Original Post Here
This is my interpretation of the ending of the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey
G Williams wrote:
> Can anyone explain exactly *what* was supposed to happen in the weird
> bit at the end when he leaves the ship and goes out in the pod and
> ends up in the room?
In the Dawn of Man segment, the monolith transformed advanced animals
into primitive people. The tangible manifestation of this was
tool-use, particularly weapon use, with the benefit of improved
hunting ability and the dubious benefit of homicide/murder/war.
[ Some people would disagree with the premise that there is
a fundamental difference between animals and people. Perhaps,
but IMHO such a difference is fundamental to 2001. ]
The first homicide weapon turns into an orbital nuclear weapons
launcher. Clarke has mentioned this, though acknowledging that
you really can't tell that in the movie. All the other satellites
you see before the Pan Am Space Clipper are nuke launchers also.
In one click of the movie camera humans have evolved from primitive
people to advanced people.
The monoliths on the moon and around Jupiter are a trap to lure in
a human sample for the next step, to transform advanced people
into primitive "Star people", a higher level of being as far
above humans as humans are above animals.
Bowman is sucked in by the monolith, which is a star gate that
sends him via faster than light travel to wherever it is that the
beings doing this whole uplift project are.
Before they can run Bowman through the accelerated evolution
process they have to let him finish his human life first. Or
maybe they have to observe him for 40 years or so to get enough
baseline data to calibrate the evolution machine for humans.
Finally they evolve Bowman into a Star Child, and send him back to
Earth, where he gets to decide what to do with the remaining
In the book the Star Child arrives just as World War III is
breaking out. He doesn't like the idea, so he detonates all
the nuclear weapons in orbit around the Earth, harmlessly.
Just my interpretation of the book and movie, plus
Lost Worlds of 2001 which has various earlier versions of