What does the ending of Extraction mean?Extraction is an adrenaline-fueled sprint of a movie with a fairly straightforward premise: An emotionally-scarred mercenary with a delightfully action-hero name (Tyler Rake, played by Hemsworth) is tasked with "extracting" young hostage Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) from a hostile city in which everyone, from gangs of street kids to the cops and military, is out to kill him.
The plot mostly unfolds the way you'd expect it to (with a few devious detours), right up until the ending, which sees Tyler managing to get Ovi to safety before he's shot in the neck and seemingly killed by Farhad (Suraj Rikame), a vengeful young criminal Tyler had earlier given a gentle beatdown -- a callback to the opening scene of the movie. While we don't see Tyler's last breaths, it sure looks like a fatal injury, and we see Tyler fall off a bridge and into the water as Ovi is hauled to safety by Tyler's ally, Nik (Golshifteh Farahani). "We show you at the beginning that he's hit by a sniper by a potentially fatal shot, so the whole movie you're watching to see if Rake is going to survive the film or not. That creates tension as you're watching the film because you know where it's going," said Russo.
Flash forward 8 months later and an obviously traumatized Ovi is back at school, trying to reacclimate after everything he's been through. In the final scene of the movie, after steeling himself to take a dive in the pool, Ovi resurfaces to find someone watching him - someone who looks suspiciously like Tyler (if a bit blurry and out of focus). This ambiguous ending has left many wondering: is Tyler dead or alive at the end of Extraction?
Is Tyler alive at the end of Extraction?Russo admitted that the ambiguous ending was designed to allow the audience to make up their own minds about whether Tyler survived or died, but didn't rule out the possibility of a sequel: "What we love about that ending is, you can interpret it any way you want to, which is really, for us, it represents hope for the boy that he’s gonna have a future, you know, that that is the ghost of Rake that’s looking over him - it’s really what it means to him at the end of the movie more so than what it means to the audience. And there’s nothing wrong with ambiguous endings, in fact, they can be quite entertaining and incite a lot of conversation which I always think is the value of a public medium like filmmaking, is that everyone can argue about it and discuss it ad nauseam - but unless there’s a prequel or a sequel, that question won’t be answered."
Of watching himself die (or seemingly die) on camera, Hemsworth said, "It's a weird thing, I've got to say. I remember Rush, you know, he dies many years later, and every time that final image of the movie comes up, it always got emotional, but I think, because that was a real guy - not that I knew the guy - but something was heartbreaking about it. It's tricky. Watching yourself, in general, can be a little abrasive, but when it's done right and there's music and all those sorts of things, it's a little easier to get lost in it."
Will Extraction get a sequel?That prompted the obvious follow-up question of whether there will be an Extraction prequel or sequel, to which Russo and Hemsworth both said, "We don't know," presumably leaving the ball in Netflix's court to greenlight a follow-up of some kind if the movie proves popular enough. (Update, 5/4: Joe Russo has closed a deal to write an Extraction sequel for Netflix - get the details.)
Hemsworth said that he liked Russo's take on the ending, joking that he'd have to check his contract to see whether Tyler lived or died: "As Joe said, I love the ambiguity there and the way you could interpret it however you like. I really like what you said there Joe, that it represents the boy’s gonna be okay, whether that’s the ghost of Rake watching over him or something, it represents someone still watching him and taking care of him - I like that version. Whether that's actually him or not, we don’t know."Either way, Hargrave said he's down to return to the world of Extraction should Netflix order a prequel or sequel to the film. "It’s a hypothetical ... there are so many storylines in this world that Joe built with the script, there’s so many ways it could go. If anything were to happen, it’s really up to finding the best story… and what’s the best thing for the movie and the universe that is growing out of the script that Joe wrote. I am open, I think there’s so many fun possibilities, I’m ready, whatever the next challenge brings, I’ll be there."
The plot of Extraction leaves plenty of room for a prequel exploring Tyler Rake's past before he becomes involved in Ovi's story, if Russo and Hemsworth don't want to ever definitively answer the question of who the mystery man is in Extraction's final scene. There's plenty of backstory to mine in Tyler's relationship with David Harbour's duplicitous Gaspar - given that we know Tyler once saved Gaspar's life - as well as Tyler's history with Nik, and we're sure there are plenty of other suicide missions the former SASR operative-turned mercenary could've gotten involved in over the course of his career. Whether we'll get to see any of them - or potentially learn how Tyler survived a seemingly fatal bullet wound - is up to Netflix.If you missed the show, you can watch the video commentary of the movie with Hemsworth, Hargrave, and Russo below (the stream begins at the 27-minute mark, and Hemsworth joins around 1 hour and 7 minutes in):For more from our Watch From Home Theater series, find out what we learned from Jonathan Frakes about Star Trek: First Contact, the T-Rex blooper you missed in Jurassic Park courtesy of Joseph Mazzello, how the plot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story evolved with writers Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, and insights from 10 Cloverfield Lane with director Dan Trachtenberg and The Invisible Man with director Leigh Whannell, plus read our review of Extraction.
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