It's my understanding that the aliens came to our planet to teach us how to understand heptapod, their circular language and method of communicating. And they had an important reason. Being able to read or speak in heptapod means that you are able to see a person's entire timeline from start to finish.

The aliens, through the use of this foreign language, are able to change our perception of time (because the past and future essentially can be seen at the same time). Plus, in the future (like, 3,000 years in the future), the aliens are going to need mankind's help for an undetermined issue. Understanding heptapod is the tool, or "weapon," the aliens are trying to share with humanity, because they know they are going to need us later.

But what I don't understand is what kind of threat is it they can't face without our help? What could be that undetermined issue?

  • 1
    Knowledge of their language conferred a view of the future as well as a sense of the inevitable nature of that future (for examples, see Abbott's death and Louise' decision to have a daughter). So perhaps it was simply that in 3000 years time, it was a human that walked into the room where they were defusing a bomb chained to the Grand Tetrapod and said, "No! Cut the purple wire! I got a hunch.". But we really don't know. May 2, 2017 at 11:42
  • 3
    "What could be" makes this sound like you're asking us to speculate. Do you mean to ask "Is there indication what ..."? We can not answer questions that require speculation.
    – Catija
    May 2, 2017 at 18:55
  • @Catija yes , I am asking about your imaginations which was not explaining in the movie. perhaps this question is off-topic. This is my first involvement in this site. May 3, 2017 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


It is never explained.

The issue they have is essentially a McGuffin. It is a plot device that we, the audience, aren't really meant to completely understand, but that moves the plot forward and gives the characters the motivation to do what they have to do.

It is never explained, neither in the movie or in the novel, what the problem actually is. But just by knowing it exists, the events of the movie have a causal relationship, and we can relate to their actions and reasoning.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .