At the end of the movie Passengers, the 2 main characters have grown a garden. That's understandable; earlier we saw plants growing on one part of the ship. But where did the birds in the garden come from?

3 Answers 3


The Avalon is a ship part of an ongoing colonization of various planets. The ship has entire storage of equipment, tractors, prefab housing, submarines. In the original script, there was a gene bank. In the final film, there is also the entire garden of specimens of plants used for transplantation. (Like was explained in The Martian, you don't official colonize until you plant crops).

It's completely realistic that they would also take any number of animals in suspended animation for companionship, work, food or other reasons. They are colonizing, and want familiar species of animals around. Song birds are just the animal version of taking roses to a new planet.

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    Although there are considerations of "invasive species" (such as the Asian Carp, Zebra mussels, Dutch elm disease) destroying the existing ecosystem, it's still realistic that the Homestead company would bring along familiar animals with the intention of keeping them quarantined on the ship. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 15:56
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    @BrettFromLa when colonizing new planets, humans are the invasive species.
    – cde
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 18:59
  • Oo! Good point! Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 4:57

I would argue that it is totally realistic that the ship would contain all of the flora and fauna shown growing and living in the ship. I agree with everything that cde said in his answer.

Now that we have that out of the way I have to disagree that a metal spaceship is going to turn into the garden of Eden like they showed without serious reconfiguring. As I recall they planted a tree into the deck of the space ship. That doesn't seem reasonable to me. Trees require dirt to grow, and the space below the deck is going to be filled with all kinds of conduit and mechanical gizmos. They would have to replace the floor with dirt of sufficient depth to allow the plants to have a stable root system. Furthermore the crew is shown walking out to the central concourse from the elevator door so it isn't like the lower level of the concourse was filled with dirt to accommodate the roots. They created the garden to be level with the old floor.

While it is possible in theory for them to rip out the deck of the ship, fill it with enough dirt, and plant their garden it would be a tremendous project both in terms of scale and risk.

  • The passengers arrive at the central concourse via elevator. The pods are on the outer wings.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:18
  • @cde I don't understand what the location of the pods has to do with replacing the deck in the concourse. The elevator arrives at the lower deck of the concourse because we saw the upper balconies. This means the dirt had to be level with where the deck was.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:20
  • Better counterpoint, the entire point of the trip is homesteading on a new planet. They send skilled workers, information, and supplies to that end. Part of those skills are gardening, and landscaping. Jim and Aurora had plenty of time to learn how to properly plant the tree in a planter (that we don't see due to the flora) for it to grow.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:33
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    And you assume that that part of the Concourse has conduits and gizmos under it. Compare it to any number of cruise or battle or cargo ships. There is plenty of dead space in flooring. Nothing says that there is critical equipment underneath that floor. And we know that Jim has no scruples about modifying the ship or using supplies as he wants.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:35
  • @cde yes it is possible but I don't think it is a given. Cruise ships don't have all the fancy lighting and other tech we see in the concourse. Also cutting holes in a ship deck can compromise safety in case of a hull breach so even there you have additional considerations. It is shown in the movie so movie cannon says it happened. The question asks if it is realistic and I think it would be a monumental undertaking with plenty of risk. The harder something is the less likely it is to happen.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:54

DIRT. They would not have been transporting enough dirt on that ship to sustain the tree. Let lone the rest of the plants. I would argue that the ship would have not brought any dirt. As they are going to a planet made of it.

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    Are you suggesting that birds come from dirt?
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:08
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    It is plausible they would have brought some extra dirt/fertilizer to ensure the plants had the microbes they needed to survive on the new planet. After all the symbiosis that plants have with microbes, fungus, bugs, etc. wouldn't exist on the new planet since the new planet didn't evolve with our plants.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 3:18

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