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SYFY WIRE Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan Teases “Interesting Relationship” Between Endings of Inception and Oppenheimer

Maybe a post-credits scene will reveal whether Cobb was dreaming or not.

By Josh Weiss

With Oppenheimer (hitting the big screen July 21 by way of Universal Pictures), Christopher Nolan turns the clock back to the Second World War, a historical era the celebrated filmmaker depicted to much acclaim six years ago in the Oscar-winning Dunkirk.

Intentional or not, the director is more than halfway to completing an unofficial "War is Hell" trilogy. But while it may seem like the forthcoming atomic bomb thriller fronted by Cillian Murphy (portraying the man, the myth, the legend — J. Robert Oppenheimer) serves as spiritual sequel to Dunkirk, Nolan believes it shares more in common with one of his most genre-heavy projects.

"It's funny, I think there is an interesting relationship between the endings of Inception and Oppenheimer to be explored," he teased during a lengthy interview with WIRED. "Oppenheimer's got a complicated ending. Complicated feelings."

RELATED: Christopher Nolan Says Fellow Filmmaker Described Oppenheimer As “A Kind Of Horror Movie”

Chris Nolan's Oppenheimer presents questions that aren't easily answered

More than a decade later, the final moments of Inception continue to fascinate audiences and fuel heated discussions. Did Leonard DiCaprio's Cobb really make it home to his children or was actually he stuck in Limbo? Was the top about to fall over or was it doomed to spin forever?

We still get goosebumps just thinking about it, especially as we type these words to "Time" by Hans Zimmer. "He's moved on and is with his kids," Nolan explained. "The ambiguity is not an emotional ambiguity. It's an intellectual one for the audience."

Oppenheimer — which Nolan wrote, directed, and produced — presents viewers with similar ambiguities that have no concrete answers. It's a tale of how our species unlocked the terrifying secrets of the atom and, in doing so, set civilization down a path of jealously guarded secrets, rampant paranoia, and the ever-looming suggestion that we may one day be responsible for our own extinction.

"Oppenheimer's story is all impossible questions. Impossible ethical dilemmas, paradox. There are no easy answers in his story," the director continued. "There are just difficult questions, and that's what makes the story so compelling. I think we were able to find a lot of things to be optimistic about in the film, genuinely, but there's this sort of overriding bigger question that hangs over it. It felt essential that there be questions at the end that you leave rattling in people's brains, and prompting discussion."

Drawing upon American Prometheus (the massive, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography written by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin), Oppenheimer arrives exclusively on the big screen Friday, July 21. Click here for tickets!

Jonesing for another thriller based on true events? A Friend of the Family is now streaming on Peacock.