Published Jul 05, 2018When it comes to famed movie endings, few are as iconic — and puzzling — as that of Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. As a result, the head-scratcher of an ending has spawned countless fan theories as to exactly what the hell happened in those final minutes. But now it appears that Kubrick himself has explained the decades-old mystery for us.
An interview with the late filmmaker has emerged online, io9 points out, from a shelved 1980 documentary by Jun'ichi Yaoi. In the newly surfaced clip for the unreleased documentary — which was actually centred on the paranormal activities that occurred during the making of The Shining — we hear Kubrick on the phone explaining his real intension behind the ending of 2001.
Here's what Kubrick can be heard saying:
I've tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they're dramatized one feels it, but I'll try. The idea was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film.
Kubrick then goes on to explain how these "god-like entities" created the famous bedroom seen in the film, comparing the space to that of an animal habitat you'd find at a zoo that "we think is their natural environment."
He continued: "When they get finished with him, as happens in so many myths of all cultures in the world, he is transformed into some kind of super being and sent back to Earth, transformed and made into some sort of superman. We have to only guess what happens when he goes back. It is the pattern of a great deal of mythology, and that is what we were trying to suggest."
Of course, that "superman" is then seemingly represented by the "baby star" that you can see above.
You can watch the entire documentary clip for yourself below.
2001: A Space Odyssey is currently back in theatres for its 50th anniversary as an unrestored 70mm print.