Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’

Tenet Teaser Christopher Nolan

What is Christopher Nolan up to? Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Surprise, surprise: in typical Christopher Nolan fashion, the marketing campaign for his mysterious new film Tenet has unexpectedly begun. The first teaser for the film debuted in theaters in front of Hobbs & Shaw on Thursday night, and we’ve got a complete rundown of the footage. You’re welcome.

Nolan has quietly been developing Tenet since his 2017 World War II epic Dunkirk, and the film is a return to his original sci-fi roots. It is set within the world of espionage and may very well connect to the time continuum. In other words, it’s Nolan’s take on both a James Bond film and a time travel movie. Intriguing, no? Warner Bros. has already staked out a juicy July 2020 release date for the feature and is billing it as an event film. Considering Nolan has become a brand unto himself with his marriage of commercial blockbuster appeal and complex storytelling, it’s safe to say the studio is expecting a big bucks debut.

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So, what was shown in the brief teaser that has not yet been released online? The camera opens on a bullet hole set deep within what seems to be be bullet-proof glass. Right off the bat, you know things have gone sideway in whatever situation this may be. Star John David Washington, whose unnamed character will be the lead, is inspecting the bullet hole. The screen cuts to black and the tagline, “Time has come for a new protagonist,” appears. We then return to Washington, but the scene’s depth of frame appears slightly altered, as if something is just a bit off about the perspective.

Another cut to black: “Time has come for a new kind of mission.” Again, we return to Washington who seems even farther away than before. He approaches the glass and touches the bullet hole. Cut to black: “From Christopher Nolan” (branding!). Washington then slowly strides to yet another bullet hole to the right of the first one before another cut to black, and when we return to the character, he is repeating the same motion. Yeah, we’re thinking time absolutely plays a crucial role in whatever Tenet has going on.

Washington’s character then touches the second bullet hole, and we cut to the film’s logo rotating counterclockwise. From there, there is a series of quick cuts between the logo and Washington in action—running with riot gear, fighting someone, being physically escorted somewhere by two men. The trailer ends with Washington using an oxygen mask while a door opens in front of him.

Nolan, you had our curiosity, but now you have our attention.

Tenet stars Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine and more. It has been described as “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Everything We Know About Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’