Voyagers Ending, Explained: What Happens to Sela and Christopher?

Neil Burger’s hefty portfolio of features might include the likes of a few you’ve seen or perhaps heard of. However, each feature is as memorable as it gets. From 2002’s ‘Interview With The Assassin’, to his ever popular ‘Divergent’, Burger has paved the way for like-minded filmmakers to explore nuances that drift away from the typical.

One such sci-fi feature is 2021’s Voyagers,’ a film that tells the tale of Earth’s inevitable demise and the journey of a future generation to a planet that will serve as its successor. The journey is stricken with mishaps and challenges as the crew navigates not only the vastness of space but also the complexity of human nature. What happens when they have to experience all that in the close quarters of the ship? SPOILERS AHEAD

Voyagers Plot Synopsis

The Earth is ravaged by heat and drought. Humanity’s only hope is to find Earth’s successor, a planet that could be colonized by the future generations of the planet. Scientists find this planet in the year 2063. The journey to the planet will take 86 years, and hence, only the first crew’s grandchildren will be able to set foot on the planet. Richard Alling, played by Colin Farrell, is the lead scientist on the mission. The crew is trained in isolation to survive the confines of the ship.

The crew is bred through IVF and, at a young age, are launched within a ship to their destined planet. After a decade of being onboard crew members, Christopher and Zac discover that “the blue” they’ve been consuming is actually a drug that suppresses their pleasure response and sex drive, keeping them docile and manageable.

Both Christopher and Zac stop taking the chemical. The duo begins feeling a resurgence of adolescent hormones. Their pleasure response has also seemingly been reactivated. Soon, others also stop consuming the blue chemical. Raging hormones aboard the confines of the ship spell a recipe for disaster as the young men and women give into their most primal urges. The film explores many themes, such as adolescence, hierarchy, a lust for power, and the importance of human communication.

Voyagers Ending: Does the Alien Really Exist?

While the existence of the alien could have been an intriguing turn of events in the film, the alien does not exist. Here’s what we know about the alien. Over the course of time, the crewmates begin to hear strange noises on the ship. Nothing peculiar comes up when they check the surveillance systems onboard. Upon asking Richard about these noises and what they could be, he explains that it’s just the ship contracting due to negative temperatures. The crewmates, particularly Zac and Christopher, already know that they’re being drugged by consuming the Blue. Hence, they do not trust Richard’s explanation even in the slightest.

Curious to know what’s really happening, they begin hypothesizing possibilities. After hearing the noises again, Christopher and Zac go to the main surveillance room. Edward is stationed there and is also curious to know where these noises are coming from. While Christopher believes there’s a logical reason for it, Zac thinks there might be an external force at hand. Edward additionally hypothesizes that if the planet they’re going to has life, then there is a possibility of it existing out in space where the ship is.

This essentially plants a seed in Zac’s mind. He begins to believe that it could very well be alien life that’s making sounds somewhere within the ship. As the movie progresses, a malfunction in the communication systems outside the ship prompts Richard, accompanied by Christopher, to conduct a check-up. During the checkup, a bizarre energy is seen attacking Richard, which results in his death. At this time, the surveillance systems picked up something strange before corrupting its files. The only person to witness these events is Edward. He describes it as an entity or force that consumed Richard until he was unresponsive.

While others might have taken this information with a grain of salt, Zac had no trouble accepting it. As the story progresses, Christopher is elected as Chief Officer and is tasked with overseeing all the operations on the ship. This doesn’t sit well with Zac, as he believes he is a better fit. After convincing others to stop taking the Blue liquid, Zac forms his own group, rebelling against Christopher.

Zac has now fully embraced the idea that the alien exists and that it killed Richard. Christopher and Sela, on the other hand, do not believe in it. They set out in search of any missing surveillance footage of the incident, believed to be lost. Christopher, Sela, and others stumble upon footage of Kai in a control room operating an external instrument that he was assigned. With him is Zac, enraged by Richard’s decision to opt for Christopher instead of him.

Kai suggests to “Give him a little zap for his trouble…” indicating that the external equipment they’re handling could be manipulated to cause injuries. Within the footage, the same noises can be heard, but Zac dismisses it, saying it’s just noises from the ship. With this, Sela, Christopher, and others realize that Zac has been faking it all along. He sold this idea to the rest of the crew, claiming he could protect them from this alien.

As the footage plays out, Zac is seen manipulating the electricity surge to the external equipment, gradually increasing it. He does this until the surge is at its maximum, electrocuting Richard. The Surge also damages many other systems aboard the ship. Christopher, Sela, and the others now have firm proof that Zac was the one who killed Richard and doesn’t believe in the alien. They back the footage up in a memory drive and hide it so no one tampers with it.

They use the opportunity to play the footage on a display in the dining room, where everyone meets for meals. Christopher plays the footage and explains to the rest of the crew that Zac is the origin of all the issues. Even after the footage is shown, Zac seemingly convinces his group that the alien could be anywhere, and he wants to protect them from it. To prove his point, he randomly selects crewmate Peter and begins interrogating him on the spot. He says that Peter has the alien in him and that he should be killed.

Zac’s group needs little to no convincing of this. They chase him down and brutally beat Peter to death. Christopher, trying to stop them, also gets hurt in the process. The group realizes what they have done, but Kai persuades them they did the right thing. Directly from the story, we get a clear image of how power-hungry Zac really is. He is equipped and ready to fabricate any story that will keep him on top. He even goes to the extent of killing Richard.

The alien is nothing but a mere made-up story driven by its mysterious setting and unsettled listeners. It all began when Edward initiated the possibility of it being an external influence to Zac, using the story for his power-hungry needs. He actually didn’t even need to convince the rest of the crew; the noises helped him without trying. It just goes to show how gullible people can be within a herd mentality. In this setting, the alien is really Zac’s lust for power; although intangible, it can become a reality if the need for it is larger than life.

What Was in the Secret Compartment of the Ship?

When Christopher figures out the real composition of the Blue, he also stumbles upon another secret that the mission withheld from the crew. Within the bounds of the ship is a secret compartment, Pod-23 , that contains something mysterious. Christopher found the compartment in the ship’s plans. Curious about this, he discloses this information to Zac and some others.

Later on in the film, Christopher and Sela recognize that the compartment actually contains weapons. Sela mentions to Christopher that Richard had provided this information earlier. Hiding from the rest of Zac’s followers, Christopher ventures out searching for this compartment, but to the dismay of his stealth skills, is unable to and leads Zac and his followers straight to it. The weapon’s cache is now in the hands of Zac and his peers, adding even more chaos.

The reason behind the weapons cache existing on the ship is clearly mentioned in the film. The mission integrated the weapons into the ship, only to be used by the generation that reached the planet. They would use these weapons for self-defense if they encountered any threat on the planet. After all, it is imperative for the crew of the ship to survive on the planet if they are meant to colonize it. Therefore, having weapons is a must.

The secret compartment helps us understand how intelligent the crew members really are. Anything that is kept secret will eventually be unearthed, especially when confined to a particular space, which in this case is the ship. It paints a picture of adolescent curiosity, something that can uncover several mysteries if it wants to. Human ingenuity knows no bounds, and considering the crew members are genetically enhanced for their intellect, it would be concerning if they didn’t find the cache.

Purely from a narrative perspective, the weapons play a vital role in storytelling. Without the guns, the intensity and thrill displayed towards the end of the film would not exist. In the hands of these young adults, the weapons are a symbol of power. Others would fear them because they possess it. This is precisely what Zac wanted: power, and he got even more of it with the weapons. Zac tells his peers that he’ll protect them from the alien, and with the acquisition of the weapons, Zac can carry out his claims.

The secret compartment of weapons isn’t just there to add a feature to the narrative. It has systematically been placed by the writers to help its viewers understand the scenario onboard the ship. It is a symbol of intelligence, power, fear, and hatred, traits that readily appear in the film.

Are Sela and Christopher Alive at the End?

Details about Sela and Christopher dwindle towards the end of the film after the birth of their children. While it is unknown whether they survived the journey in its entirety, from a purely cinematic perspective, this could be plausible. The odds aren’t necessarily in their favor. To understand if they survived, we must know how old they could be at the end of the film.

Using the information provided at the beginning of the film, it is assumed that the children were conceived right after the exoplanet was found. We can confirm from the movie itself that it is an exoplanet, as displayed during the initial presentation by the mission director at the start of the film. The chart indicates that the spacecraft will be traveling to Alpha Centauri, which in reality is the nearest solar system from ours, about four light-years away.

Using the information provided in the film, the children were conceived right after the exoplanet was found. This means the children are born approximately one year after the planet was found in 2063. If the children were born in 2064, they were launched within Humanitas (the spacecraft) only during their pre-teen years, ages 9 to 12. If the average age of the children is nine years, they were launched into space in 2073.

After the 10-year jump, Sela and Christopher are 19 years old. While most of the film is accompanied by suitable answers, time-frames have fallen short. Information about the time frame between Richard’s death and Sela becoming Chief Officer is quite foggy. However, if the time frame lies between a few months to a year, Sela and Christopher could have given birth to their child at the age of 21.

If they stuck to the designated age provided by the rules of the mission of 24 years, it would alter the trajectory of their ages. Sela would have ample time to re-adjust the state of affairs onboard the ship and bring consensus and peace among the crew after the events that took place when they were 19. Sticking to this route, Sela would give birth to her child at the age of 24, 15 years after the launch of the mission.

If the crew sticks to the same pattern, then Sela’s children will also give birth at the age of 24. Sela would be 48 years old during the birth of her grandchildren, 39 years into their journey. Gen 1 would give birth to Gen 2 at the age of 24; Gen 2 would give birth to Gen 3 when Gen 1 is 48 years. Sela and Christopher would need to survive another 47 years before landing on the exoplanet at the age of 95.

The average life expectancy worldwide is around 73.4 years, which means Sela and Christopher would be in a minimal percentage of people who live to the age of 95. According to other academic records, the centenarian (people who are 100 years old and above) percentage around the world is around 0.017%. This could indicate that Sela and Christopher have a very minute chance of living that long, irrespective of other conditions.

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