Tenet theory: The Protagonist starts World World 3, unknowingly goes back to stop himself

The latest trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has arrived, but just what on earth is going on? What we do know is this isn’t a time travel movie but one that involves the concept of inversion; a chronological reversal or turning around. Now a new fan theory reckons the John David Washington’s character who, for now, is literally called The Protagonist, is the one who started World War 3 and is unknowingly experiencing time backwards to go back and prevent himself from doing said action.

Reddit user 110509 argues: “My guess is it’s a remaking of J G Ballard’s short story The Gentle Assassin which is a story that explores the Grandfather Paradox.

“Basically if you go back in time and shoot your grandfather, you stop existing, but if you stop existing, you can’t shoot your grandfather.

“The working title of Tenet was Merry Go Round, so perhaps Washington has already caused WWIII and is unknowingly going backwards from that point to try and stop himself.

“However in doing this he is creating the revolving Grandfather paradox which is also explored in Memento.”


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They added: “Whatever the outcome I think we can all agree that Christopher Nolan is a very clever person.”

Certainly, the writer-director is fascinated with the concept of time.

For example, Memento’s scenes were shown in reverse, while Dunkirk depicted three different strands of time in the form of one hour, one day and one week.

Also in Inception, time passed more quickly the further down the levels of dreams Leonardo DiCaprio travelled.

While in Interstellar, the further Matthew McConaughey ventured into Outer Space, the slower time was for him compared to those back on Earth.

In a recent interview with GQ, Tenet star Robert Pattinson said how he struggle dto comprehend the complex plot.

The 33-year-old revealed: “This thing, it’s so insane.”

He called Nolan’s special effects “crazy” and added: “And in each country there’s, like, an enormous set-piece scene, which is like the climax of a normal movie. In every single country.”

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On Pattinson’s understanding of Tenet, Nolan said: “Rob’s read on the script was extremely acute.

“But he also understood the ambiguities of the film and the possibilities that spin-off in the mind around the story.

“But a complete grasp of the script, in the case of Tenet, is one that understands and acknowledges the need for this film to live on in the audience’s mind and suggest possibilities in the audience’s mind.

“And he was very much a partner in crime with that.”

Tenet’s release is still very much up in the air considering the pandemic.

Hollywood studios are watching to see if the film is delayed or how well it does at the box office.

The earliest UK cinemas will open is July 4, according to the government.

Tenet is released in UK cinemas on July 17, 2020.

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