‘The Creator’ Ending Explained: Director Gareth Edwards Calls It ‘Bittersweet’

The filmmaker also addresses the comparisons to his last movie, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

John David Washington as Joshua in "The Creator" (20th Century Studios)

Gareth Edwards has many thoughts on the ending of “The Creator,” but he’s even more interested in what audiences think about how the sci-fi film — which depicts a war between mankind and AI — concludes.

In any war, the director notes, sacrifices are made. And in “The Creator’s” case, the ending is “bittersweet,” Edwards noted.

TheWrap asked him to elaborate on the final scenes and their implications (find out if there’s a post-credit here). Obviously, major spoilers from “The Creator” lie ahead, so you’ve been warned.

Spoiler alert: Read on for major plot reveals from “The Creator”

How does “The Creator” end?

In the final act, Joshua (John David Washington) rescues the AI child Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles) from the U.S. Army.

Using Alphie’s ability to control machines, the two commandeer a commercial flight into space and fly to the orbital defense platform NOMAD, just as the U.S. Army prepares to launch its missiles at the remaining A.I. strongholds around the world.

Joshua instructs Alphie to disable NOMAD from inside while he sets an explosive on a missile, hoping its payload will take out the entire platform.

Alphie completes her task and heads towards an escape pod, but along the way she finds a room full of simulants that look like Maya (Gemma Chan), the so-called “Creator” and Joshua’s wife. She manages to drag one of the simulants into a hydroponic farm and inserts the hard drive containing Maya’s memories.

Seemingly unable to reboot “Maya” and with time running out, Alphie makes her way to an escape pod. The army tries one more time to stop her using a squid-like robot (that resembles the sentinels from “The Matrix”) but Joshua intervenes. Unable to open the door to the escape pod, Joshua jettisons Alphie’s escape pod as the explosive he sets goes off.

Joshua makes his way to the farm, where he sees “Maya.” The two embrace as NOMAD blows up around them. Alphie makes it back to Earth safely, and emerges from the pod as AI robots cheer the destruction of NOMAD as it disintegrates in the atmosphere and falls to the planet.

Who dies in “The Creator”?

Joshua is killed in the NOMAD explosion along with the Maya simulant. The real Maya dies earlier when Joshua disconnects her from life support in New Asia, as the A.I. robots cannot harm their creator.

In fact, every major character in “The Creator” dies except for Alphie and Harun (Ken Watanabe), though Harun suffers a nasty chest wound from Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) before he takes her out with an explosive.

What does Gareth Edwards think of the ending of “The Creator”?

“I kind of really like endings that are bittersweet,” Edwards told TheWrap in an interview shortly before the film’s release. “When everything just ends happily and everybody’s fine, it doesn’t feel true to life. Usually there is a price to pay to especially to achieve something of that bigger consequence.”

And what of the inevitable comparisons to the ending of “Rogue One,” where heroes Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor embrace as Scarif is destroyed around them?

“I guess I’m just a fan of everybody dying,” Edwards explained. “Yeah. I don’t mean to do it. But when there’s a high stakes situation like a global war, it’s very hard to do something incredibly heroic and believe you can come out the other end of that and live. The reality is you’re probably not going to get out alive, to pull that kind of feat off.”

Does Edwards believe AI wins at the end?

“I’m interested in what people make of the very end moment of film,” Edwards said. “Because some people in early screenings took away the idea that is this bad. Does this now mean AI is gonna take over?”

“And I always personally translate it as a happy ending. I’m happy for our Alphie and the future of the world. But it’s interesting how some other people have interpreted it as this sort of sinister moment where maybe [mankind] was tricked. And this is the beginning of the end. And I like that. I like it when an ending is nicely balanced between interpretation. We’re not telling you how to feel about it. It’s up to the audience.”

Watch “The Creator” trailer

Watch the final trailer for “The Creator” below:


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