At the end of Intestellar,

Cooper is instructed by Murph to leave and rejoin Amelia Brand on Edmund's planet.

Why does he do it secretly, stealing a spacecraft? He's following the order of someone who, if not in charge anymore due to old age, at least should have enough leverage to make the mission officially happen.

Wouldn't his chance of being successful be much higher with full navigation and technical support. He's off to a trip to Saturn, an intergalactic journey, black hole slingshot, etc. That's not exactly sneaking out with your dad's car for a road trip to Vegas.

Plus he's leaving with a small, seemingly single-occupancy, spacecraft. Does this thing have enough resources for the trip? What about hibernation equipment?

  • Earlier in the movie its said that the 12 Lazarus missions are performed in Ranger ships. So the ship he takes is capable of a single one-way trip to Edmund's planet.
    – iandotkelly
    Nov 24, 2016 at 14:53
  • @iandotkelly I doubt they really used Rangers, remember the living containers they had with them. Those little Ranger jets seem incapable of transporting them. It's more likely they used Landers.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 14:54
  • @NapoleonWilson .. "Prof Brand: Ranger launches carrying the bravest humans ever to live, led by the remarkable Dr Mann. Twelve Ranger launches". Now it doesn't say whether the Rangers connect to some 'long distance' module, and/or carry the living module. The Interstellar Wiki implies that the living module can land by itself - but this is hardly canon. My point is that its consistent in the sense that the Ranger is meant to have the resources for a one-way trip.
    – iandotkelly
    Nov 24, 2016 at 15:01
  • Rangers launched from Earth. Nothing said about the ships from orbit to gargantua. The capsule that Mann is in is much bigger than the Rangers
    – cde
    Nov 25, 2016 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


I think he does it secretly because he's in a hurry to reunite with Amelia.

Cooper is literally The Guy Who Saved All Humanity, returned from inside a black hole decades after he was last seen, but without having aged a day. He's a living legend. People would want to talk to him, to examine him, to make movies of his life, etc, etc.

It's not that he couldn't leave in a more official capacity, but there would been a lot of red tape to arrange it. A lot of "Sir, just one more question!" moments, and so on. Cooper wanted to be with Amelia NOW. Slipping out in the middle of the night was just easier.

Also, from a cinematic (out of universe) point of view, having him go alone makes it a personal journey - going to be reunited with his love. It's a conclusion to a story that is now ending. Having him go with a larger ship and a crew of support staff makes it a new adventure, not really appropriate for the end of a movie.

As for resources and hibernation equipment; we are left to assume that he knew (or was told, by Murph) enough to pick a ship that could accomplish the task. Several decades have passed and technology has presumably advanced in the meantime. I mean, we assume Murph is in contact with Amelia at least some of the time, that she knows where Amelia is and that she's still alive and waiting for Cooper. I think it's unlikely Murph would encourage her father to leave again if she wasn't sure about those details.

  • 6
    Well, I wouldn't go as far as calling her "his love", through the entire film there wasn't more than friendship between them, especially since Amelia still loved Wolf Edmunds. (Of course now with Edmunds dead and Coop and Amelia being alone in a new world, that's sure a different situation, but that's a story for another time.)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 14:56
  • If humanity had advanced enough to make a "bring her back" mission kind of a "get us some milk from the market", why didn't Murph had someone sent over to rescue Amelia even before Cooper showed up?
    – MMalke
    Nov 8, 2017 at 11:13
  • @MMalke I don't see anything in my answer suggesting that recovering Amelia would be a milk run. In fact, the more difficult it's likely to be, the more people would protest Cooper doing it himself, and therefore the more motive he has to leave quietly.
    – Steve-O
    Nov 8, 2017 at 14:28

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