Don’t expect to ever see an Inception 2. Director Christopher Nolan’s Inception burst onto the scene in July 2010, establishing itself as a thinking man’s blockbuster that sparked extended conversations about its intricacies. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt leading a stellar cast and the film ending on a mysterious note, it’s natural to believe Inception 2 was going to happen. Why didn’t Nolan make an Inception sequel and give inquiring minds some concrete answers?
Inception followed a group of highly-trained criminals who specialized in extracting information from a person’s dreams. Constructing elaborate worlds, earning the trust of the target, and making sure they’re never detected — it was all going well until they were asked to do the impossible. With a premise like that plus Nolan at the helm and actors like Leonardo DiCaprio in the cast, Inception was a crime thriller with franchise potential written all over it.
The idea of a sequel was shot down on Twitter by Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it nevertheless had all the ingredients needed to get a sequel greenlit, from a strong director to a talented cast to box office receipts totaling more than $800 million worldwide. So what are the real reasons Inception 2 never happened?
Inception was only Meant To Be A Single Story
It’s evident in Inception the story doesn’t need to be returned to; it’s complete. Inception ends on a deliberately open note with no clear teases for a further film. With that in mind, it’s clear Inception was only ever meant to be a single story. The film works so well, in part, because it is the kind of open-ended that simply warrants a conversation, not an entire sequel with a different plot, some new characters, and the odd reference or two to the first film. Inception functions very well as its own movie with no promise of a sequel and is clear in what it’s trying to achieve.
For Nolan, the task of simply writing Inception was a Herculean feat. It took Nolan over a decade to actually write the Inception script; the fact he came in on time and under budget is just the cherry on top of this pre-production story. Nolan’s dedication to making sure the story was there over the course of ten years is a sure sign that writing another film would be off the table if only because it would be such a draining effort.
Christopher Nolan Dosen’t Make Sequel Films To Original Ideas
Unlike other directors, Nolan has never so much as publicly pondered the idea of returning to the world of Inception in a sequel. As far as we can tell, there has always been and will only ever be one Inception.
This falls in line with the way Nolan typically operates because he considers sequels persona non grata — even if he doesn’t actively say so. The clear exception here is Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight Trilogy, which he directed from 2005-2012. But even then there were whispers that Nolan begrudgingly signed back on for The Dark Knight Rises and may have been ready to move on. Generally speaking, Nolan has historically poured his heart into a single project rooted in an original script and then proceeded to move on to the next project without looking back.
Christopher Nolan Has Other Projects To Focus ON
Just because Nolan has let go of Inception 2 does not mean he’s been wanting for work; quite the opposite, in fact. Since Inception hit theaters in July 2010, Nolan has been hard at work as a director (not to mention writing and producing). After Inception, Nolan finished out his Batman trilogy with the aforementioned The Dark Knight Rises.
He’s gone on to direct Interstellar, which tells the story of a team of astronauts in search of a new home with planet Earth on the brink of extinction. Let’s also not forget the WWII drama Dunkirk, which recounted the British army’s evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk from three different perspectives. Nolan is now getting to work a new film, Tenet, which is still mostly a mystery but involves international spies and potentially some messing with the time-space continuum. How intriguing.