Here's How 'Stowaway's' [SPOILER] Actually Died During the Movie

Chris Barilla - Author

Apr. 26 2021, Updated 1:02 p.m. ET

Anna Kendrick
Source: Netflix

*Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers for Stowaway.*

After finally landing on Netflix on April 22, 2021, Stowaway has already proven to be a breakout success for the streaming giant. Months of anticipation led up to the release of the feature film starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette, and the sci-fi thriller has become the biggest thing on the service right now.

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Beyond its star-studded cast and unique plot, the film has also stirred some confusion among viewers trying to piece together what exactly went down in its 116-minute run time. One element is the tragic loss of Anna's character, Zoe. So, why did Zoe die in Stowaway? Here's a breakdown.

zoe died stowaway
Source: Netflix
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Why did Zoe die in 'Stowaway'? She sacrificed herself for the greater good.

The plot of Stowaway is one that tugs at the heartstrings, to say the least. When the Kingfisher rocket's mission to Mars is unexpectedly interrupted by the discovery of a stowaway on the craft (Michael Adams), the entire dynamic of the mission changes. His discovery damages the ship's carbon dioxide removal system and results in a broken arm for the ship's captain, Marina Barnett. 

From then on, the crew is faced with a difficult situation: They don't have enough oxygen for everyone to make it to Mars. Marina insinuates that Michael should be killed, but Zoe immediately shoots that down when she learns that Michael has a sister at home who depends on him. 

The story then shifts to an active effort by the team to train the inexperienced Michael on how to operate as an astronaut.

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After a little bit of time, a solution finally presents itself: Use the external oxygen booster tanks made for liftoff as backup sources of oxygen within the craft. The only issue is that retrieving the tanks requires a 450-meter dangerous journey outside the vessel through space. During the first attempt to retrieve the oxygen, Zoe messes up badly and loses the tank, leaving the team to plan another trip out into the deadly solar radiation to get more oxygen.

anna kendrick die stowaway
Source: Netflix
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Although both Michael and David volunteer for the dangerous task, it's ultimately Zoe who decides it's her move to make, and she risks her life once again to retrieve oxygen for the team. The heroic astronaut actually succeeds at securing the oxygen, but tragically dies only seconds after completing her mission. 

The film ends with Zoe taking one last look through the ship's window before succumbing to her fate, and the credits roll only seconds after that.

'Stowaway' has a lot of plot holes that viewers were quick to point out.

Living and working in space is a very precarious task involving countless necessary components that must all be addressed, but in Stowaway, many of these were ignored, causing some serious plot holes. For example, no explanation is ever given for how Michael ended up in the one chamber that supports the ship's carbon dioxide regulation, or how he inexplicably was wrapped around the one wire that makes the entire system work (which becomes the basis for the entire plot of the movie).

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Beyond that, the characters are never really given much of a back story, just some unique personality attributes that help drive the film forward. Even in the case of Michael raising his sister, no further details are given beyond just that he does it. Fans might have also assumed from the get-go that Michael would be the one to sacrifice himself given his precarious position within the crew and willingness to help, but he remains stagnant for most of the story.

Despite the issues some keen space fans and viewers might pick up on, Stowaway has proven itself to be an overall success for Netflix and is another thriller space film that has captivated fans worldwide.

You can stream Stowaway on Netflix now.

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