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Source: Netflix

So, What Exactly Happened at the End of 'The Midnight Sky'?

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Dec. 23 2020, Published 12:11 p.m. ET

Netflix has started to take a crack at the blockbuster Christmas movie competition. For decades, movie studios have chosen Christmastime to release highly anticipated movies like Star Wars in order to build hype and make it that much more special. 

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The film The Midnight Sky was briefly released in theaters in early December 2020 before hopping over to Netflix for a much broader opportunity to gain viewership. The Midnight Sky is a sci-fi drama starring George Clooney as he plays a scientist alone in the Arctic. He races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to “a mysterious global catastrophe.” 

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Source: Netflix
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The film is based on Lily Brooks-Dalton's book Good Morning, Midnight. So, is the ending the same as the book? For those who have already finished the film and may want more details on what actually happened during that ending, we’ve explained it below! Beware: spoilers follow!

‘The Midnight Sky’ takes place in a post-apocalyptic future.

In The Midnight Sky, George Clooney plays a terminally ill scientist named Augustine Lofthouse, who is racing against time to stop Sully, played by Felicity Jones, and the rest of the astronaut crew from returning to Earth as there has been an “event” that caused a complete global catastrophe. 

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Source: Netflix

Augustine has his hands full as he also realizes that he is not alone at the Barbeau Observatory in the Arctic. A child played by Caoilinn Springall has been left behind. While these two storylines come together toward the end of the film, there is one major question that all viewers want to know: What exactly happened to Earth?

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The actual reason behind Earth's demise is kept intentionally vague.

Even in Lily Brooks-Dalton’s original story, the details about what exactly happened to Earth is never explicitly explained. Digital Spy speculated that it must have been some sort of environmental issue from taking context clues from dialogue. 

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Source: Netflix
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“The suggestion is that it was an environmental issue that caused the catastrophe. When Augustine does get in touch with Sully later on, he says: ‘I'm afraid we didn't do a very good job of looking after the place while you were away,’” the outlet wrote.

Viewers' other big question is finally answered in the film’s ending: Who is Sully?

Early in the film, we learn that Iris is the name of the little girl who appears to be accidentally left behind with Augustine in the research lab. She soon becomes his companion, and while apprehensive at first, he eventually grows very fond of her and does everything in his power to protect her.

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As the film reaches its big reveal, viewers learn that little Iris was just a figment of Augie's imagination the entire time. However, she’s not just a random figment — she is based on a real child in his life. Flashbacks are shown of Augie's past that reveal that he actually had a daughter. 

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As Sully speaks to Augustine, she reveals to him that he is one of the reasons that she joined the space program in the first place; that he had done some work with her mother, Jean Sullivan. Augustine realizes just who Sully actually is and he is overcome with emotion. She then reveals her real name is Iris. As he weeps, he responds to Iris, “It’s very nice to finally meet you.”

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