What’s in the Box?!: “Stranger” Speculations


JJ Abrams has dropped another mystery box on the our doorsteps. There are some cynics out there that don’t appreciate this kind of thing. But these days, it’s hard to find a movie trailer that doesn’t spoil the majority of a film. TV advertising will give you the entire plot of a new pilot so you’re better off just anticipating the second episode instead. Instant gratification rules and we gotta fill them seats so we better show off everything we have. Only guys with proven appeal can get away with a real tease.

That’s what we get today with the release of a teaser from JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. The teaser, entitled “Stranger”, does not have any official information attached to it. It is not clear even if it’s for a movie, a tv series or something else. All we get is what is contained within the minute and seven seconds. Watch it now:

Let’s first go over what we just saw. Of course, we get the famous Bad Robot logo with its changing horizon. A lovely score by undoubtedly Michael Giacchino begins. There are stars. Then we shift focus to a man, wearing a long coat, falling on the surf. He looks soaked and confused. We don’t see his face, since it is hidden by long scraggly hair, but we see him raise his hands and pulls at the ropes attached to his wrists as if he doesn’t know why they are there. Was he tied up at one point? This confusion is apparent by the way he stumbles up the shore and by the voiceover from an older man who sounds familiar but is hard to place.

He says, “He arrived, knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there shall once more begin. This is what happens. Men become lost. Men vanish. Men are erased…

We see out-of-focus lights in the distance but the camera pans in on one nearby as the narration says “And reborn”. We get some scary buildup score that sends shivers up the spine and then a creepy-looking man whose mouth is sewn shut confronts us. He stares into our souls. He knows all the secrets, but loose lips sink ships, right? Maybe our amnesiac friend was in a shipwreck caused by this boogeyman of the beach. And now he follows…

Maybe we are getting something like 2007’s Timecrimes, which is a big recommendation if you don’t understand the reference. Perhaps a man becoming lost, erased and reborn implies a circular nature of this beach. Beginnings and endings and beginnings. Maybe these two men are actually the same person in different points of time. But once the loop begins again, his memory is gone (shades of Memento), while his future self looks on. Maybe it is a past version seeing the loop begin again. So how do we break the loop? Say something?

The teaser ends with the cryptic tagline “Soon he will know”. Then, even more tantalizingly, it changes to “Soon he will”, then “Soon will”, and finally just the chilling promise of “Soon”. Perhaps this disappearing tagline represents this stranger losing his memory. Losing all knowledge of why he is here. After all, the first word that disappears is “know”. But what we are left with is “Soon”.

“Soon” what?? Hopefully, “soon” we will get more clues. Let’s hope we can play around with this mystery a bit more before all is revealed.

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