When Cooper and Tars figure what Dr Mann is up to in Interstellar, he tries to escape with a shuttle and manually docks the Endurance but he doesn't manage to get a secure lock.

As a highly-trained astronaut he should know this is no good yet he chooses to open the airlock and destroy the ship and, arguably more importantly, to have his innards sucked out.

Why does Dr Mann act so foolishly?


2 Answers 2


The short answer is that Mann isn't a highly trained astronaut, he's a ground-based theoretical physicist who volunteered to lead this last-ditch mission. His knowledge of space flight is limited to a single mission and his training was done on the cheap by flight controllers who themselves haven't ever been into space.

It's clear that he doesn't recognise the danger. He ignores Coop's verbal warning as well as the master alarm, something a real astronaut would never ever do.

On top of that, he seems to be displaying major symptoms of mental illness; paranoia, psychosis and disassociation, all things that would be likely to lead to impaired judgement.

  • 12
    In addition to that he also was a coward and stubborn. He didn't actually care what Cooper said, even if he knew he should.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:30
  • Very good answer. I believe the answer @JohnSmithOptional gave here can also add some context, though I have some reservations about everything he's said there. Jul 1, 2015 at 11:19
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    He also went crazy. Jul 1, 2015 at 12:17
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    His name was not a coincidence. His character was supposed to represent the character flaws of mankind.
    – smcg
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:33
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    In the whole movie they say Mann is one of the best, how can you say that he is not well-trained? And is there anything in the movie that justifies this: he's a ground-based theoretical physicist?? What I think is C. Nolan was just trying giving us shits Jan 30, 2016 at 16:29

There is a paradox between Dr. Mann's past (what we hear from Brand and others) and what we see from him in the current time.

When Cooper and others wake Dr. Mann, his first reaction is to cry. He changed a lot and his beliefs changed also. Rather than saving humans and such great goals, he just wants to go back to earth.

He lost his hope totally and years of solitude made him a coward; broken and hopeless. I think Dr. Mann is a character to show how a human could be miserable, villainous, and selfish.

The only thing he thinks about is to come back to earth and he doesn't accept any advice from anyone because in his belief the mission has failed even though others want to continue the mission.

  • This doesn't seem to asnwer what this question is asking though (rather than what this related question is asking. Or you might want to flesh it out a little to adress the question a bit more.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 1, 2015 at 10:46
  • What I try to say is that the reason Dr.Mann act foolishly is not he is not well trained, but is he almost lost his mind and want to run and comeback to earth.
    – klaymen
    Jul 1, 2015 at 11:08

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