Christopher Nolan's First Tenet Trailer Is A Wild Ride That Messes With Time

Jon David Washington in Tenet

Christopher Nolan is a visionary filmmaker, who has shown his ability for world-creating, and large scale movies. Nolan's films are each iconic in their own way, including the Dark Knight Trilogy, dream focused action flick Inception, space movie Interstellar. All eyes were on what the acclaimed filmmaker would be producing next, following his thrilling war movie Dunkirk. And now we've got an idea of what's coming with the mysterious movie Tenet, as the first trailer has just arrived. Buckle up, because it looks like time manipulation and the afterlife are involved.

Syncopy Inc. and Christopher Nolan have been keeping the story of Tenet a complete mystery during filming, adding to the tension and anticipation for the upcoming action thriller. But the first trailer has finally arrived, giving a glimpse into what the upcoming movie might actually be about. Check it out for yourself below.

Wow. There's a lot to unpack here, and I might have more questions than before the trailer for Tenet arrives. Let's break down everything we're shown in this first trailer, and try to discern exactly what Christopher Nolan has in store for his for his whopping 13th directing venture.

Tenet's trailer opens on actor John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), as his character suits up for some dangerous mission that will send him scaling the side of building. Alongside him is Robert Pattinson, who appears to be the protagonist's partner in the field. While Pattinson isn't given any lines throughout the course of this first Tenet trailer, he's seen in a variety of action shots.

It looks like the mission itself goes south, and John David Washington's character ends up captured by the enemy. Rather than giving up the identity of his colleagues, he seemingly dies. But that's not the end of this story, but rather the beginning of the high concepts that Tenet will be grappling with. Because shortly after his death, actor Martin Donovan welcomes Washington to the afterlife.

That's right, it looks like Tenet will have its characters grappling with action within the afterlife. There's a big adventure coming, and a possible World War to stop. It's unclear what the rules of the movie are, or if Tenet will split between the world of the living and the dead. But clearly Christopher Nolan is dealing with more big concepts in his upcoming blockbuster.

Related: So Christopher Nolan's Next Movie Won't Really Be Like North By Northwest Meets Inception?

The biggest WTF moment from this first Tenet trailer happens during its final moments. Robert Pattinson and John David Washington are driving on a highway, and witness a car in front of them tumbling and spinning. While a collision with their vehicle seems imminent, time seemingly moves backward for the other car, as it reversed its roll and lands back on its wheels. Maybe this is an ability in the afterlife. Or maybe there are even more crazy twists and turns happening in Tenet that we could have predicted.

Regardless, Christopher Nolan has assembled a killer cast to bring Tenet to life. Washington and Pattinson will be joined by the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Elizabeth Debicki, frequent Nolan collaborator Michael Caine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Kenneth Branagh. The group of characters haven't been named yet, but it looks like Tenet will be another wild ride in theaters, as the filmmaker is wont to do.

Tenet will arrive in theaters on July 17, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.