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Tenet: John David Washington is a superspy in time-twisting trailer for Chris Nolan's next movie

By Josh Weiss
Tenet John David Washington

After months and months (and months) of mystery, Christopher Nolan's next movie, Tenet, finally has a first trailer. And you know what? We're still not sure what the hell this movie is about.

John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) stars as a globe-trotting spy (we don't know the character's name yet) who joins a special "afterlife" program following a test in which he refused to give up colleagues and then decided to bite down on a cyanide capsule. His new mission involves preventing World War III, but nothing as trivial as nuclear holocaust is at stake here. The outcome, if it happens, is much, much worse than atomic annihilation.

Check out the trailer, which involves some sort of time manipulation, below:

Stuff's moving backwards, Washington's character is predicting the future, and we're over here scratching our heads in utter confusion. That's Nolan for you, though. He keeps you guessing until the last possible second. However, we do know that the filmmaker has a fascination with the concept of time. It's popped up in nearly every film he's made from Inception, to Interstellar, to Dunkirk.

“We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places," the director recently told Entertainment Weekly about the project. "We’re crossing a few different genres in a hopefully exciting and fresh way. [Producer] Emma [Thomas] and I have put together a lot of large-scale productions, but this is certainly the biggest in terms of international reach. We shot in seven countries, all over the place, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.”

Here's the first Inception-y first poster as well:

Tenet poster

Also written by Nolan, Tenet features an all-star supporting cast of Robert Pattison (The Batman), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express), Michael Caine (the director's good luck charm), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Denzil Smith (Ezra), Dimple Kapadia (Brahmastra), and Martin Donovan (Ant-Man).

Based on the trailer, it looks like Pattinson is playing Washington's field partner, while Donovan takes up the mantle of the main character's handler.

Tenet will begin to mess with our heads when it hits theaters on July 17, 2020.

What did you think of the trailer? Let us know your theories and thoughts in the comments below!