Listen to our Gravity episode on:
Imagining a sequel to Gravity is a surprisingly tall order. Alfonso Cuarón’s multi-Oscar winning sci-fi megahit is unquestionably a stunning technical achievement, but the bare-bones survival story it hangs them on leaves little room for characterisation. The film is essentially a two-hander between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. All we know of her character is that she’s a medical engineer with a dead daughter and a strong desire to live. Clooney’s chatty Lieutenant has a little more personality, but – spoiler alert – he dies around 30 minutes into the film.
You might argue that nuanced characters aren’t really the point of a film like Gravity, and it’s true that the movie probably deserved every one of the seven Academy Awards it picked up – all of which were technical. But as Bullock’s Dr Ryan Stone hurtles through the earth’s atmosphere at the climax of the film, it’s difficult to feel any real investment in her survival, compared to – say – Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in Alien, or Amy Adams’ not entirely dissimilar character from Arrival. Whether through superior acting, better script work or a combination of the two, these films were fronted by fully realised, relatable human beings, rather than the intermittently resourceful woman in peril Bullock portrays.
Because the many, many dangers in the film are situational – debris storms, isolations, depleting oxygen supplies – there’s also no particular big bad that a potential sequel could return to. Most likely Dr Stone would have little desire to return to space after her traumatic experience, and the film certainly doesn’t suggest that she possesses any particularly unique skills that would demand it – unless being exceptionally lucky at Eenie Meenie Miney Mo counts.
Perhaps this is why director Alfonso Cuarón has shown little enthusiasm for returning to the film. He once joked to Entertainment Weekly that the film had an alternative ending in which Bullock survives her emergency landing on earth only to be crushed to death moment’s later by Clooney’s character’s corpse.
So while in the real world, Gravity looks destined to remain franchise-less, here at Beyond The Box Set we’re rising to the challenge. Faced with a choice between adding character development that wasn’t necessarily present in the original or doubling down on the almost ridiculous pace of ever-escalating action that drives the movie, we each took a different route. Here’s a brief summary of what we came up with
John’s Pitch | Gravity 2: The Lost World
Harry’s Pitch | Gravity 2: Down to Earth
Our Gravity episode is available through iTunes, Stitcher, aCast and many other podcast hosting channels, so tune in on your preferred platform and let us know what you think of our ideas. As it turns out, both of our sequels were quite open-ended this week, so in addition to your sequel ideas for the film, we’d also like to hear your sequels to our sequels! So very meta!