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The last 20 minutes of Interstellar are as confusing as confusion gets. I would like to state my interpretation and put the question then.

My Understanding:

Based on a blog post I read (which has since been deleted), it is postulated that a spinning black hole can be used as a wormhole itself, which I believe explains Cooper's arrival at the tesseract in the movie.

Regardless, once he is in the tesseract and has conveyed the message to his daughter Murph, there is a dialogue between him and TARS where TARS says that the plan seems to have worked as the bulk beings are closing the tesseract.

On closure, Cooper and TARS are spat out near Saturn (miraculously, maybe) where the Cooper Station finds them.

Question:

Why would Cooper Station be orbiting Saturn? Why not just jump through the wormhole to the other side? Was it because the closing of the tesseract also meant the closing of the wormhole near Saturn? But then again, if the wormhole is closed, where does Cooper think he is going in the very last scene?

Anyone's guess is as good as any other. But a rational explanation would be truly appreciated.

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Question 1:

There were effectively two possible choices throughout the film - Plan A and Plan B.

The former involved Dr. Brand solving an advanced equation which would allow human beings to truly harness gravity. Doing this would allow NASA to launch a space station, complete with everyone on Earth, into space.

The latter was relevant if Dr. Brand couldn't complete his calculations or the Endurance sent no word back/found no suitable planet. NASA had a bank of human embryos designed to ensure all humanity could survive (effectively giving up on the people on Earth). The idea was that the Endurance team would find the most habitable planet, raise a generation of these embryos and thus they could raise generation after generation themselves.

In the film, when Cooper leaves the Tesseract, he has provided Murph with the data needed to make the equation work. Thus, Plan A is the option they follow. Cooper Station's construction was not possible before Murph solved the equations. Therefore, I believe it's effectively a type of ark. It could be increased in size to accommodate all of humanity. Or, more likely, multiple arks have been (or will be) built to accommodate humanity.

To me, this seems logical given that we know Earth is not suitable for human survival any longer. I would probably suggest that humanity is still in the process of coming out to the stations, as Cooper is effectively told to go on ahead.

I would assume this is why they don't jump ahead. For now, they can wait on the other side of the worm hole whilst a) humanity leaves the Earth and b) whilst a new home is sought out on the other side of the worm hole.

Question 2:

The worm hole is very much still active. We know that at the very end, Murph tells Cooper to seek out Dr. Brand as she's all alone (suggesting strongly they've received some information back through the worm hole from her. Additionally, as she tells him to seek out Dr. Brand, the worm hole which will enable this must still be active.

Question 3:

As the worm hole is still open, Cooper is going to it to seek out Dr. Brand.

Edit:

Upon rewatching the movie, I noticed that when Cooper wakes up on Cooper Station, his doctor mentions Murph is on route from another station - this definitely means there are multiple stations. Whether they are all orbiting Saturn, and the wormhole, or whether they are scattered, is still unknown.

  • Thank you for putting so much time into writing this answer. I have a few doubts regarding. Firstly, the station was already under construction when Cooper left for the endurance mission. Remember Dr. Brand told him, "The detection of first gravitational anomaly changed everything. We realized we could harness gravity. So we started building this station as I started solving the problem of gravity". Continued in second comment... – HindK Dec 3 '14 at 14:17
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    ...Continued from first comment. Secondly, if you follow the post-release euphoria of this movie a bit, you'd know that an auxiliary book titled "Science of Interstellar" is released, written by Kip Thorne, the theoretical physicist who acted as an adviser on the movie. In his book he has stated that the most probable way that the gravity equation is supposed to work is "It will reduce the gravity pull around earth for the time being so that the lift-off for the Cooper Station and other stations like it will take much lesser power and energy" ...Continued in next comment. – HindK Dec 3 '14 at 14:20
  • ...Continued from previous comment. He also says that this reduction in gravity will additionally result in earth's core being thrust out, causing global level catastrophes and hence making earth completely inhabitable. This explanation IMO makes very much sense. If so were the case, Sir, I don't think the assumption that there are more humans waiting on earth to come aboard these stations holds. – HindK Dec 3 '14 at 14:22
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    Sir, the explanation is a commendable one. But I think it doesn't make any sense for Cooper Station to be in orbit of Saturn. And then even when it is, no further explanation at the end is a killer. The filmmakers must have hinted at the least, as to why and for whom are they waiting around saturn. The absence of such explanation makes the setting too convenient to grasp. – HindK Dec 3 '14 at 14:28
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    I didnt mean to suggest they'd be in orbit permanently. Rather, they'd be waiting as earth evacuated and word got back from the worm hole. I don't think they'd set up permanently around Saturn. Their food problems for a start wouldn't be solved. – Andrew Martin Dec 5 '14 at 20:12
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  1. Cooper station is enroute to the worm hole. It just happened to be there (rather conveniently) when Cooper was ejected from the Tesseract.

  2. The worm hole is not closed. That would defeat the whole purpose of the voyage (not to mention the Movie)

  3. See 2.

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When Cooper Senior Left on his journey, there were no Space Stations orbiting Saturn, with grass and houses in them.

When it's announced as a space station orbiting Saturn, the camera shows a green biosphere with houses curved with inverse gravity.

This has the purpose of placing the spectator in wonder. A space station orbiting Saturn would be a fun destination for you and me, wonderful indeed.

It has the purpose of revealing to the watcher that humans have built space stations with weird gravity and biospheres, thanks to coopers message about gravity's quantum laws, and so make him seem heroic, which is a positive turn for the movie.

Nolan could have also chosen Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, The wormhole's distance from the sun isn't precisely given, so it's assumed that the space station is a Living space rather than a traveling craft on it's way to outer space.

As the positions of planets change, you can use any of them to sling shot your way into deep space. however sling shot use of planets is not necessary if you have control of gravity, because gravity control enables faster acceleration than sling shot around planets.

They are inviting his daughter to Saturn, which contradicts that they had no intention of voyaging soon to a wormhole with the cooper space station.

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I just wanted to say that the place was called "Cooper Station" after the daughter who spent her entire life looking for her dad. The wormhole was closest to Saturn, so where else is a better place to put the station? Maybe Murph was hoping that by being close to where she lost her father, when he appeared again, she would be able to rescue him quickly... even though she pretty much "knew" he was lost in time and space forever, she still did everything she could. And I think at the end after "behind the bookshelf" scene, he was shat out into space around Saturn (where he entered the wormhole) and yes, conveniently (because Murph designed it that way) near Cooper station. Her plan worked so to speak. Hope this helped.

  • This feels more like personal speculation. – MattD Dec 29 '15 at 19:29
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No one mentioned that the wormhole itself. The closest planet a ship could orbit to the wormhole is Saturn. Which is why When Cooper is first heading out, Dr Brand says "Next time you hear from him he will be coming up on Saturn"

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