In November 2017, scientists confirmed that a mysterious, cigar-shaped, Empire State Building-sized object seen speeding past the sun... was from another solar system. It was the first discovery of its kind.
The object became known as Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past.”
Avi Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, co-authored a paper on Oumuamua in The Astrophysical Journal. Among the explanations posited around its presence was: “Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.”
A year before Avi Loeb’s research was published, there was another bold statement... posted on Reddit. It was about the discovery of that object, and it came from u/Three_Headed_Monkey:
"This is the sort of thing that appears on a TV news report in the background of the main characters establishing scenes during the start of an alien invasion movie.”
Droves of Redditors sprung into action. With their deep knowledge of blockbuster action films, they used action-movie vernacular to collaboratively write a movie script in the comments of that post. There were multiple endings, characters and plotlines as the story spiraled out in the comment thread.
The Endless Thread team adapted that thread into a complete script, performed here by a bunch of amateurs (some of our public radio colleagues) pretending to be celebrities.
So kick back, pour yourself a big ol’ cup of suspension of disbelief, hit the red "play" button above, and enjoy the ride!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson - Jack Lepiarz
Terry Crews - Marquis Neal
Colonel Schwarzenegger - Ben Brock Johnson
Professor T. Swift - Amory Sivertson
Mila Kunis - Candice Springer
Ben Affleck - Matt Reed
Mark Sparklebarf - Martin Kessler
Lena - Paris Alston
Stacey - Sara-Rose Brenner
Radio Announcer - Lisa Mullins
President Tom Selleck - WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz
Jessica - Nicola Silber
Tommy - Theo Silber
Movie Director - John Perotti
Security guard and Henchman - Josh Swartz
Narrator - Rose Eveleth, host/creator of the podcast Flash Forward
Huge shout-out to intern emeritus Candice Lim for her work on the script, and to Redditor r/Your_Post_As_A_Movie for creating an original movie poster to accompany this episode. You can find more of his work here.