Warning: The following story contains spoilers for Mute, so stop reading this now, go stream it on Netflix, then come back.
Part of the fun of diving into Duncan Jones' original sci-fi thriller Mute was seeing how the director of Warcraft and Source Code would tie this new film into Moon, his pioneering space-set pulse-racer that starred Sam Rockwell as a stranded astronaut aboard a moon base. If you watched Mute, you caught Rockwell's astronaut, Sam Bell, and his numerous clones on a TV screen in a scene with Alexander Skarsgard's mute hero, Leo. Sam Bell is confronting Lunar Industries, the company that stranded him aboard his moon base in the 2009 movie. Now Jones is saying that he has a way to continue Bell's story in a third movie, explaining:
For the third film, you'll see Sam again probably in the same way you saw him in Mute -- him in the universe of the story being told. That's what I'm thinking, but it's flexible.
Duncan Jones was speaking about key Mute scenes with Business Insider, and he shared above his plans to possibly conclude Sam Bell's "mission" to return home and confront the company that duped him into manning a lunar base for longer than anticipated. But as Jones notes, the story of astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) would not be the focus of a third story in this universe. It'd merely play out in the backgrounds of a separate story that happened to run parallel to whatever tale Jones was spinning.
During our recent conversation with Duncan Jones, the Mute filmmaker actually admitted to filming more scenes that referenced Sam Bell for the Netflix release, though they didn't make the final cut. Jones told us:
There were a couple of things that, you know... there's an ongoing kind of poster 'Free the Sams' campaign that's going on in the background. We shot a couple of other optional things and let you know that sort of [had] Sam Bell being this folk hero almost, that people were campaigning to see him freed. So there was a couple of different sort of locations where he's talking to news media. But it was always just going to be an ongoing news story which is in the background of various media as we tell the story of Mute.
Mute is set in a futuristic version of Berlin, Germany, and primarily follows a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgard) as he searches for his missing girlfriend. His quest puts him on the same path as two seedy surgeons, played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. See a bit of Duncan Jones' vision in the Mute trailer: