'Asteroid City's' Ending Explained: WTF Did We Just Watch?

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Universal Pictures

Wes Anderson has done it. He has created his quirkiest "WTF" film yet. His most “we understand but we don’t" movie ever —Asteroid City which officially releases today. For those of you reading this article because you caught the Thursday showing (or are reading this during the weekend), you already kind of know what’s going on in this film… essentially you are watching a television special about a televised production of Asteroid City, a play by famed playwright Conrad Earp. Asteroid City is a fictional desert town where a youth science fiction convention called the "Junior Stargazer"  is happening. The actual play that the television special is covering is in widescreen and technicolor, while the re-enactment of the first staging of the play is shown. In black and white. If you're like us though, you might have left in desperate need of the Asteroid City ending explained.

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Universal Pictures

Now that we’ve all seen the film we can say this—what the hell did we just watch? And how did we still manage to walk away with a general understanding of what happened despite all the back and forth tennis ball of events happenings sometimes made it hard to keep track of the storyline?

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Universal Pictures

Okay, so about that ending? What did it mean? Assuming you've seen the film, then you should already know exactly what we're talking about. The "Junior Stargazer Convention" happening in Asteroid City gets halted by a UFO (in a very peculiar manner by one of the most disturbing creatures we’ve ever seen on any kind of television screen by the way), and because of the UFO, Asteroid City gets put into a quarantine (sounds like Anderson may have drawn inspiration from our recent events in the real word). Long story short, the residents begin to realize that the UFO incident is being covered up by the military, and one of the convention attendees decides to leak the news to the media. 

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Universal Pictures

So again about that ending.

The 'Asteroid City' Ending Explained

Act III is when it really becomes clear that we’re seeing two different versions of the play, and the final part focuses on all of the participants joining together to challenge the military. One of the main characters, Auggie who is a father of tour and newly-widowed, begins to challenges the themes of love, loss, and accepting what is unknown.

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Universal Pictures

So here’s our interpretation: we guess Wes Anderson is trying to say that the unknown can represent a new beginning, and it’s totally okay to not know what’s ahead. You might lose your significant other and not know what lies ahead for you in terms of love—that’s okay. Where you live might get abandoned by UFOs and you might not know what you are living with—that’s okay. You may not understand the character you are playing or your role in life—that’s okay. You may not always get closure in the way you thought you would—and that's okay.

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Universal Pictures

And finally, you might walk away from watching Asteroid City not fully comprehending everything you just took in and you know what— that’s okay too.

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