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SYFY WIRE Tommy Lee Jones

The new trailer for Ad Astra goes deeper into space, and its own mystery

By Andy Hunsaker
Brad Pitt in Ad Astra

If you're looking for more grounded sci-fi than you typically get in a run-of-the-mill action flick, the second trailer for Ad Astra will likely remedy that.  

The film re-teams The Lost City of Z director James Gray with producer Brad Pitt, who's back in front of the camera in the moody sci-fi drama. As revealed in the first trailer, Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, a man with some deep-seated personality issues, who heads off into space in search of his long-lost father, Clifford, played by Tommy Lee Jones. The second trailer reveals an interesting twist: Roy's father might not actually want to be found. 

You can check out the new trailer right here: 

Gray also revealed some details about how he approached story to Vanity Fair, who revealed the trailer early Thursday morning. Specifically, how Gray's using Pitt's mythic movie star persona to subvert the All-American hero trope with Roy's psychological issues. "It’s really more of an attempt by us to examine a schizoid personality," Gray said, "and how that is preferred for astronauts in space travel because you don’t have to connect emotionally."

It's worth noting that "schizoid personality disorder" is not the same thing as "schizophrenia," as the disorder has more to do with repressed emotions and a tendency to favor solitude. 

Gray's made it known that he's attempting to take a more realistic approach to sci-fi, saying his goal was "to try and adhere to the possible at all times." The trailer shows us some intriguingly dark concepts about the future of space travel, even hinting at sabotage, and rival gangs of astronauts racing rovers and shooting at each other while still wearing those iconic spacewalk suits - which is somewhat jarring given the current celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk.

That's likely no accident. Gray says that Jones' character, Clifford, is a "Buzz Aldrin-type figure—if he’d gone mad in deep space." It seems he's also not going to shy away from relevance, noting that the story is about "the last grasp of the patriarchy." 

In addition to the trailer, there's also a brand new poster, that promises the answers are "just outside our reach." 

Ad Astra

Ad Astra also stars Ruth Negga (Preacher), Liv Tyler (The Leftovers), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games). The grounded sci-fi epic will drift into theaters on September 20.