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‘The Creator’ Trailer Sees if A.I. Can Dream On

John David Washington as Joshua in 20th Century Studios' THE CREATOR. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

20th Century Pictures has released the first trailer for Gareth EdwardsThe Creator. The sci-fi thriller sees John David Washington (Tenet), Gemma Chan (Eternals), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Sturgill Simpson (Dog), newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles, and Academy Award-winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya) in a future where humanity and A.I. are engaged in an all-out war. And the only one who can stop it suddenly has a crisis of conscience when the very thing he was sent out to destroy must be the life he has to protect.

John David Washington as Joshua in 20th Century Studios’ THE CREATOR. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The trailer opens with Joshua (Washington) answering a child’s questions about heaven and how humans can get into paradise. His answer is biblically simple yet profound. “Only good people get to go to heaven,” he says to her. It’s not clear why they are together or are having this conversation, but the trailer later reveals the nature of their relationship and foreshadows the plot and the film’s themes.

Footage of blue beams of light shooting down from the sky gives us a small sample of the film’s size and scope, while the conflicts between humans and A.I. on Earth reveal a more grounded approach to the sci-fi story. It then shows Joshua and his team being deployed to infiltrate a highly secured base that is trying to protect a very important asset. So much so they’ve fortified it so that no one can get in. Of course, humanity finds a way. The only problem is that Joshua makes a startling discovery. The voiceover than rolls back to that very conversation Joshua had in the beginning of the trailer. “We cannot go into heaven,” she says. “Because you’re not good, and I am not a person.”

Madeline Voyles as Alphie in 20th Century Studios’ THE CREATOR. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

That’s right, the very thing that Joshua had been sent out to kill is an innocent A.I. child. And if Joshua doesn’t complete his mission, humanity is at risk of extinction. And with that, Joshua is having a crisis of conscience. How is one supposed to kill a target that is so innocent and capable of being a human? All this happens as Aerosmith’s “Dream On” plays in the background.

The trailer also reveals the unlikely dichotomy between humans and robots, with humans living in a grungy apocalyptic city while A.I. lives in forgotten temples. There are also shots of large space stations, starships docking just above the atmosphere, and massive bases. All of which is reminiscent of Edwards’ vision of visual storytelling. So it will be interesting to see how much more nuance there is to the story and how all of these characters are connected.

The film’s screenplay is by Edwards and Chris Weitz, from a story by Edwards. The producers are Gareth Edwards, p.g.a., Kiri Hart, Jim Spencer, p.g.a. and Arnon Milchan. The executive producers are Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, Natalie Lehmann, Nick Meyer and Zev Foreman.

The Creator opens in theaters on September 29, 2023.

Here’s the official plot synopsis for The Creator:

Amidst a future war between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, Joshua (Washington), a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife (Chan), is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced A.I. who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war… and mankind itself.  Joshua and his team of elite operatives journey across enemy lines, into the dark heart of A.I.-occupied territory… only to discover the world-ending weapon he’s been instructed to destroy is an A.I. in the form of a young child.

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