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After the two brothers find out what is really going on in The Endless (2017), while traveling on foot, they encounter two strange and out-of-place statues; the first one is more abstract, resembling a face, and the second one is an Eastern dragon. What symbolism or deeper meaning do these scenes suggest?

abstract statue dragon statue

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Based on an interview with Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the filmmakers behind The Endless, and also the lead actors playing the brothers Justin and Aaron, the statues represent different cultural interpretations and artistic manifestations of the unseen cosmic entity or "monster" that is manipulating and tormenting people across time in the film's universe.

As Moorhead explains:

Those would all be individual loops that have developed their own sub-cultures and have their own interpretation of what this unseen antagonist is. Depending on how they saw it, the state of mind they're in, and their own personalities, and all of that. And that these things they've created are artistic representations of how they see the antagonist.

Benson adds:

And of course, Native Americans with the totem pole. But even the monolith to us -- which is kind of the big image of the film anyways -- to us. it's supposed to scare the hell out of you when you realize that's what that is. When you realize that, that's the antagonist of the film as seen by people that are so ancient they're gone in America.

Moorhead adds that the abstract monolith and the dragon statue imply ancient civilizations or cultures that developed their own mythologies around this entity, akin to how different human religions interpreted the same metaphysical force as different deities across history:

There's this idea of every civilization has developed an idea of a deity and a God. And their interpretation of it has trickled down into our religions today. Or died out. But in the same way, their visualizations of it have looked so wildly different.

So in encountering these contrasting artistic representations, the brothers are being confronted with evidence that this malevolent force has been shaping human culture and belief systems across eons, being reinterpreted through each lens of civilization it comes into contact with. The statues are an ominous hint at the wider scale and deeper mythological roots of the threat they are facing.

Source: 'The Endless' Filmmakers on Their Trippy Mythology & Deciphering That Ending. Collider

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  • The brothers walk through time as well as space.
    – Yu Zhang
    Commented Jun 20 at 7:58

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