A Fantasy in Sci-Fi’s Clothing: Interstellar and the Liberation of Magic from Genre

James Koh


In his film Interstellar (2014) Christopher Nolan depicts an outer space filled with
black holes, gravitational phenomenon, ghosts, and tesseracts. As the protagonist
ventures into space to find a new habitable planet, he encounters incredible
scientific challenges, moral dilemmas, and religious questions. Religion and
morality are established themes in space films and in science fiction, and the film
was largely acknowledged for its attempts to grapple with larger ontological and
religious questions. However, the film is often overlooked for its magical
elements. Interstellar is largely a fantasy film but is also incredibly rich in science
fictional tropes and themes. In this essay, I will argue that Interstellar can be
reduced to neither a fantasy film nor a science fiction one, and that the complex
relationship between science and magic are explored in a unique and artistically
valuable way.


Science Fiction, Fantasy, Interstellar, Christopher Nolan, Magic, Science, Religion, Popular Culture, Film, Space

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