Inception was number one in the box office again this week, which has people asking the question: Will there be a sequel?
There is an obvious problem with making a follow-up to the film. Part of the fun of Inception is the amazing way it lends itself to multiple interpretations. At least, it’s wonderful for me. I’ve seen many people who hate this aspect of it, or even deny that this facet exists. Still, for many of us, this is one of the film’s major selling points.
Therein lies the problem. There’s such a fine balance (for those of us who thinks this balance exists) that any extension of the narrative has the potential of collapsing the narrative in such a way that this delicate balance will topple. We all know how horrible it can be if delightful ambiguity gets weighted down with explanation. (I’m looking at you, Highlander II.)
So, I’ve started putting my brain to work trying to figure out what further excursion into the world of Inception I’d feel halfway decent about seeing. I’ve come up with two scenarios:
1) The Immediate Prequel
Cobb and Miles discuss the fact that Miles trained Cobb to navigate dreams, but not to be a thief. Cobb replies that because of his situation (being wanted for his wife’s murder) he didn’t have a lot of choices.
So, how does a student of Miles go on to become one of the world’s top extractors? How much trial and error is involved? Where does Arthur fit in? How does Cobb meet Eames?
You could bring back Miles, Cobb, Eames, and Arthur. You could flesh out the story of Mal a bit, even include her The question of “Did Mal really kill herself or is it Cobb who is trapped?” wouldn’t have to be answered, so people can feel free to keep speculating. There’s a chance for a bit more “freaky” dreamscapes that people thought were missing in Inception because our heroes may not be as skilled at simulating reality yet.
The “Inception was all a dream some guy had on a plane, there are no extractors, it’s all made up,” would fall by the wayside.
2) The long wait sequel.
Let Nolan write the sequel and take another eight years, heck, sixteen years. Have him work out a companion piece that respects the complexity of Inception, rather than seeking to reduce or expand it. An obvious take for me would be to have Cobb’s children try to figure out what happened to their mother. Do they find out what Cobb did? Would they awaken Mal? Do they find out that they aren’t real, but part of Cobb’s subconscious? (Hey, I’m not writing it!) Let Nolan shoot some footage now so that he can present younger versions of the main characters without relying on CGI.
Thoughts on an Immediate Sequel
There may be a case where the studio is itching for a sequel within the next five years. If this is the case, I think that an expansion of complexity would be better than a reduction. If they’re going to do something like deal with Cobb and his current situation, I suggest adding a third dimension to the dream-within-a-dream.
I am, of course, available for consultation.