A Wrinkle in Time trailer breakdown: everything we know about the tesseract

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Jul 17, 2017

A Wrinkle in Time swept me away into the distant worlds of Uriel, Ixchel and the dreadful Camazotz back in the fifth grade, when I was just as much of a misfit as Meg and needed a tesseract to time-warp myself away from Earth. After years of imagining those pages cinematically coming to life, science and Hollywood have done the impossible and brought it into the film dimension.

Now Disney and director Ava DuVernay have sent the first trailer through time and space to mesmerize us. What the Happy Medium’s crystal ball reveals is a sci-fi spectacle of strange planets and even stranger creatures, unspeakable evil, and the forces of the human psyche that could be powerful enough to break darkness with blinding light.

Whether or not you were transfixed and possibly mind-controlled by the book, this trailer is a wormhole you’ll want to plunge into.

Meg Murry is the most unlikely heroine ever

You don’t exactly think “Wonder Woman”—or really, anyone with the potential to save the universe from being vaporized—when you see an insecure teenage girl staring down at a ghost of her reflection on a rainy day.

Make that incredibly unlikely

Meg’s also about as mind-numbingly normal as you can get, and doesn’t stand out any more than the mass produced suburb she lives in. She doesn’t even have the nerve to find a basketball team in gym class.

Her dad is either really genius or really insane

“What if we are here for a reason? What if we are part of something truly divine?” Dr. Murry eagerly questions (yes, that is Chris Pine). This can only be coming from someone who either has an incredible theory to back it up, or has been reading too much Kafka and binge-watching sci-fi movies.

Genius is more like it

Because existentialism probably isn’t the topic you want to be bringing up to an auditorium full of scientists, Dr. Murray launches into his theory of how to travel 91 billion light-years just like that. Which is still pretty insane.

Meg's mom is leery of this whole time-travel thing…

A scientist married to another scientist would know quantum physics is nothing to mess around with. What if you end up eternally floating in a cosmic chasm, or gravity shreds you down to your last subatomic particle?

…because this is what happens when you defy the laws of physics

You don’t just end up surrounded by orange walls in some unknown place with no exit door. Trying to fathom how he managed to shoot through billions of light years in one piece makes my brain want to explode.

Meg still loves him fiercely

Even if she can’t wrap her mind around quantum entangled electrons, the one thing she does get is, as her mother says in a telling voiceover, that Dad has “accomplished something extraordinary…and dangerous.” Emphasis on “dangerous.”

Dr. Murray's experiment must have spiraled out of control

With a glimpse into how intensely he zeroes in on the tesseract prototype, you get the idea that Dr. Murry wasn’t dying to break into some inescapable box in an alternate dimension. He must have warped the wrong thing.

Mass destruction is imminent

The last thing Meg and fellow misfit Cal are in the mood for is enjoying the view in a forest where something massive just exploded. But what sort of monstrous force is behind it?

Dr. Murry isn’t just lost in space

Things get real when the terrified physicist becomes aware that bending the fabric of spacetime has landed him in some sort of prison. Welcome to Camazotz.

Shadows are creeping up on the universe.

In case you can’t tell, the physicist just found himself in an extraterrestrial jail cell. A voice ominously says, “he is trapped by a darkness that’s actively spreading throughout the universe”.

You meet Mrs. Whatsit…

That strange neighbor of Meg’s turns out to be Reese Witherspoon as some sort of otherworldly being who only looks human.

… and Mrs. Who…

Her companion, played by Mindy Kaling, is no less weird, and has the most awesome glasses ever.

…and Mrs. Which

In case that voice who foretold an encroaching darkness sounded familiar, it’s Oprah Winfrey as the final humanoid creature of the three who “wrinkle” space and time by creating a fifth dimension.

By the way, guess who has to stop the darkness

Meg probably has a sinking feeling about this, but she has to be the one to free her captive father from the planet Camazotz before the IT, aka a mind-manipulating disembodied brain, sucks out his sanity.

Meg undergoes a transformation

She may keep her lack of fashion sense, but Megatron actually looks like she’s mentally reaching out to every force in the universe for the courage that was once an alien concept to her.

Monsters aren’t always what they seem

Could that be the benevolent Aunt Beast among those enormous creatures that look like living AT-AT walkers?

There’s always a Happy Medium

No one could possibly pull off this eccentric fortuneteller better than Zach Galifianakis. He doesn’t look too happy in this shot, but that could possibly be from revealing a grim future in his crystal ball.

Some planets are dangerous. Really dangerous

Whether this is a tower, the remnant of a tower, or something vaguely resembling a tower rising out of the fog, nothing you reach via a series of rocks suspended in midair can possibly be safe.

Speaking of peril, it gets worse

You know you’re really on a quest when you have to make your way up a fiery spiral structure, with nowhere to go but hundreds, possibly thousands, of feet down if you fall.

Sunglasses hide evil

If you encountered a guy in a neon tracksuit with hypnotic red eyes, your first instinct would probably be to run like the world was ending, and you’d better, since the world (and many other worlds) really could be ending and he can also possess your brain.

Camazotz is the new Stepford

On a planet where everyone’s gray matter is manipulated by IT, the scene where automaton mothers call their automaton kids to dinner in almost computerized unison is downright creepy.

The only thing faster than light is the darkness

Such is the wisdom of Mrs. Which, but this is ironically coming from a being who travels at the speed of light to outrun time.