IO (2019) Script

[Sam] It's like we were doomed to destroy our planet.

Some say it was because of the increasing pollution.

I just call it human nature.

A few scientists predicted what would happen.

They started working on a power station that could be sent into space to harvest geothermal energy from other planets.

But it was too late.

People would start dying in their sleep... suffocating in the streets, the blood in their veins turning black.

"An unexpected change in atmosphere composition," they said.

To me it was just our planet desperately trying to survive by kicking us out.

So one day, a hundred ships flew off into the sky.

It was the Exodus mission.

They turned the power station into a colony, like a lifeboat floating above Jupiter's volcanic moon, also known as…


[rain falling]

[Sam] What do we have here?

[automated female voice] Audio memorandum initiated.

[Sam] Begin audio log entry 46809.

Researcher ID Sam Walden.

I'm looking at what appears to be rafts of mosquito or midge fly spawn. Period.

Something resembling blooms of black algae identifiable in subsurface ponded water despite minimal opportunity for chemosynthesis. Period.

That's what I thought.

Level of toxicity in ambient atmosphere: severe.

Sample 181A. Water-striding insects.

Found in a zone apparently in the presence of a strong concentration of ammonia.

Sample 181B.

Drawn from sediment strata, should confirm or disconfirm the presence of bacterium able to use ammonium as a main oxygen source.


"A shudder in the loin engenders there, the broken wall, the burning roof and tower... and Agamemnon dead."


[heavy breathing]

Plants are changing colors.




[engine starts]

[Sam] Elon.

I keep having this dream.

I'm on a beach.

I can feel the wind blowing in my hair, hear the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

I can breathe.



[Sam] You won't believe what I discovered this morning.

Anaerobic reproduction in a water-striding insect colony.

Yet another new species.


Imagine if the bees could adapt like those insects.

It would prove that my dad is right.

Earth is not dying, it's being reborn.

[keyboard clacking]

I know things aren't easy on the IO Colony, but... please write back soon.

I love you, Elon.

From Earth until the end of the universe.


[whispers] I'm sorry.


[gas hissing]

[hissing stops]

[Elon] Dear Sam, your scientific discoveries never cease to astound me.

Unearthing the last bits of life hanging onto that dying world... that's amazing.

Imagine what you could find in a whole new galaxy.

Just a week from now, we'll have harvested enough of IO's volcanic energy to power the entire New World Expedition fleet.

Life is in the stars, Sam.

Your father can't hold you back any longer.

Very soon, the last pocket of air on Earth will be gone.

You both need to be on the next Exodus shuttle and come here.

I love you.

From IO until the end of the universe, Elon.

This is Doctor Harry Walden, transmitting on frequency 90-43, listening on frequency 95-60 kilohertz daily.

The world we once called home appears to have turned against us.

However bleak the situation may seem, death is only a part of the process.

The fundamental principle of nature is survival.

More than in our DNA, it is in our mind, in our soul, to seek life no matter what.

Plant life has already evolved to resist ammonia toxicity.

Once bees and other pollinators adapt, our model predicts vegetation growth will decontaminate the air in less than 20 years.

We take to the stars in search of our salvation, but we fail to recognize that we are already on the most significantly equipped spaceship.

People can, and inevitably will, adapt and flourish again on our beautiful planet.

Don't lose yourself looking into the darkness of space.

Your home is shining blue just in front of your eyes.

Safe travels and hope to welcome you here among us soon.

[classical music playing]

[Harry] Generally, the queen bee is marked so she's easy to find.

But sometimes she's replaced during a season.

In thousands of bees, she blends in pretty well, [computer chimes] but if you look closely, you'll notice her thorax, her middle segment, is... is not like the worker bees...

[Elon] There's amazing news here, Sam.

The council officially announced the first New World Expedition.

They chose Proxima Centauri.

The exoplanet Proxima B really is a near-identical Earth twin.

It takes ten years to get there.

All my friends are applying for the mission. They need engineers.

But it has grave implications for the Exodus program.

[Sam] Damn it.

[engine starts]

[brakes screech]

[engine stops]


[thunder rumbling]

[alarm blaring]


[Elon] The Council's decision changes everything.

Effective immediately, all spacecraft personnel, energy, everything has been redirected to the New World Expeditions.

The Exodus shuttles that are on Earth right now will launch in four days and will be the last ever sent to IO.

You have to leave with your father, Sam.

The universe is calling for us.

Can't you hear it?

[wind blowing]



[Sam] A giant storm hit our camp yesterday.

My father's entire bee colony is gone.

All the progress we'd made, dozens of new genetic strains, all lost.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

Even if I accept that you might be right about going to IO, we can't carry enough oxygen with the ATVs.

I don't think we could ever make it to the launch site.


[metallic creaking]

[metallic thud]



I'm here for Dr. Harry Walden.

I heard the radio transmission.

Can I have some water?

It's only cloudy like that because of the charcoal.

We filter our drinking water through sand and charcoal. It's all it needs.

Is he in there?

I'm Dr. Walden's research assistant.

I'm sure I can answer any of your questions.

I'm here to see Dr. Walden.

Not you.

Not anybody else.

[thunder rumbles]

[rain pattering]

[door closes]

We haven't had anyone make the pilgrimage to see Dr. Walden in a long time.


Why you're here, isn't it?

To meet Dr. Walden.

Where did you say he was again?

He's off in the mountain right now, gathering specimens for our work.

I need you to take me to him.

I can't. I don't know his exact location.

Where's everyone else?

There is no one else.

I'll wait.

You're going to Exodus.


Your balloon.

You're going to the final Exodus launch to IO?

That's right.

It sure took you long enough to decide to leave Earth.

I'll fix you some food.


I'm not gonna take any of your food.

[Sam] We have plenty.

You have fresh vegetables?

Yeah. I have an entire greenhouse.

It's better with that.


Do you know if there's any animals left in the sea?

I've always really wanted to go to the ocean.


There's nothing.

There's nothing anywhere.

Even the birds all died.

You'd think they could live up high like us.

Yeah. Birds gotta land too, you know.

Have you ever seen a swan?


Yeah, when I was a kid..


You're from before.


You've seen other cities?

Just from the sky.

Is it the same everywhere?

Yeah, it's the same everywhere.

I don't believe you. No way you could've seen everywhere.

When is Dr. Walden getting back?

Sometimes he's gone for days.

[machines beeping]

[keyboard clacking]

[electronic whirring]

You have a lot of electronic equipment in here.

[Sam] We scavenge and salvage what we can from the zone.

[Micah] What are you doing?

[Sam] We're trying to establish a variant breed of honeybees that can adapt to the toxic atmosphere.

Immunogenics is pretty fascinating actually.

No, right now. What are you doing right now?

[Sam] Oh, um...

I'm writing a letter.

What are you talking about? To who?

Someone on the Colony.

You have contact with IO?

My friend Elon is an engineer working on the solar cell mission to Alpha Centauri.

He can access the main transmission link between Earth and IO.

You're gonna have to sleep in here tonight.

Dr. Walden's work is very important and I can't have you interfering.

[Micah] Is that his room there?

It's his office and living quarters.


This is Dr. Harry Walden, transmitting on frequency 90-43, listening on frequency 95-60 kilohertz daily.

That's 31 meters band frequency, -95-60 kilohertz. -Is that what I heard?

A recording?

[Sam] It's protocol.

When he's not here, I play the tape.

So he's been gone more than two days?

Uh... I guess that's right.

He'll be back tomorrow probably.

What's your name?


I'm Sam.

It's nice to meet you, Sam.

[wind howling]

[Sam] Wanna make yourself useful?


I have to repair a broken solar panel too.

Should be able to seal it, but it'll never put out as many amps as it used to.

[Micah] You do a lot of work around here.

You have a rope?

[Micah grunts]


[metallic clang]


Looks pretty good, right?

[Sam] So, you know my friend Elon I mentioned before?

He's not really my friend.

Well, he is, but he's, you know, more than that.

Is that right?

How does that work?

[Sam] A lot of letters, a lot of, uh... loneliness.


What about you? Do you have a wife?


I guess you must think it's stupid.

[sighs] What?

Me and Elon.

I mean...

Do you think it's absurd to love someone that's millions of miles away?

Not at all.

So ancient is the desire for one another which is implanted in us.

Reuniting our original nature, seeking to make one of two and healing the state of man.

What's that?



What does it mean?

He says... humans originally had two faces.

Four arms, four legs.

And they were happy like that.


Then they defied the gods, so the gods split us in two as punishment.

Tore us away from our other halves.

He said each of us, when separated, is always looking for our other half.

It's our nature.

But when one is met with this other half...

the pair are lost in an amazement of love, friendship, intimacy.

And one will not be seen out of the other's sight.

See, the reason is... human nature was once originally one.

And we were whole.

And the desire and the pursuit of the whole...

is called love.


You know a lot about this stuff.

I was gonna be a teacher... once.

I wasn't gonna tell you this...

Harry Walden is my father.




[Sam] Come with me.

Bees used to do almost all the pollinating, but... now I have to do it all by hand.

-The three sisters. -[Sam] Yeah.

Corn provides the structure for the beans to climb, squash spreads out over the soil like mulch, and that keeps the moisture in.

And then the beans provide the nitrogen in return.

Everybody wins.

What are those tattoos?

E to the i pi plus one equals zero.

It's Euler's equation.

But this one's my absolute favorite. It's, uh...

Nowak's Evolvability Equation.

Symbols on the left represent all possible strings of molecules and symbols on the right represent selection pressures and fitness ratings.

Basically that just means, um... all that's necessary for life to emerge are molecules subject to forces of selection and mutation.

If those conditions are met, self-replication emerges.

People can change.

Don't you see how important that is? I mean...

What about the markings on your rib cage?

Uh... It's nothing. It's just something  we do as part of our research.

We do it to build up our immunity.

Does it hurt?

Not that bad.

That's Lucy.

How is that possible?

[Sam] It's complicated.

You see, for my Dad...

IO was just a last resort.

A lifeboat.

-[Micah] What happened to Lucy? -She died... eventually.

She gave us hope.


I wanna see this.

[Harry] Planet Earth is a miracle in the universe.

We are its caretakers, and it is our duty to stay... stay and fight for our world.

Humans may have nearly destroyed our home, but we can make it habitable again and we will breathe the air again.

The strong, brave souls that will stay, if any do choose to stay, will become a new civilization of its own design.

[man] A special thanks to Dr. Walden.

A note to our viewers that this will be our final program due to the shut down of all broadcast television from midnight tonight.

There is too much to say, and I will end the program as I have every day for the last eight years.

From all of us, to all of you...

[together] See you tomorrow.

[man] Thank you.


[Sam] For a long time, you must've thought it was the right thing to do.

Staying on Earth.


For a long time.

I was foolish.

[Sam] I think you were really brave.

My dad would have thought so too.

So I see you found my parents' old bedroom.

[Micah] Your mother's name was June, right?

Yeah, that's right.

How'd you know that?

What did he do to her?

What do you mean?

What did Dr. Walden do to cause your mother's death?

My mom got sick.

That's it.

[Micah] But he kept her here, right?

-He kept all of you here. -No.

What do you mean "no"?

Sam, she died because he kept her here.

You're wasting my time.

I have a lot of work to be doing.


Open the door.




[Harry] Samantha, listen to me.

It's not worth it, you continuing my experiments.

Dad, what are you doing in here?

It's my lab, isn't it?

You shouldn't be in here, not without your oxygen.

Sam, it's fine.

You don't need to take care of me anymore. I'm fine.

[Sam] No, you're not fine.

Where have you been?


Sam, it's...

If there was a discovery, a miracle discovery, I would've found it.

What about Lucy?

How are things with Elon?

I'm not talking to you about that.


Don't underestimate the power of human connection.

That's all there is.

There is no bigger meaning.

Just human connection.

You used to say that about science.

Sam, we have to leave this place.

Sooner or later you'll have to.

You're all alone here.

I'm not alone.

I don't count.

Why not?

I'm dead.

[Sam] My dad buried my mom here.

I buried him here beside her.

I'm sorry I yelled at you.

I have to tell you something, Sam, and you're not gonna like it.

I've decided I'm taking you to Exodus.

And I can get you there in the balloon.

You won't understand it now, but it's not up for debate.

You've got your entire life ahead of you.

And I'm not gonna leave you here alone.

Do you understand what I'm saying?

I'm taking you away from here.

You're going to IO and you're never coming back.




When do we leave?


We'll have to plot our course and wait for favorable wind conditions, but it has to be soon.

We've a long way to travel and we're running out of days.

[wind whistling]

[keyboard clacking]

[Sam] Elon.

I have good news.

A traveler arrived at the Enclave today in a helium balloon.

I thought I was dreaming.

His name is Micah.

I'm not even sure where he's from or how he's survived this long on Earth.

He's offered to take me to Exodus.

And I've agreed.

My life on Earth is over.

It's been over for a long time.

We'll finally be together on IO, just like you've always wanted.

Are there oceans on Centauri B?

Write back soon, okay?

I really need to hear from you.

We're gonna have to wait for the wind to change direction before we can leave.

It will.

What were you gonna do if I hadn't shown up here, Sam?

You know, people aren't meant to be alone.

You think I don't know that?

I'll go and get the rest of them.


Oh, fuck.

You're never gonna believe this.

Come on.

That's how I found them.

I think it's trapped under that grate.



She's trapped.

The holes are big enough to let the workers and drones through, but they're too small for her.

She must have just hatched, which means she's a virgin queen.

How is that possible?

I don't know.

So what does it mean?

It doesn't mean anything.

[computer chimes]

[Elon] Sam... thank God you made the decision to travel to the Exodus launch.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to write sooner, but there's been a change here as well.

Yesterday my commanding officer asked me to join the first New World Expedition shuttle.

This morning I accepted.

I hope you of all people will understand that I had no choice.

This is my destiny, my purpose.

We can still be together, but it won't be for many, many years.


Please write back before you leave.

All transmission links with Earth will be cut after the final Exodus launch and I am desperate to receive one last letter from you before I leave.

All my love, from IO until the end of the universe, Elon.

[Micah] You ever have squash spaghetti?

What was it like?


I'm sure your father told you what it was like.

I want to know what it was like for you.

Where are you from?

I grew up in the suburbs.

In a neighborhood.

By the time I was old enough, I was in the city every chance I got.

We weren't ready for this.

No matter what warning we got from people like your father.

What we saw with our own eyes.

The future we got was unthinkable.

For everybody.

Unexpected things can be good too.

[water running]


[glass shatters]

[wind whistling]

[door opens]

Damn it!

We'll never be able to get off the ground if the wind doesn't change.

Trust me.

It'll change.

[classical music playing]

That song.

I remember that song.

I'm sorry.

It's okay.

I can't.

We have to.

[Sam] Do you see the glimmer? To the left of Jupiter?

[Micah] Is that the Colony?

[Sam] It's the Colony.

It's actually orbiting IO, but the Colony's so much brighter in the sky that IO becomes obscured.

I never thought I'd see it.

There's this...

art exhibit I really wanted to see.

An art exhibit?

The Museum of Art.

It's one of the last exhibits from before.

"Modern Myths."

Would you have taught your students about myths?


I think I would have.

[keyboard clacking]

[Sam] 4.36 light years away.

Is that the same as saying forever?

The space between us will become more vast until it's too far to cross.

I've lied to you, Elon.

My father's dead.

He's been dead for a long time now.

It was my decision, all along, to stay on Earth.

I think we're both looking for worlds to call our own...

but different ones.

I hope you find yours.

[electronic whirring]

[robotic female voice] Attention. Urgent notice.

Due to catastrophic weather event, Exodus shuttle number 127 is unable to launch.

Your departure has been changed to Exodus 134 at 49.5466 degrees by 16.4059 degrees.

Exodus shuttles will begin embarkation in 26 hours and 12 minutes.

[Micah] They moved the launch site.

What are you talking about? Is that a problem?

We don't have enough helium to fly that far!

We're stuck here!

It's never gonna end.

I must be cursed.

What do you mean?

You wanna know why I really came here?


Your father told us to stay on Earth.

I saw dozens of people starve to death because of him.

Because he gave us hope.

My wife was sick.

Food would have kept her alive for a few more days, but... that was all.

Then the food would have been gone.

I hid rations so I could survive.

I watched my wife die...

so I could be the survivor.

I couldn't live with that.

So I came here to find him.

And all I found was you instead.

I won't make the same mistake twice and let you die too.

Thank you.

Thank you for telling me, Micah.

I know where we can get helium.

It's in the zone.

It's really far.

It's farther than I've ever gone.

We'd have to stay longer than I've ever stayed before.

We'd need to stay the night there.

It's not possible, Sam.

It's possible.

I think.

Adapt or die.

Isn't that what they say?

This is Sam Walden.

Transmitting on a frequency 90.43 kilohertz daily.

If anyone's still listening to these broadcasts...

...Doctor Harry Walden, my father, mentor, and best friend, has died.

On October 13th of last year, I buried him next to my mother.

[Micah] What about here?

You ever been to this part before?


Should work. It's just a big open field.

We'll drop the balloon there. Then we'll go get the helium.

Museum of Art.

[Micah sighs]




I just need you to focus.

We mess up and we die.

I am focused.

[Sam] This afternoon, I'll be leaving our enclave to travel to the Exodus launch site.

If anyone's receiving this broadcast, I implore you to do the same.

We thought we could find a way for humans to survive on Earth.

We were wrong.

This is Sam Walden, over and out.

[Micah] Why are we stopped?

[Sam] It's incredible, right?

[Micah] It's a graveyard, Sam.

All I see are ghosts.

We're near the launch spot.

Let's drop the balloon and get moving. We've got a lot of ground to cover.

[doors creak]

[Micah] Sam!

-What? -There's a lot of helium in here.

[Sam] I know.

[Micah] But that's a good thing, right? It's why we came.

-Right? -Yeah.

[Micah] So, come on.

Give me a hand.

All right. We get a few more, and then we camp here for the night.

It's getting too dark to travel.

[Sam] So you know how life started on this planet?

[Micah] Was it a bacteria?

[Sam] Yeah.

They came out of the ocean, and here we are... at the very end of this cycle.

[Micah] Do you realize that you might be the last woman to live on Earth?

[Sam] I'm sure there are other people alive.

[Micah] Yeah, on the Colony, working hard to find our new home, where you won't need a gas mask to take me to a restaurant.

[Sam chuckles]

[Micah] Now, how does this work?

[Sam] Once we switch to fresh tanks, we turn the air valve down 50%.

We try to relax.

We should be okay.

[Micah] You set your alarm?

[Sam] Yes.

[Micah] Let's do this.

[Micah sighs]

[air hissing]

-[Sam] Is that okay? -[Micah] Yeah.

[gas hissing]

[Sam] I'll be right back.

[Micah] Sam.


We leave in one hour.

[Sam] Yeah.

I know.

[engine starts]

[door opens]


[gas hissing]

[alarm beeping]


[Micah] We have to go, Sam.

[Sam] "A shudder in the loins engenders there.

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower.

And Agamemnon dead.

So mastered by the brute blood of the air.

Did she put on his knowledge with his power before the indifferent beak could let her drop?"

[Micah] Sam.

[Sam] Tell me what it means.

[Micah] Leda gave birth to Helen.

Helen of Troy.

A face that launched a thousand ships.

She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

Her abduction by Paris, the Prince of Troy... brought upon the Trojan War.

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower, and Agamemnon dead.

Leda was related to the gods.

And the swan is Zeus.

Zeus in disguise.

Leda gave birth to God's children.

You did everything you could.

Your father would be proud of you.

Let's go.


[Sam] I'm not going with you.

You're gonna have to go on your own.

[alarm beeping]

[Micah] Change your tank.

We can talk about it at the launch site.

[Sam] I keep having this dream... where I'm in the zone... and...

I'm not wearing a mask.

I strike my lighter and... it's dark purple.

But I'm fine.

Everyone sees so much death here...

but I see life.

Why are you doing this, Sam? Change your tank.

Promise me something.

If I survive, tell everyone on IO that there's a future on Earth.

[Micah] Sam! Sam!


[Sam] I'm okay.

It's okay.

It's okay.

[heavy breathing]

[wind whistling]

[Sam] Dear Micah,

my father loved the T.S Eliot quote, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

We have learned to fear our planet and fled to the stars in search of a new one.

But the fascination for other worlds could not turn my eyes away from the beauty of our home.

The waves are crashing on the shore...

and the wind is blowing in my hair.

Tell them it feels good.

Tell them the dark clouds have given way to the ocean mist.

Tell them a new world awaits us.

Tell them we're waiting for you.

Waiting for you to come back.

[wind blowing]

[waves ebbing and flowing]