Christopher Nolan, despite his genre work, always feels more Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood than MCU. He just works in a more classical way. He restored (or de-restored) 2001: A Space Odyssey for prime theatrical viewing. Now his latest, Tenet, has released a trailer in a way totally unheard of in today's marketing landscape: totally offline.
Tenet — "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage" starring the likes of John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh, Clemence Poesy, Dimple Kapadia, and Michael Caine — has launched its first teaser trailer into the world, but only in theaters. Reportedly playing before Hobbs & Shaw, the trailer (which has been bootlegged repeatedly on social media, though we'd obviously encourage anyone curious to see it on the big screen) gives Nolan diehards a glimpse at the notoriously tight-lipped director's latest.
Nolan's last film, the grounded war epic Dunkirk, turned away from genre and embraced pure adrenaline. Tenet looks to head back to the realms of the otherworldly, even if it's just to make Washington's protagonist into some kind of superspy. The teaser showed off the actor walking behind bulletproof glass, with an impact mark showing that someone had recently tested that description. With an emphasis on time (found in the taglines “Time has come for a new protagonist” and “Time has come for a new kind of mission”), could this hero be able to rewind and change fate? With gas masks, anaesthetic face masks, and plenty of warring imagery supplementing a briefly-glimpsed fist-fight, Tenet looks like it'll be way more supersolider than Jason Bourne.
But also — who knows? It's Nolan's desire to be vague and, in keeping the trailer only in theaters for now, away from the analysis of the internet. If fans ever needed a reason to go to the theater, however, this is probably it.
Tenet arrives in theaters July 12, 2020.