Decoding “Source Code”: What’s Your Interpretation of the Ending?

Decoding "Source Code": What's Your Interpretation of the Ending?

It may not share too many things with “Inception” outside of a slight similarity in means of quantum teleportation, but “Source Code” does have an ending that’s worthy of interpretation, much like Christopher Nolan’s (much weaker) hit from last year. In fact, some of the same theories applied to “Inception” could work for Duncan Jones’ new “director-for-hire” follow-up to “Moon.” I’ll wait until after the jump to go into details, since obviously this discussion will include spoilers. But while I do believe Jones (and maybe to a lesser degree the original screenwriter, Ben Ripley) sets up a precise idea of what happens at the end, I’ve already encountered people with different thoughts on it.

So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, do so, and then check if your interpretation matches mine below.

Here is the literal ending: Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has repeatedly been leaping into the body of a man riding a commuter train 8 minutes away from total destruction, completes his mission and saves Chicago from a dirty bomb. He then asks Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) to send him back to the 8 minute “loop” one last time so that he can also save the people on the train — a feat deemed impossible by “source code” inventor Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) — and then at the end of the 8 minutes Goodwin is to pull the plug on the physical, comatose body of Stevens laying in the lab, thereby killing him. She fulfills both requests.

At the end of the 8 minutes, Stevens (in the body of Sean) kisses the girl (Michelle Monaghan) and time seems to freeze. Then it picks back up again and the couple goes out for their coffee and a visit to Cloud Gate in Chicago’s AT&T Plaza and live happily ever after. Then, a kind of epilogue shows Goodwin arriving to work earlier that morning and receiving a text message from Stevens explaining that he has changed the course of the future by saving the passengers and that the comatose soldier in the lab will eventually go on to a different “first” “source code” mission one day. Hopefully that’s as clear as the events can be laid out, though you also hopefully have seen the film so know what I’m talking about.

Firstly, here’s the incorrect explanations that I’ve heard: Stevens is now split into two separate places at the same time,* because his consciousness is inside the body of Sean, like a “Quantum Leap” or “Being John Malkovich” kind of way, forever, whether he has control over the body or not (I guess because we see Gyllenhaal and only view Sean in mirrors, more like “Quantum Leap,” Stevens is in control). And it is also inside the comatose, half-soldier laying in the lab awaiting his first mission. And none of this is a parodox in any way, because as the film acknowledges, the “source code” science may just be creating multiple alternate timelines/dimensions.

Or, all is the same but the Stevens spending time with the girl (her name is Christina) and the Stevens in the lab are in two separate timelines, because the text message created its own alternate reality. Or, all is the same but it is a paradox, because if the disaster was averted then no “source code” mission took place meaning nobody averted the disaster, etc.

But here’s my explanation, which isn’t too much different in terms of their possibly being multiple timelines, but I think it works even within a single reality, albeit a somewhat paradoxical one: Stevens returns to the train for its final 8 minutes and he succeeds in averting the disaster by handcuffing the terrorist and reporting his van full of explosives. However, when the 8 minutes is up, and the time appears to freeze, this is when Stevens would leap out of Sean’s body and return to his own body.

Yet at that very same moment, Goodwin has terminated Stevens’ body so instead of returning to the present he enters the afterlife. His afterlife looks exactly like the last moment of his consciousness, because this is what he wanted it to be. He held onto his perception of that last image and world and brought it with him to use it as a projection in his post-death consciousness, which is kind of like a dream. Actually, it’s not much different from the projected surroundings he experienced in the present, the hatch and pilot garb he felt safe in while suspended in the limbo of the coma (or whatever state his mind was living in), and the explanation of that is where he got the idea that he could do the same in death, provided consciousness still exists after our body dies.

So the entire sequence of events from the moment that time on the train unfreezes up through to the Cloud Gate (and beyond, after the film ends) is like Stevens’ heaven, as weird as it may be for him to still see someone else’s face in the mirror, and all the other people are a part of his imagination. As I said, this sort of afterlife is like a dream, and so the other people, including Christina, are just subconscious projections and not the real deal. I’ll admit, this is how I expect the afterlife to be, like an eternal sleep/dream.

Meanwhile, somewhere, the real Sean is alive, and maybe is even having coffee with the real Christina, but there is no Stevens inside his head. And the epilogue is in the same world as that real Sean and Christina wandering around either together or apart. Whether it is a paradox or an alternate timeline from the original one in which Goodwin sent Stevens back and then ultimately terminated him is not that important. Unless you want to assume that Stevens isn’t dead and is currently dreaming his date with Christina while laying in the lab, and that moment of time freezing merely rebooted him back into the lab anew. Regardless, he’s not in two places at once.*

And hopefully all that makes sense, whether you agree with it or not. As always, these time travel movies and their quantum-based explanations are tricky and will likely require some further thought and repeat reading and viewing. For now, though, let’s try to work out other thoughts down below.

* Because of the confusion, I must note that by “two places at once” I mean within the same dimension/reality/timeline and didn’t intend to dismiss the parallel worlds idea. But even with that said, I might have been confusing myself. He could technically be in two places at the same time the way there are simultaneously two Martys in 1955 in “Back to the Future,” due to time travel. I just mean his consciousness itself could not be split in half. Anyway, I’m giving myself another headache.

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Comments

JOHNY REY

I kind of seeing types of movies like this and it kind of intriguing me.I think this movie(source code) has the same explanation as the multiverse theory, paradoxes, and other related theories of alternate histories which has similar paradigm. As what I observed, the source code is creating a different dimension|realities everytime SEAN FENTRESS which inhabited the body of COLTER, leap into COLTER’s body. So therefore, the more SEAN sent back to the mission, the more it create histories with the same scenario being killed by the explosion of the train. If we comprehend all this thought, schrodingers cat paradox and the theory of multiverse can be great explanation regarding this.

Charles Kafka

if you go with the occult, or quantum physics and the conservation of energy.
​once this all colates down, sean will find himself now inhabiting ​steven’s body.
he would find himself being as bad as that head researcher.
at some point, probably after a vacation, and determining sean wasn’t a complete jerk.
he would have to return, voluntarily.
<an edit>

Charles Kafka

if you go with the occult, or quantum physics and the conservation of energy.
​sean in now inhabiting ​steven’s body, once all this collates
​steven has to go back, voluntarily, otherwise he is as bad as that head researcher.
at some point, probably after a vacation, and determining sean wasn’t a complete jerk.
he would have to return, voluntarily.

SS

This article could not be more wrong about the ending. What actually happens is that Colter Stevens ends up inhabiting Sean Fentress’s body forever. This is what Director Duncan Jones says about in an mtv interview piece. Search google for "source code movie explained"
and look up the article.

It brings up the question on what happened to Sean Fentress and where is his consciousness. It should be exactly where it was for the 8 minutes in all other realities. Basically his conciousness is dead – poor guy. When we think it as forever we feel for Sean and the ending sounds unethical. But then we are ok to have Sean dead 8 minutes before in all other realities where Coulter dies.

Also watch this movie again and note that Colter sees flashes of the final reality (the scene at The Bean) in a couple of instances prior to waking up in the capsules. This sort of indicates that the final parallel reality is real and has happened. Since Colter is retaining memory of events happened in all parallel realities, he started seeing flashes of the scene at "The Bean".

The mtv article also has the following from Jones where refers to the memory flashes.

“He’s seeing flashes of this surreal experience that he can’t figure out,” Jones explained. “Over the course of the film, he sees more and more until eventually, he’s coming to recognize this potential future where he’s able to get out of the train and experience a life beyond those eight minutes.”

Jason

Oh…and before anyone comments….he survives in the body of Sean maybe and there is no indication that Colters brain is still active anyway!

Jason

Just seen this movie for the first time. Being a huge Donnie Darko fan you can quite easily get into deep theories. Don’t bother…..the whole point of a paradox is that it can’t happen…that’s why it’s a paradox. The laws of physics do not allow travel to the past. The universe simply isn’t built that way. Just enjoy it for what it is this time. Donnie Darko where instead of sacrificing himself to save the girl he loves…he survives and everyone lives happily ever after.

Someome

Here's the one I believe is simpler. They have created a very limited time machine that can't transfer anything "heavier" that information. The only thing that machine does is obliterate information content of target's brain and inject information content of target's brain, creating quantum entaglement (real phenomenon but only on subatomic level) in the process. During the entaglement everything happening in Steven's brain is autometically happening in Sean's brain as well The explosion or otherwise imminent death of the target breaks the entaglement.

That requires infinitely less energy than any imagined time travel option. There are no parallel universes or forked timelines for every imaginable fork in history since that would require huge mass duplication and the mass of the universe would be so large that it would collapse long time ago.

If they'd do that without the guard of the explosion they'd be in legal trouble since they've just just killed the target's (Sean) brain.

Now, at the point when explosion didn't happen the future in which they'd mess with Sean's brain is turning non-existent but the entanglement is still there and the original informational content of Sean's brain is dead and replaced by Steven's. At that very point Goodwin is braking the entanglement by killing Steven's brain.

The only observable residue is that Sean's brain now has Steven's informational content.

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Ethnic Food

Wonderful interesting post. I really like it

QuantumGuru

I agree with the reviewer up until the frozen moment in time. At this point, Stevens remains in Sean's body and Sean enters Steven's body at the lab.

yielfeds03

But how come Capt. Goodwin received the email from Capt. Stevens where in fact, the email was sent while Capt. Stevens is inside the Source Code and Capt. Goodwin is in real time??

Lauren

hold up yall. The ending isn't the confusing part. How did Source Code access the memories of people who were obliterated?? And with such detail. I can't even conjure up the details of my outfit to that degree.

x1101011x

This is one of the most straightforward movies I have ever seen. They are completely upfront about everything that happens; nothing is perplexing at all.

The plot of this movie is based on an elementary understanding of the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics and modal realism. The multiverse interpretation states that every possible outcome actually happens in an alternate universe, and modal realism asserts that every possible universe is as 'real' as the world we perceive.

– Source Code –
The source code machine works by harvesting the memories of a deceased victim. These memories provide a snapshot of the scene from the perspective of the victim. This picture is, of course, incomplete. A likely explanation is that the source code software creates a model of the events around the constraints imposed by the memories and fills in the remaining details with weighted random data. (Since the victim has no created memories after his death, the data would become imprecise after this point, so the simulation would be terminated). In fact, even more likely, is that they simply force these memories into the captain's mind, and his brain fills in the details with random data that he perceives to be likely. This explains how he is able to move about and why minor details of each trip vary, but the memorable, qualitative, dimensionally reduced data remains constant (e.g., her message is the same, but her exact wording varies). He is exploring similar universes — universes closely related in the multiverse tree — in the hope that the information he seeks is the same in both this branch and 'our' branch.

– Multiple Worlds –
There are not two captains; there are infinitely many captains. Each time he is sent on a trip, they are not creating a new universe. He does not create a new universe when he sends a text; no new universes are created ever. Rather, these universes already exist — as does every conceivable possibility. When he experiences what appears to be a universe, he is exploring another branch of the multiverse. (Technically, his own consciousness *is* a branch of the multiverse itself — which is never interrupted — and the differences you see are more like isomorphisms from a segment of one universe to a segment of another, which only appear to be separate universes because of how you process this data). No matter what the captain does, he cannot change anything; he can only change which branch of the multiverse his consciousness follows (which is only an illusion generated by the arrow of time and limited information from the past).

– Quantum Immortality (Suicide) –
Since every possibility already exists, there are most certainly worlds where he is sent in on a trip, the eight minutes pass, and he finds himself to still be there. This is why they have him die in all but the last trip — to remove ambiguity (as well as to get you to wonder what would happen if he managed to avoid death). You see, the limitless multiverse is what creates the random events we observe (constrained by our priors), so what you see is an event drawn from the distribution of events *given you exist*. Since his experiences in these universes resulted in death, his consciousness could not continue in this path. Instead, it took the next probable path: that these experiences were all part of his participation in this program to explore the multiverse for intel on a threat (of course, it was really the writers who took the path). This is the principle of the quantum suicide thought experiment, that, from the perspective of the individual, each person is immortal because (1) they cannot experience futures in which they do not exist and (2) the multiverse always contains at least one universe where this individual exists. Due to the hierarchical structure of mathematical objects (complex objects are composed of simpler objects) there are 'far more' simple worlds than complex worlds, so that the perceived future will almost certainly be the 'simplest' in a certain sense (that sense being cardinalities of infinities, hence our computable universe). This explains why we see his consciousness continue to exist in the universe he was exploring during his last trip: he did not exist in the previous one, so he continued in the next probable one, which seems very likely to be the one in which he is, since continuity appears 'simpler' empirically. Of course, there are still futures where Goodwin does not pull the plug, etc., etc. But, as we know, the reality we are shown is just as valid as any of these — and seems fairly probable at that (the scientific impossibilities already take for granted).

– Visions –
During transitions between trips, the captain perceives events that appear to include both past events (his service and death) and future events (Christina's reflection in the artsy mirror). The most likely explanation is that these were simply things on his mind at the time, and he had not actually experienced events from his own future timeline. Cloud Gate is famous, and its omphalos is a metaphor of the multiple universes he experienced — which is why it was used by the writers and why he would probably think of it, if not consciously, along with the girl for whom he was obviously falling. This is backed by the fact that the subject matter of the flashes closely relates with the subject matter prior to his return.

– Conclusion –
So, there you have it: no spirits or gods or time travel or broken premises. Just pop culture physics down to a tee. And the word "fate" to get you all riled up.

tim

TNT has been showing this all weekend. If you believe in souls, it's not difficult to understand the idea of the souls switching. Sean was dead anyway. Think Meet Joe Black. Death takes over the dead body of the Brad Pitt character and lives in that body for several days. Then, when death leaves, he gives it back to the original owner (even though he had been dead).

It seems to me in this movie, in the end, Colter took over the body (soul) of Sean.

Susan

Just watched today. I have a headache from the possibilities.

Markus

okay, this is so old and you won't ever see this probably….but while i agree w some of what you said on "source code"…get off your effing high horse w this line:

"much like Christopher Nolan's (much weaker) hit…"

umm, I'm sorry, but no way is source code better in any way than Inception. You are probably one of those Nolan haters who completely misses the point with his films. Duncan Jones is great, I loved Moon and thought Source Code was great, but I don't understand all the backhanded BS hatred on Nolan like you spit out so casually there. Inception was the most original movie Hollywood has seen in years and yeah, it wasn't perfect, but it was way better than this. get over yourself man.

Mark

hhh

GEOFF

Okay, so the whole film is in the real world, up to the point when the life support is terminated (including the altered 8 min source code simulations Stevens is experiencing. Then the moment on the train unfreezes and the rest of the film is in the split universe/afterlife (pick your preference) including the bit where the captain receives the text – all fine and dandy. But how does she know Derek Frost's name, (she whispers as she overhears it at the end) if this is the split universe/afterlife in which she has had no interaction with Stevens yet? That is the only bit that doesn't add up…

Jeff

Notice the line "Everything's going to be okay" a wink to the Donnie Darko fans.
The attack was averted in an alternate universe.
But that's okay cause who's to say that's not our universe? Maybe the universe where he only stops the dirty bomb from destroying Chicago is an alternate universe from ours.

samson

don't make such dangerous film i will pop my head off

and those people use any unconscious man against there will should be killed

yogesh

hi

Carol

I think the captians conscience is completely superimposed over Sean's. It almost seems as if he will be able to re-enter his own body as needed while living in Sean's. This will enable him to complete future missions as needed while still living in his ideal dreamworld.

J

it sounds like a Matrix-type thing. i'm assuming now the Capt's "brain" is existing in the source code "universe". it will remain living there until the program is terminated. the text to the woman and everything after is in that "universe". meanwhile.. in real life, his body is dead, the woman that was running the exercise is in trouble, etc.
one place i'm stuck.. is that when he would go back and forth from the capsule to the train.. he would see images of the park where he and Christina ended up. that part confuses me.

Russell

this is deep im lost in a paralel time zone with hannah wheres the bomb?

Duy

lol, dude the movie idea was good but the ending was lacking. And it would create a paradox, because they would have to send the "other" colter to do the same thing. And the part where they the girl gets the text, a "God" mod if you will…which is like…sure ok. Like what everyone else said, the movie was super specific about what source code was. It wasn't to change anything but to get information. And lol at the part where he busted d. frost like he was a badass..i love the guy as a actor but the script they gave him……meh..he was able to go back and do the same thing over and over until he got it right, and when he did he wanted to be an ass about it…

Carlos Lincoln Marks

The ending is unexpectedly great.

powerisastateofmind

It's absolutely stunning how people can simoultanaeusly a) explain the surprisingly complex plot of this film and b) have a total lack of understanding of basic spelling and grammar. HOW have these people been educated?!

Mike

Towards the end of the movie, Stevens made the phone call to speak to his dad. He mentioned earlier in the movie that if he had one minute to live, he'd like to speak to his father just one more time. The actor portraying his father on the phone? Scott Bakula, of 'Quantam Leap' fame – someone else who went back in time to 'fix things'. Nice touch!

ALex

I believe that it all comes down to a fact explained early in the movie by the doctor. They have 8 minutes after a person dies to mess up with the brain. Well, the reality, is that Stevens is not dead while he´s being artificially supported in the lab, he is in a comma. So, the last 8 minutes, correspond to those extra 8 minutes after he is really dead, in which his imagination determines the reality until his mind truly vanishes.

Plus, if you may notice, since Stevens is disconnected, the movie ends after 8 minutes…

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Katniss Everdeen

Now this movie opened my mind to completely endless possibilities. HAHA
have faith in GOD. and stop over-thinking.

Kelly

This could be very real like somebody I know that is mysterious from your friend Kelly

Brian

Rubbish. The movie and this review (though the review suffers mostly because the movie was so bad). First, he's not going back in time, he's reliving the last 8 minutes of memories from a dead guy. They were very clear about that. One of the train-bombing victim's brain was harvested and the last 8 minutes of his memories were loaded into the Source Code program so the Capt. could review them for clues as to who the bomber is/was. I really wish they hadn't been that detailed in the description of how this works, because from there nothing, and I mean nothing about the rest of the movie makes sense. First, Sean's memories would not have included the location of the bomb. Period. The capt. shouldn't have been able to see anything Sean hadn't when he lived through it, including the location of the bomb. But the biggest issue comes from the fact that he's not traveling through time, his consciousness has been loaded into a simulation, a computer program IN THE PRESENT. So, never having gone back in time, he absolutely cannot impact the future. The 8 minutes he was repeating were being relived in the present. He may as well have sent his text from inside Halo or World of Warcraft. The in-movie explanation of the "science" behind Source Code is completely inadequate to allow for any "alternate timelines" or "alternate dimensions". So it all hinges on the line, "You've created something more that you thought". Nice out… it feels like a total afterthought. While this was a fun movie if you don't actually think about it, at all, it fails except for the most liberal application of suspension of disbelief.

Muhammed

there is something amazing i noticed, at the start of the film good win was asking him to remember her name as she knew that he know her name, that mean that have received the email from him right before the movie even started

Bob Terry

Let me just remind you all that when Goodwin got the text at the end of the movie, that was in the Source Code Dimension. They had Steven's body in the support machine and they were just waiting for a disaster to happen. You hear that the bomb attempt had been thwarted as Goodwin walks into the boss's office. The two dimensions were not connected; the text was sent to the Goodwin who showed up for work at the Nellis base, but she knew she was awaiting a disaster to use the Source Code to find the killer for. The only connection between the dimensions was Steven's memory of the original dimension.

Caroline

Totally don't agree with your interpretation … you forgot to mention the very long text message. A long text message like that would cost like 5 text messages. And, is there um, texting from Heaven now ?

Scott Bakula

Duncan Jones on twitter – “So for those who got thrown by the ending… you have to remember that Colter keeps arguing he is in a parallel reality” Also – “So if Colter now in parallel reality, that must mean in NEW reality, there are two Colter’s.. one in Sean, and one in… the box!” Cheers!

Bertie

Funny how this film mirrors, Donnie Darko. Travel back in time, Frank also a dead guy sent back in time because of a quantum parralax, Dead Guy Saves the world.

Does not matter how you see it, everything is based on one perspective and everyone has a different perspective,

Chris

Heres my interpretation, God loved him and gave him more life, he selflessly acted and so God rewarded him for it. You see if you put God in there, it all makes sense, Sean Ventress ended up in heaven, and Cpt Coulter-Stevens was given the life that his service in the military denied him. (Do you believe in fate?).

So

What I don't get is the idea of Goodwin getting the text that the people on the train was saved. Is it that her dimension went "back into time" and the bombing didn't happen? If so, I believe the source code machine turns back time. How else would Captain Stevens be in the source code machine?

duke

I'm sorry, but the ending is pretty clear. He is in a different dimension created by the source code. This isn't a heaven he's dreaming off. He is living in a different dimension, hence the email he sent to goodwing at the end saying that there is more to the source code than they were aware of.

SAM

I think the movie should have ended with the freeze-frame kiss. This is what the whole story was building towards. Think about it: from his cell, the only thing he wants to do is call his dad and tell him he was sorry. In this ending he does. As Sean, he continually asks, "If you only had one minute to live, what would you do?" He dies doing what he wanted — kissing the girl. And it gave Colter something he was denied by the military — a dignified death; this is something Goodwin wanted him to have. And finally, is a weird sci-fi way, he gives the people a chance to die happy; with a smile on their faces. I wish the movie would have faded to black during that frozen frame. That would have been my perfect ending.

Karen

I have it set to play every time it comes on satellite (no matter what channel) – so far, would guestimate have viewed about 30 times at least…each time I see it, there are "things I missed" or changed my interpretation … (yes, I 'have a life' outside of Source Code, but I really love this film!…there are others, Unstoppable, DejaVu, Frequency, Lake House — you may notice a certain "pattern"…) … anyway, he changes history so to speak, wish I could "go back and do that" about some things — and he "gets the girl"… my most favorite moments, when he busts D.Frost and when Goodwin gets the email in the changed history early monday a.m. (on the lighter side, how about a Source Code 2, he's in another 'situation' and meets Sean :)

jaret paynter

This might be a little late but whatever, here's my theory. Let us forget the failed attempts and instead only remember the last one where time seems to freeze as he is kissing Christina and also remember the real world that is now saved from dirty bombs. The real world is Universe A and the source code world is Universe B. In Universe A everyone is safe and we see Captain Steven taken off of that life support system and Chicago is saved. End of story for Universe A. However is Universe B Captain Steven (in Sean's body) is seen kissing Christina as the comedian makes everyone laugh. Sadly, this world is terminated because in Universe A Goodwin "killed" him. What we see after Universe B is paused (from it being turned off) is Captain Steven's afterlife/Heaven. As that is where he most wanted to be when he died. So now Captain Steven (still in Sean's body) is living his afterlife with Universe B as his Heaven. All in all a very good movie and I wished they would go ahead and make a show out of it.

manny

YASASA | JUNE 27, 2012 1:59 AM
this one made the most sence to me read it up

Rishi Kumar

I want to assume the universe/ timeframe where the film is taking place is Universe/Timeframe A. The captain was sent to that 8 min cycle many times which means he was sent to other universe/ timeframes, No need to label those universes. At last Captain Steven's was sent to another time frame/ Universe by goodwin on behalf of Captain's wish. This could be labelled as Universe/Timeframe B. Now in Timeframe B the following events happen

1->Captain's consciousness in Sean's body sent message to goodwin in that universe/time frame (whatever you call). In this time frame also Steven is dead already in Afghanistan plane crash.

2->After calling his dad from sean's body, challenging comedian etc., He kisses christina. Time freezes.

3-> The time freezes after that 8 mins.

Now in Timeframe A on captain's wish, goodwin unplugged Captain's life support, Captain's program is terminated. Now captains emotion is satisfied, to end his life and conscious while happy (kissing christina). Goodwin faces the justice.

The scene resumes in Timeframe B. The scenes resume after time freeze. Captain's conscious left Sean's body. Now it's Sean's conscious in Sean's body. We were shown Captain steven walking with christina in order to fulfill viewer's emotions. Here in timeframe B, where the disaster has been averted, Goodwin receives the message from sean (which was sent by Captain steven's conscious while in Sean's body).

Conclusion :
1)Captain Steven is dead in both the timeframes.
2)Sean's conscious resumes in Sean's body after time freeze in Timeframe B.
3)Captain's source code project is terminated in Timeframe A while it is yet to make it's debut in Timeframe B.

AS SIMPLE AS THAT. Ur views are welcomed. Have a Great day.

Martin

I think he needs to send himself back in 8 minute blocks of times back until he reaches the time that he got injured almost died in the war to prevent that from happening and so he never had to be put in the source code and thus preventing him to stop that event… I am getting confused!

Acacia

I still don't understand. If he really did die, then who sent the text message prior to the mission?

this is how i see it

There are many different timelines running and in each timeline the same exact events either have happened, will happen, or are happening (up until 'source code' was used). Each time Stevens was sent back into the assumed memory of Sean, his mind was being sent to a different timeline (a different Sean) in which the events have not yet taken place. Stevens' mind is essentially taking place of Sean's and whenever sean dies, Stevens' mind is sent back with the help of source code to his own timeline. When Stevens plugged is pulled in his timeline, while his mind is stuck in seams body, he is being removed from source code and is forever assumes the body of Sean in the last timeline he was sent to. Therefore, yes there are two different stevens', one in a machine waiting to be sent to another timeline for a different mission and one in the mind of Sean. Hope it came out the way it was in my head.

raju

Christopher…mate sorry to say that you got it wrong…tomson explanations seems to be valid…..

Thomas

Hi there!

My theory is just parallel universes, alternate reality, or a second dimension (and third, fourth and so on). And no Time Travel. Every time he goes in to Source Code, he enters a new dimension or a new alternate reality, that they BELIVE cant be changed, because nothing really changes about what happens in the first dimension. They are only using it to get information to prevent further things to happen, if they get the information in time.

First dimension: everyone at the train dies, they get the INFORMATION through Source Code from another dimension to stop the next explosion. Thats all they can achieve in the first dimension, and also repeated through the whole film. Then Goodwin let's Stevens die.

Last dimension: After Stevens through Source Code have delivered his information to the first dimension, he is sent back in one last time by Goodwin. He saves the girl and the world, calls he's dad like he never got the chance to in the first dimension before he died, and also sends the message to Goodwin in that same dimension that same day (not to the first dimension). Telling her all about that Source Code is really working in a way they never would have expected and that she is gonna tell Steves that "everything's going to be all right" instead of what he was told in his dimension, about being dead and so on. So everything in that last part is really happening in another dimension where everyone was saved.

And in that dimension Source Code is just going prove it self in another "project". Because like it says in the message from Stevens (Sean) and the information we get in that scene, everything is prevented that day.

And that image of the metal thing on the plaza that flashes every time he goes into Source Code, that we see in the end. Where he also asks "Do you believe in destiny?" Could point to that in this dimension or alternate reality , this was meant to happen by the choices that where made in this reality and therefore he also had the flashes/memory about this when he was going in and out of new realties. So now he will just continue to live Sean's destiny in this dimension.

Of course there could be a lot of holes in my theory, but just thought i'd share it with you :)

Anyway, an awesome movie!

Thomas

Pruthvi Kaveti

I absolutely agree with the above explanation. It is the most reasonable and logical inference possible and even satisfying as far as my understanding goes….

Scotty

Watch the making of the film if you can – It hightlights the main theme and ideas of different parallel universes! Sorry to those who thinks the film should have ended at the kiss or it was his heaven…but your wrong! Thanks.

Phil I. Steen

The one thing no one talks about is the march of time between the train explosion and the dirty bomb discovery/arrest. Stevens goes back to the memory he inhabits, it seems, dozens of times. So, we can assume that at least a couple of hours have passed from the initial, or "real," train explosion and Stevens' discovery of the bomber. Why is the bomber still on the road? He has had at least a couple of hours to get to his destination and to detonate the dirty bomb, but no he seems to be apprehended in reality just after leaving the train station after the Stevens discovers him in the delayed memory trip.

blacksworn

The Movie Source Code Can be Interpreted is many ways but the Only Logical Interpretation is Time Travel and Alternate Reality.
So Let us Dissect the Source Code? what is Source Code?
Did the inventor Dr. Rutledge is aware of the Capability of his Inventions and an alternate Reality ? Yes
When Captain Colter Stevens tell Dr. Rutledge that he talk to him from a cell phone while in the Train Dr. Rutledge replied something like that's not me that's a different me.
Dr. Rutledge is aware of the Possibility of an alternate Reality, after all he is the Inventor.
when Captain Colter Stevens talks to Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge about the Possibility of saving the People on the Train, They replied the people on the Train are already dead but he says he saves a girl and goodwin look up on the computer and tells him she is shown as dead in the Explosion. so Literally everyone on the train is already dead and there is No savings going to happen in this reality. They send him in there to catch the Bomber?????? and to prevent another Explosion. ( Nuclear Explosion) How????????
How did the source code Retrieve last eight minutes of another man's consciousness?
Could they extract the Brain of the man from the explosion, it was probably a nuclear Explosion? thats Impossible.
The Source code is a type of Time Travel Machine. Capt. Stevens is wired to the Machine and is Uploaded into another man body the source code helps to cross over into another man’s identity. So stevens went into the Past just 8 minutes before explosions and so after many attempts identified the Bomber and avoided the future explosions from happening.
if the Movie ended there nobody would talk about it.
Stevens decided to saves the people on the Train, because he experience the alternate reality is real enough for him, the people on the train are real enough and the girl is worth saving even though they are all dead in a different reality.
Stevens says: ''If you're reading this email, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. He thought you were creating eight minutes of a past event. But you're not. You have created a whole new world'
So when he goes back and stop the explosion from happening he Created a new Reality. If goodwin did'nt terminate him. He would be brought back after the 8 minutes lapse and still be hooked up to the source code/life support system. But since Goodwin killed him on his request. he stayed back in the second alternate reality.
Summary:
1.In the First reality Goodwin will face Military Court martial and Capt. Steven is dead.
2.In the Second Reality Dr. Rutledge is still waiting for his Big day for a situation to use Capt. Stevens and his Invention the source code because the explosion never happens.
3.In the second Reality Capt. Steven is like a Ghost Possessing the Body of sean and sean is still alive but his mind got replace by stevens, how he is going to explain to the girl is a different matter.

Inconclusion:
Capt. Steven is send back to the past just 8 minutes before the Explosion and since he stop the explosion from happening thereby creating a new alternate timeline different from the first reality.
But the questions remain, there are two different Capt. stevens.
one still hooked up to the source code /life support system and the other in possession of another man body. What happens when Steven is terminated in the source code in the second reality, will seans come back into his own body ? where is seans mind now? did the alternate reality created two stevens, with two independent mind???? Am i Confused or is the author of the source code missing something there????

Laura

This is the ending explanation to Source Code that I was looking for to satisfy me. Thanks!

AJTM82

I have just read several of the comments in addition to Christopher's taken on the ending and can't help but notice everyone (from the comments I have read a least) seems to be skipping the part that in the end when we see the epilogue of sorts, Goodwin has received an e-mail from the '8 minutes as Sean' Stevens from the past and is reading it while she overhears Dr. Rutledge say that a crisis will arise which will allow Source Code to prove its worth. Which means the attack on the train which served as the need to send Stevens into Sean's mind has not happened (and will not because the culprit is handcuffed in the train) at all!
This is a grade-A mind-$&@! for me!

John

I've read most of these.. And to save most of you time–the June 27th comment by yasasa is pretty interesting. Hard to follow but think hard and it makes sense!

stretch

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Kyle

The OP thinks this movie was better than Inception? I liked this movie, but it definitely isn't on the level of Inception really in any regard. Writing, plot, character arc, photography, ending. As far as the ending goes for this movie, I think it is a little to open for interpretation due to the lack of explanation for the premise itself. I believe they were trying to hint at multiple universes, as well as somehow tying in the memories of Sean (and a "fated" future) with the flashbacks the Captain was having when being sent back in to the source code, but I don't think the movie does a very good job at even bringing the viewer to the end in a way that they can even begin to create an interpretation that makes sense. Unlike Inception, that despite it's ambiguity at the end, throughout the journey Christopher Nolan provided us with the means to create multiple interpretations for what we think actually took place, and how it ended.

Abhi WT

Making the most sense out of this movie and as per my own little research and theories, every person lives his life jumping from one universe to the next every .3 millionth of a second. Take the parallel universes as fixed frames of a moment, and you'd agree that the universe we know is so big that it might contain endless exactly similar universes (still frames) within… and as we jump from one to another… we feel the passage of time. In fact, if you divide a sec into the least known quantity of time ( i.e. 1/.3million sec – cause speed of light is the base for time calculation) the number you get is the universes you'll pass in a sec. Thus its very safe to assume that our life is like an energy beam passing through infinite parallel placed similar universes frames, exciting each frame as that particular moment of our life passes by. Then if you are "Adam" here in this moment (or universe) there are infinitely many exact "Adams" for each moment up to the time you are supposed to live ( say 80 yr)!! Now you can imagine why this Universe we see is so endless and flat!
Now to top it all… as i said, our life is an energy beam, similar to light. As light has frequency, so does our life. That means the energy beam keeps on falling on a single universe frame one wave behind the other ( i.e. jumping) till its exhausted ( our lifespan). Thus just a moment behind us is our nearest exact copy. I have passed this moment as such, he might pass it with a slight difference, and so will the next one ( cause of constant planar motion of our universes). Thus on a long enough timeline, my nearest exact copy a moment behind me, will accumulate enough differences from me (due to varying decisions- conscious or sub-conscious) to lead a different life. Now think of the exact copy of mine 2 hour behind me, he'll be leading a very different life, but still he'd exactly me with the same parents and all.
So, we say- A single decision can change our life. Its completely true up to the base.

I guess any person with enough understanding will get answers about everything from this stuff i have written ( along with the movie core). For the others who got bored with my thesis, read again or can't help it!
Thanks

M Riyan Andrianus

It's the most perfect explanation. So, when the source code is unplugged by Goodwin, the Colter in real world died but… the unpredictable is.. the new timeline begins, and his brain still stuck in Sean's body because it's the new timeline. the present doesnt exist anymore. and why it created new timeline? and why it didnt stop in 8 minutes? because Sean didnt die. His brain just replaced by Colter from old timeline.

and more important, I think this new timeline, replaced the old timeline. so this movie doesnt show parallel world etc but it's like time paradox. the final is just one world. no real world and no source code world. it's just one world with new timeline. it's make the email was sent by Colter to Goodwin make sense. they are in same world. But with different alternate timeline. in new timeline, the source code never used anymore because the bomb never exists. so in the end, there are two Colter. The one in Sean's body (and IDK and it doesnt matter what would happen with him and Christina, his entire life, etc), and Another one in Lab waiting for First Souce Code project. (because only Goodwin the one who knows actually the sorce code have been used since received the email from old timeline Colter).

and yeah, this is actually a great movie if u understand.

I'm Riyan.

Dan I think I've got it

Totally agree with the writer of this article. My opinion/trouble is the last line of the film said by Captain Stevens: "Goodwin, if I'm right, you have a Captain Colter Stevens waiting to send on a mission, promise me you'll help him, and when you do, do me a favour – tell him everything is going to be ok!" The only iffy bit of this line is the "If I'm right" bit. Leaving possiblity that he's wrong and dead/lucid dream/afterlife blah. Think about this: (brought to my attention by my clever lady friend) If Captain Stevens is living in Sean's body… where is Sean? It can't happen. My only conclusion is this… The director fucked up. Or… Captain Stevens is living as Sean, (he wouldn't choose his afterlife as someone else now, would he?!) until he gets called up again from Source code as it clearly states through the film that his father always knew that Captain Stevens, his son, wanted to save people. So, Captain Stevens will work for Source Code again because he wants to help people that might need him. What do you think? I welcome your suggestions… I'll smash 'em away with a source code bat! BOOM!!!

Amy

RH – Since when do you have dreams of stuff that has yet to happen…and then does. Have a re-think!!

Tip Hat

Duncan Jones needs to do more movies!!

RH

You folks DO realize this was a science-FICTION movie, right? While I loved the premise and it was well done, it's only a movie.

You can argue all day about the characters and if they were in heaven or parallel universes or quantum dimensions or inside "source code", there is no explaining it other that it should have stopped at the freeze frame shot of the kiss. However, I'm sure the test audiences wanted a happy ending, so they wrote it in, as Hollywood so often does. Personally, I prefer endings that make sense, even if unhappy.

wait wuh

Okay I just remmembered that on the last scene of the movie, the silver cloud art gives off reflections. And if my memory is correct (i dnt have the movie) the reflection of Captian colter is of sean. In the source code "simulation", the reflection of captain colter is also sean (wen he looked in the mirror in the bathroom train.) So this means that Colter is in a "simulation". And this "simulation" as we all know could be more then a simulation but something that transcends parallel universe's. So in the end, wen goodwin pulled the plug, it did not matter because Captain colter was in a different parallel universe. Goodwin just cut off colter from the original universe. And the best part of this is that Captain Colters universe is his "heaven" (not literally heaven). That second universe was somewhere where people were happy and nothing went wrong. And that last text was also in the second universe. The text said something like "everything is going to be okay" which means that Colter knows he landed in a universe where it is like heaven. U get wat I mean??? I just went on a ramble so this might no make sense but this is how i see it.

Jackson

But you seem to have missed the part in the end where Steven and Christina arriving to the plaza to the huge medal ball, which was an image that was constantly flashed everytime he was shocked into his 8mins missions. That would suggest that he was seeing a vision of something that was nowhere in history. That vision appeared only after the "killing" happened and he went into his "afterlife", yet he saw flashes of it before all that happened. So it seems like the source code transcends both time and alternate worlds.

Captain_007

No you guys didn't get it. The most interesting part is its ending.

As you may know, there is no availability for a source code to figure out who is the suspect, the whole story looks like a trash. But the ending put this rational: it's the agent Goodwin's brain on an invisible lab desk.

Because source code doesn't accept signal from external, the only reason for Goodwin to get Captain's message is she is actually in "source code" — or say, her brain is on the desk. It's Goodwin rather than Captain in the experiment. That made the whole story rational.

Justin Huntingdon

I think the ending was tacked on to provide a happy ending. Have you seen 'The Player'? I think the original screenplay finished with the frozen shot of the train's passengers laughing at the comedian…

SIMON

firstly, can i make it clear that i love this film, i think though that i would have loved it even more, if it had been 10 minutes shorter, if the film had actually ended with the freeze frame of the kiss, but maybe a freeze frame of sean kissing christina, not colter. i think that ending would allow people to create their own questions and answers to what happens next, and not have the questions fed to us by what happens next.
i like the idea of alternative and paralell universes, that when a decision is made, reality forks into different directions and each are played out. I think i would like the ending more if we actually see the actor playing sean, in the last few minutes and not jake gyllenhall. during the last 8 minutes when colter has hijacked seans body he has created a reality in which sean and christina have got together. i think it would make more sense (to me) because the love story from christinas point of view was with sean. although it would then pose the question of how would sean account for the last 8 minutes that he had missed?? and i personally would find it easier to accept that death means death to colter, no matter what reality it is in. and the message to goodwin, unnecessarily confusing. just my opinion for what its worth! simon.

Bex

I still don't get why Goodwin (in dimension 2) knows the name of the bomber (Derek Frost). The name isn't mentioned in the e-mail. If it was an other dimension, she wouldn't remember that name. But she does. Head hurts from all the thinking. Haha!

jayjay

Heres my "interpretation" i guess. the colter in the source code is pretty much a digital projection. the real colter is lying in the pod with no limbs. Only a certain part of his brain is active by computers. Now when they send his mind back into the past on the train, how do they decide who's body he goes in? How is it even possible to make exactly what happened in the real life into a computer simulation? Wouldn't they have to be on the train and record everyones actions and personalities? My guess is that when he's on the train, its just a digital simulation of what happened. Basically its a made up dimension. So how does he send a text or email from a simulation to the real world? Also when Goodwin shuts down his mind, wouldn't it be Sean's mind back in his hody and having that date with Christina in the simulation world? My guess is that a dimension is created with the source code but its a digitally programmed one thats fabricated in the real world. I really just dont get how he sent Goodwin the email from the fake world to real world. Then how she knew Derek Frost's name already. It feels like the source code dimension and the real world dimension shouldnt be affected by eachother.

justme

Thank you, everyone, for posting on here. Watched this movie for the first time on Saturday and am still thinking about it.

I'm leaning toward the "alternate universe" theory. Colter does say a whole new world was created. Agreeing with what someone else posted, there is so much we don't know about science and physics that I feel anything is possible. I also find it hard to believe that "Chicago alone" could be his "afterlife…." unless he eventually goes off to explore the things that were important in his "real, Colter life."

A sequel would be amazing and, in my humble opinion, would include maybe Colter explaining the situation to Christina, going back to wherever he is from….(Shaking my head that I have sat here wondering where a fiction character is from, but I have since watching lol….I've decided he's from a southern state in my humble opinion due to the polite "m'aams" he has said lol)

Questions I have had…If he is now Sean, he doesn't know how to teach, where he lives, etc., unless those Sean things are still there in the brain, somewhere. He could re-enlist in the military as Sean and somewhat "pick up" life where he left it as Colter, if he wished.

It would be nice to see him visit his Dad and people he was close to before the helicopter crash. I got the impression that his Dad was also a military man based on the description of his "funeral." He could probably explain Sean is indeed himself to his Dad, and with "knowing things that only he would know," it could be determined that he was indeed Colter.

I would be afraid though that the "mad scientist" Rutledge/the military program would find out he is "alive" and able to "give away the secrets of Sourcecode" and he would be killed.

Maybe that's why Goodwin didn't tell Rutledge about the text she received from Colter.

Amazing movie. Love stuff that makes me think.

Thanks again, everyone. I asked my boyfriend his interpretation and his answer was basically, "Goodwin went to tell the doctor about the bombing but he already knew." Not really a debater type, so am thankful for this thread!

robert heend

I would debate on the ending of movie….It would of made more logical sense to have it been not a fantasy BS alternate sequence, meaning when Sean pulled the second cell phone off the bomb, he should of vanished and woke up in the confined pod with no memory of any train bombing which they should of just rolled the credits after being tasked by goodwin to find the failed train bomber(aka Derrick frost) who just destroyed the city. Of course noone would know his name because the train bombing never happen for goodwin to even bother to send coulter on that prior mission.

ahfjhfj

I think..and i don't know any fancy terms for alternate universes or anything. But I think in the real world we first see Stevens is dead/hooked up in that room and just makes up the capsule to deal with it all. We know this. When he asks Goodwin to send him back a last time and she agrees he prevents the disaster from ever happening because he handcuffs whatshisname to the train. This explains why when Goodwin gets the message the disaster never happened. Reality has changed from the one we saw at the beginning of the movie because Stevens had not figured out what to do. Stevens was dead in the first reality because she turned him off and this allowed him to stay in the source code whole alternate thingy. So i see it as a kind of parallel universe: where Stevens has been through the movie as we saw it; knows he has been turned off, and can live with Christina. But in the real world none of it has happened. So Stevens hasn't been turned off because Stevens changed everything so there was no train explosion, no turning him off. So he can be sent off again. Then it could happen again with a different disaster and he could ask to be turned off and there could be dozens of Stevens all living alternate lives, if Stevens asked to be turned off and was obeyed each time and managed to figure out each disaster to prevent them from happening. So there is Sean and Christina happy in real world, Stevens hooked up to machine. But in source code parallel universe Stevens in Sean's body is with Christina. Here i get stuck. Because where is Sean in source code parallel universe? I think i see him as ceasing to exist because in this parallel universe Stevens is in his body and when he is turned off he stays in it. Yeah. I have no idea how id explain the text reaching Goodwin. But i love this movie.

Yasasa

This is what I think. The Source code allows transport or allows memories to travel through different dimensions. Lets take the dimension where Stevens is used as the Source code subject as D1. The one where Stevens lives as Sean, or lives in the mind of Sean is D2. In D1, Sean is dead, because of the bomb, but Stevens is alive. In D2, Sean and Stevens both aren't dead. So what happens is, the memories of Stevens in D1 is transported to the head of Sean in D2. Stevens from D1 then manages to stop the death of Sean in D2. Goodwin in D1 then terminates the life of Stevens in D1, but as the memories of the Stevens in D1 are in the head of Sean in D2, Steven in D1 dies, but his memories remain in D2, making him still live in a different body, BUT still having enough memories to know what happened to his original body. Even though Stevens in D1 dies, the Stevens in D2 is still alive in his original body. So Steven D1 in Sean D2's body sends a message to Goodwin D2's cellphone. Then, the body of Steven in the lab with Goodwin in D2 is Steven D2, not Steven D1. So that means Steven D1 can visit Steven D2, but it will be Steven D1 in Sean D2's body that will be visiting Steven D2. So it will look like Sean is visiting Steven D2, not Steven D1. Only Steven D1's memories remain, remember? So this means,
*In the first dimension or D1, Steven is dead, Sean is dead, but the White Van guy is arrested using Stevens' help, and the Source code's help.
*In D2 or the second dimension, Sean isn't dead, Steven isn't dead, and the White Van guy is arrested, never having to use the Source code, but is arrested using the memories of Stevens from D1.
*So this means that Stevens from the first dimension and the Stevens from the second dimension both now live inside the second dimension, although one of them lives inside a different body.

Did everyone understand that? That's what I think, anyway. OH MY GOD my head hurts from thinking so much. Ughhhhhh. I wanted to say a lot more about my perception, but I think this is enough for anyone to get an idea about my view at the ending. It's also enough to tell myself that I did my best to make people understand another angle of looking at it. So cheers!

Christine

I don't buy 'its his Heaven' when his life support is turned off. The source code allows him to almost exist digitally. So its safe to say he carried on existing digitally. Heaven for him should mean him reunited with family and loved ones…not carry in in someone elses body. It's messy that.

mattyh

Why do you boggle your mind and waste your time with these thoughts?
Not even the director put as much thought into these theories as you just did!

The simple explanation is, his brain/consciousness is living on in what is his own manifestation. A manifestation of what his brain conjured up in order to live a happy life.
It is so blissful because he thinks it is real, however, the viewers know it is his heaven.

Hugh

'Regardless he not in two places at once' – Only if you had a double 'or mirror image' of exactly the same moment of someones life, in the same world, would it be a problem. A young and old anyone could exist in the same world for example….their body's makeup is still different down to the milli nano nano second.

Chan

This summed it up for me, there needs to be a second movie! – At the military base in the new timeline, Goodwin receives the text and reads the memory lines she programmed into Stevens. She is shocked and reads on to discover that they create new timelines when they activate Source Code. He tells her that one day, she’ll be forced to activate him and on that day she will need to help him. The scene ends with Goodwin looking over the body of the new timeline’s Colter Stevens awaiting activation for the next catastrophe.

Shane

There is a new alternate universe! The source code is able to tap into these…and you see flashes of crossovers (Stevens seeing the future without realizing till the end – all he says is 'do you believe in fate') So the guy who made it doesn't realize this. Stevens does!. I would love a sequel where Stevens (inside Sean) comes back to the lab and sees himself on life support….thumbs up!

TOM

@Hey – Hats off mate ha. I do have another version of what happens….will post it another time. Cheers. Great movie and hope there is a second.

Mackay

Instead of him dying when his life support is shut off, the Source code actually allows Stevens to become part of the system. This is why he gets visions of the future within the second time line ( where he saves everyone – only inside the code) prior to him completing his mission. In real life the train crashed for real, but he dies prevent the second bombing. In the source code he is able to save everyone, and then go on with Christine after. The only weird thing for me is that she will always see him as Sean. Maybe this is a point for a sequal…because its kind of weird and i would like Stevens to come back into the story.

Hey

Clearly stevens is floating around inside the sorce code. No after glow (heaven) or new unicerse. After his life support gets terminated….instead of it all going 'black'…it freezes. He then becomes part of the sorce code and is floating around inside. Tom is right, Anthony is a prick.

TOM

Anthony, Your a pr.ick. Do one. Who give a crap what you think you smug twat. You clearly dont have a brain so no point me trying to enlighten you.

Rhen

This movie is really highly recommend to any1 . I cant believe there is a movie like this uniquueee

Anthony

Tom, you're an idiot. Do u have an opinion of your own? Did u even realize that the only point u made that the text message couldn't happen I also said? So u come on and say I don't agree with someone and then your only point is something I said then you say nothing of your own. Your crap, your writing ability is crapier than a 3rd grader and since u roam the Internet for things to complain about I'm guessing your life is crap. Enjoy all your crap crapper. It's a computer program u crap crapper. Oh yeah. U got some crap in your pants little baby. I'll put it even simpler for u.. U did poopies in you tighty whities. Get some boxers u wound too tight guy. Probably from all the poop and over loaded sack from not getting any. Not with that attitude u don't, or with poop in your pants.

Tom

Below is total crap. Long and pointless read. If hes deas hes dead…no afterglow and also no text message can be sent out of the source code.

Anthony

Your are all suckers!! There is no alternate realities, there are no parallel universes or dimensions. They say from the beginning that. All source code is, is a memory from someone that died on the train they were able to hack into. It's like a dream u have, there are a bunch of different things in the dream but you can only remember a few details, if you are lucky!! When the computer program hacks Sean's memory, it can capture every detail that was seen in the course of events that person experienced. Now they hook up Stevens to that memory that he has the ability to navigate through the entire memory as Sean's brain recorded it. It's like they say, we only use a few percent of our brains ability. The computer makes it so Stevens can access 100% of the experience he had even though he wouldn't remember 99% of what the computer is showing. The source code takes short term memories and displays them for the navigator (Stevens) to be able to experience 100% of that short term memory. Think of it as a video game that has a 360 degree world you play in like call of duty. U don't remember or see all the things going on but they are there. And the source code allows the person viewing this memory access to every detail as long as he explores it. There is no time travel involved or ability to take over someone else's life like some are suggesting Stevens did to Sean. And since there is no time travel there is no way Stevens ever stopped the first attack!!! The entire ending was his death dream (just like when people die for a few minutes and come back to life -ie the white light theory). He wanted to make everyone smile and when he realized he was dead, or going to die he then could picture or control how he wanted his last memory like when you fall
Asleep watching a movie and dream about something related to the movie. The just was consciously creating his last dream because he knew e was going to die and made peace with it this was his choice of how he wanted to remember life or his version of how he wanted life to be. His half of a body was still in the lab, and in reality after he gave them the plate and name of the non ratially profiled white college kid, (and why is a white college kid so upset? Go play beer pong and have a threesome like a normal person!! Whata doosh. Anyway, the real reality is that he navigated through the source code getting the info needed to stop the 2nd attack and everything else was his dream before he died. You can see the screen stop on the train. That symbolizes him dying and he then had 8 minutes to dream what he wanted including him visualizing that he saved everyone from the train bomb. If it was possible to save those people, which it's not since this movie is not about time travel, the girlfriend wouldn't have been dead after he pulled her off the train when following the "racial profiled" guy into the bathroom. They looked her up after he pulled her off and she was still dead. So why would it work for all passengers and not just one?! Also, he was in the helicopter accident months before the bombing so he couldn't have survived later. Even in the matrix when in the system u couldnt pull anything in the matrix out into real life! This was a computer program that allowed a memory to be navigated not a time machine that creates alternate universes that allows communication between both universes. If it did create a different universe he wouldn't be able to text the other universe/timeline. Like in backup the future Marty ran into himself in TE same timeline because the movie followed the space time continuium theory. If the bomb never went off he wouldn't have been able to go back. Also called the butterfly theory. One thing changed changes everything. If the first bomb never took place he wouldn't have been able to go back and stop it. And where would seans "soul" go? How and why would Sean not exist anymore? Personally I thought the concept was ok but don't think the writers came up with a deep enough set of rules to follow for their theory hence why there is no concrete answer just logic based on events that took place. Ok idea not enough thought into how to follow out the theory. But when you have jake gylehall (or however he spells that mess) you don't have to have rules for your story!! Lmfao. God bless if you are still reading this post, if you are then I'm thinking you have to agree or why read this whole thing. Bottom line, it was a computer program that allows a perpsn to experience and navigate everything in it and extract info. No alternate universe or time travel and what we see at the end it a last dream / hallucination of a person conscious and at peace with dying. In his mind he said goodbye to his dad, saved the world or shy town and got laid. Not a bad way to go out. Even the text message and dr saying one day we will
Show what we can do is steven picturing that that happened because he believed he could change the events, which he mentioned quite a few times throughout the movie. Damn I'm smart. Hope I cleared up this dopey movie. Now
Going to bed and dreaming I'm banging Carmen Electra from 13 years ago. And if I die in my sleep that dream will go on for a while.

somone

OK i finally figured it out. This is for the people who are confused about the txt message part to Goodwin. This is how it goes, after Colter texts Goodwin, then woot he saves the day (in World B *simulation). Once the 8 minutes ended, in World A, Goodwin terminates Colter in the lab since that was his request. Time freezes on the train once she does so, now Colter is in his "afterlife" if u want to call it that. Now the text message at the end DOES NOT go to World A it stays in World B. As in the end, since Colter saved the train, they did not have to use the Sorce code. If u listen in the end when Goodwin walks in as the guy in the chair said that "the bombing was 'aborted' and the suspect was Frost , THAT he was handcuffed to a pole in the train". That sentence shows that that is in World B* which is the afterlife place. The Dr. also said that they will use the Code when a crisis begins , which was not that day BCUZ Colter (in Sean's body) saved the ppl and the train. And thats it about that…. hehe

anonymous

steven's mind is now in both bodies because if u recall, he told goodwin what if there are two of u and now he is in sean's body and in the captains body

Food

So acording to you his idea of Heaven is existing in a body of some over bloke….screwing some chick with some one elses cock? Yeah right. What happend to unfinished work in his own past?? All forgotten i suppose…given up! Hes a war hero for goodness sake…his life proir to this you make out to be a non starter. All seems a bit far fetched to me that this would be his 'afterglow' or 'heaven'….and what the hell happens to Sean? Poor mofo? of to heaven i suppose? Your trying to tie up ends to the film your self and smooth over gaps….that should have been thought through better from the start. These things we can discuss for things they tie up in the sequel.

Bayman

Yours is incorrect. He creates a second parallel universe…and sends a text at the end which gets sent within the same new world, but earlier on. The world he saves before, the disaster is averted….in the new world it never happens. The weird thing is what STEVEN says…that Seans character is the only looser. One minute he is there…the next he isn't. Jakes character even weirdly is happy with chick actually loving Seans face body ect…and he just carries on in a new body…with someones else's cock.

Laura

BRUCE: I agree!!

Jose

To go off what everyone has been saying I would just add that when his last 8 minutes are up he dies and the rest of his life passes before his eyes.

Ian

Mind fuck….

Chris

FUUUUUUCK. He has left his two year old son with the nanny and has now left with to start noshing Christina in Seans body. Tense!

Steven

The real question is, … What happened to the "World B" Sean Fentress? He's just chillin in the train with the girl, then suddenly Jake Gyllenhaal enters his mind? Okay… lol

bruce

I think its strange that colter is ok with Christina thinking that he is sean. she knew this sean guy before and so loves seans conciousness and not colters. she doesnt even know him and its a little weird that he just playes along.

Alex

I didn't read what anyone else said, just so thoughts don't get in the head (it's an interpretation after all).
When I watch movies I think of real life situations, i.e if a movie represents realism. The only thing couldn't get my head around; how the fuck could telecommunication (txt) in a 2nd reality, reach real life reality – If realities are in two different time-lines, how could this happen? The text went to Morgan in the 2nd imaginary reality right?
If the text message is sent to Morgan in the 2nd reality she should have technically received the text around 4 minutes before the bomb explodes, so what the fuck? In the message it says in an hour you will hear about a bombing? Can anyone explain this or is this just an editors error?
Oh and the end, the moment after the freeze point is Stevens' afterlife – in the 2nd reality. This is because his soul was in the 2nd reality when he "died" (Morgan turning off life support).

Can someone help?

Manuel

Everyone is thinking waaay tooo much, the ending is actually very simple. In World "A" (Reality) Colter is dead and is hooked up to this "source code" which helps simulate situations in the past, right? Well everytime Colter went back, he would be going to World "B" (which could be considered to be the afterlife) The last time Goodwin sends Colter to World "B", he is able to "rescue" all the passengers. Once the eight minutes were up in World "A" Goodwin disconnects the life support from Colter (this means that he pysically is dead in World "A", which is the present day) When the disconnection happens, the timeline in World "B" has frozen and rapidly continues it's coarse once again. Colter has successfully allowed World "B" to continue (Afterlife) and now he will live happily ever after with Christine, but as Sean! A lot of other people are confused by the text message, but that is also very simple. In World "A" (REality) Goodwin never receives this message, she probably get's fired for disconnecting Colter, and she never hears from him again. The text message was sent when Colter was in World "B" (simulation) so this means that the message also arrives in World "B", in which Goodwin also lives and is another "version" of herself. In world "B" she's just at another day of work!! don't think it too much guys, it's not too complex!! xoxo

Harry

I can understand most of the theory endings proposed on here but what I really don't understand is how she knows the the terrorist (frost) when she is in the office and there has been no bombing…

Ana

I believe that the end of the movie is actually the beginning of it.
At the end, he (the captain) tells Goodwin to tell him that everything is going to be ok and it is just exactly what she does during the movie, also that in that last part he asks her to fullfill his wishes, which is also exactly what she does at the end when she sends him back and then kills him. Why would she put her own work at risk? Because she had already seen the message and knows that the mission is completed.
I believe that source code works but I dont know how to interprate what is going to happen next. Maybe they are trapped in a loop in time where all the mission starts again and ends with that text message or there are alternate realities but I dont think that no mission is ever going to be accomplished.

confused

Am I in the reality or this is just a dream? @_@

anupam

ONCE i had seen A dreAM THat a beaker was been broken by me in chemistry lab and so in chemistry lab that very day i exchanged my seat with another guy the beaer did got broken and the other guy got fined . so did i created a new world ?

anupam singh gautam

why you think that a person cant be at two places at the same time . at the time of dreaming one of us is sleeping on bed while the other is in new world. it's that a person cant be seen at two places at same tine by one .(those who see you in bed cant see u in dream and the one who dream cant see himself sleeping at the same time)

Joanne

Hey I just had a friend that didnt like the movie because she said it didnt make sense and I explained exactly what you said! I didnt even think their was another option till she questioned me and thats when I started my research! SO THANKS!

Junior

After some thinking. It is clear to me how the movie ends. Although the 'source code' isn't a time machine it worked that way. As Coltner is in the 'source code', he dies in the real world which let him stay in the 'source code'. The message he sends to the lady, i dont remember her name, gets there after the 8 minutes after Coltner changed the past with the 'source code'. That scene we see when she gets the message is like the first part of the movie. That lady has not talked to Coltner through the 'source code' before because it hasn't started yet and it will never because the bomber has been caught. Now Coltner is almost dead and probably would die in the real world but he would stay living in the 'source code' happily ever after. There is now two worlds we know of where there is a living Coltner in Sean's body(now hes gonna live Sean's life) and a dying Coltner in the other world.

Colter

my name actually is colter, to this day I have never heard of anyone else having that as a first name until now.

Jimenez

I just watched the ending once more. It's clearly Sean who lives, and Colter dies. The world freezes at the moment she let him die. He knows he is going to die, so he wants to die in a happy moment. When the scene unfreeze, we can see a confused look on his face. He done't know what just happened, because he is now Sean. We can also see Sean in the reflection at the end. It IS Sean we see in the sculpture.

Jimenez

I forgot – it is very possible that Colter dies, and that it is actually Sean we see at the end, I've thought about that too. In that case the original Colter dies – I guess as you say the freezing is Colter, the continuation is Sean.

Jimenez

Watch the movie again, and notice the question he ask near the end – "do you believe in destiny". Your interpretation is as valid as any other, but it is definitely not the one and only true interpretation.

People below think that this movie happens "inside" the source code, but that’s not what the movie says.

A near death guy is sent as a consciousness into the echo of another persons experience of the last eight minutes of his life. It is not stated how it's done, it just is. Whether the echo mentioned in a physical thing, or in fact some sort of gateway is not clarified at all. The purpose of all this is to show that the source code works. The source just creates a connection to the other mind, as stated by the scientist. They don't tell the protagonists the truth (which should be very, very obvious) The purpose of the exercise is not to save anyone, but to show that the source code works. As far as they're concerned, the alternative realities exists in eight minutes, and it has no effect on their reality, which is the only reality that matters to them. So when Rutledge tells something to Colter, he doesn't tell all he knows. In the initial part of the movie, it's obvious that they really never intended to tell anything to Colter. They only tell him what he need to know, and to convince him to continue.

Every time Colter is sent back, he creates a new reality. These realities exists only because Colter does different things every time he is sent back. It is not the source code which creates the new reality, it is Colter who creates the new realities. The Source code only establish a link, and send him into the echo of the dead person – which turns out to be the actual person in his actual last eight minutes. This creates a paradox, because it must mean that in those eight minutes, it is always Colter's consciousness which exist in the teacher.

At the end of the movie, he manages to save all people (due to accumulated knowledge of their situation, like in Groundhog day) and exist in this reality he created. This reality is just as valid as the reality he was sent from, none of the realities are more real than the other, or more original. This reality is just a consequence of a different set of actions by Colter.

The movie suggests that he has to die for real in the reality he is sent from, in order to exist in the new word, and this entire world froze until that happened, after the eight minute point. I’m not sure why it had to be so, and the movie gives no real reason for this, afaik. He does exist longer than eight minutes in the alternate reality in one of the other journeys. It could be a goof. Maybe the intended the frozen "party" to be the end originally, so it would be more ambiguous?

Nevertheless, the reason why he does as he does at the end is obviously that he can save them all, including himself. This is a result of his particular actions and decisions, due to the fact that nothing is predetermined, and there is no such thing as destiny, only a result of his decisions and actions.

The initial reality we see is also a result of the actions and decisions of Colter. This is implied by Goodwin, who says something to him he told her to say.

Mark

The ending is completely impossible. It was quite evident that the effects of the "source code" could not change reality outside of it. But somehow if the guy does stop the bomb from going off it changes the course of time.

It's not time travel but simulation. It would be perfectly fine, if the Cpt. continued his simulation but to alter reality?? Also, what happens to Sean? He doesn't die through the explosion and also doesn't die through any other matter and just gets kicked out of his body.

Ewan

Im not ahuge fan of the way youve written this article.

To decide that others are wrong with this comment…
''Firstly, here's the incorrect explanations that I've heard''

Then to openly admit that you believe your conclusions are correct regardless of what others think with this comment…
''And hopefully all that makes sense, whether you agree with it or not''

Its all just a bit hypocritical.

For example, any one can take apart anyone elses ideas with simple questions. I believe your afterlife/dream/sleep idea is incorrect. Why would his conscious mind end up living in someone elses body for all eternity in his own afterlife? To me that is nonsense.

I have my own ideas.

Steve

The part where I figured out what was happening was when he sits back down and she asks him if he saved the world or not and he says "Sort of". He didn't save THE world, he saved a version of it, and that is the version they both go on existing in after Steven's body is taken off life support while the 'other' realities keep existing-a very quantum physics prinicpal, that all alternate timelines are possible-including one where Steven's body is taken off life support, and another, where the events of the film have yet to take place-allowing for you to see his body "still in the life support box." Loved this film. Remember when movies were so good, they made you think about them afterward, for a long time? They only come along every once in a blue moon but thankfully, even in our reality, even a real blue moon comes along from time to time.

JessyB

Read my first comment and then read this one. Okay, so basically everytime they send Stevens from reality 1, he created a new reality via source code but in all the reality he failed except the LAST reality he created. And in the LAST reality he created where he succeeded, Stevens was both in Stevens' body and Sean's body but the Stevens in Stevens' body have no memory whatsoever of what happened, he is a captain killed and now the brain cell is kept alive. AND the Steven's in Sean's body remember everything and he is the one who send the message and he send it to Goodwin in LAST reality when he was in the LAST reality. The movie ends in THE LAST REALITY. He, Christina and people in the train are dead in Reality 1 but they are all alive in THE LAST REALITY Stevens has created. So the director created a sci-fi movie whereby a machine called source code allows the user to create a parallel universe. So Stevens dies in universe 1 and all subsequent failed parallel universe except the VERY LAST ONE!

JessyB

I think the answer is simple. Sean and everyone in the train are dead. This is Reality 1. Everytime Stevens goes back in 8 minutes, a new alternate reality is created but in all this alternate reality, everyone dies except the last one. In this last reality that he created, he saved everyone. According to the director(as it is a sci-fi movie) the source code which is a human created simulator can SOMEWHAT open up access to a parallel reality. We will never be able to explain this part of the movie cause its a sci-fi movie! lol

Proof: Interview below
"The idea is that it's a simulator, but it actually opens up access to a parallel reality," Jones explained. "It literally creates new realities where things can happen in very different ways. Every time Colter is sent into the Source Code, they're creating a new reality where a new terrorist event occurs. So in a sense, every time Colter fails, they actually created a new terrorist event."

Then, when he created last reality whereby everybody is saved, he basically undo the whole bombing. Meaning those who died (including Cristina, Sean and Stevens) are dead in Reality 1 and all other reality except the last one. Note that all reality except reality 1, only starts when Stevens wakes up in the train, its a copy of reality 1 except Stevens is now Sean. (thats what source code does, it creates a new reality which starts with Stevens in train as Sean from Reality 1)

Prove: Interview
As the plot wraps up, Colter, who we've learned is being held at the Source Code facility, ends up not only preventing the second bombing but also the original one on the train. He permanently ends up in Fentressis' body, and no terrorist event ever comes to pass. That sets up a classic time-travel paradox of which Jones was well aware.

"The idea that Colter Stevens, by going into this parallel reality and stopping the bomb going off, means that he was never sent on a mission in the first place," the director said. "In that reality, he must still exist at the facility. For sci-fi geeks like myself, that was a paradox I needed to address."

Jones addressed the issue front and center, having Colter/Fentressis send a message to the facility alerting one employee to the fact that, even though a terrorist event didn't take place, the Source Code does work. Additionally, Jones introduced the idea that Colter had been fated to end up in Fentressis' body.

"He's seeing flashes of this surreal experience that he can't figure out," Jones explained. "Over the course of the film, he sees more and more until eventually, he's coming to recognize this potential future where he's able to get out of the train and experience a life beyond those eight minutes."

This is my interpretation of this interesting movie…!

CG

It's turtles all the way down.

Jon O

When you start off with "Firstly… [-] here's what's wrong." *I* think YOU didn't get the movie. lol But hey… whatever.

Stevens and Goodwin's final exchange sets up the ending. When he asks her if she is married. She tells him she's divorced. He then asks her if she believes that there is another version of her walking around in a different time and place, a version that never married, a version that was never divorced. One that took and walks a different path. She tells him no, she doesn't believe that. He then declares, "You're wrong."

The final eight minute window before she pulls the plug on him is Stevens proving Goodwin wrong. He averts the train bomb, saves the lives of the people on the train, and also averts the second disaster that was thought to be the ONLY disaster that could be averted in Dr. Rutledge and Goodwin's understanding of what Source Code was capable of accomplishing and what its limitations were according to their understanding of time.

He did create a second timeline. One in which the people on the train and the people in Chicago proper were saved, and one in which another version of HIM, Stevens, still exists on life support for Source Code.

That's my understanding, and everyone I've spoken to got the same deal. The only thing we've discussed at any length is the fate of poor history teacher Sean's consciousness in the second timeline. In Goodwin's timeline – his train never blows up. He goes on and gets on like all the other miserable turds in that carriage. Life. In the timeline Stevens creates he… seems to be the only casualty of Stevens' Source Code – hah look what it can REALLY do – success. lol {=D

Michael

Erm, "this is how I expect the afterlife to be, like an eternal sleep/dream. "

Wtf? If you're dead, exactly who/what is doing the sleeping/dreaming? Do you imagine that in addition to the brain, there is some kind of additional organ that is capable of dreaming? "Afterlife" is a pretty senseless concept, based on wishful thinking and without even a sensible definition!

JHY

In his text to Goidwind he says tell him that "everything will be alright." In the first train scene, it is not Goodwin, but Monaghan's character that tells him "everything will be alright" right before the blast. Why is that? not a coincidence, but what does that mean?

Bill

My theory is not so interesting, but I have rejected all quantum jump/alternate universe stories because, when you think about it, anything is possible. One's actions have no meaning unless you dismiss all the universes except the one in which the protagonist lives.
Too many bad stories use this vehicle as a crutch.

He is still in the chopper dying. The whole thing is a dream as he dies…he did not finished his assigned mission, and created another. He needs a way to resolve his relationship with his father. Only after this is accomplished does the story progress.

Much like "Jacob's Ladder", the story navigates along the prose in "An Occurrence at Owl's Creek Bridge" (1890), with a different set of colors. The difference I see is that there is no explicit footage where the viewer becomes omniscient and realizes that Stevens has passed.
Perhaps we are to take the time freeze scene as such.

Nonetheless the story is quite good.

DethStarr

My theory: (I believe the movie actually explains and proves the afterlife/heaven theory)

The reason why alot of people are having a hard time understanding Source Code is because there trying to analyze it from the wrong perspective.

1.Stevens is NOT in the body of Sean. Steven is in his own body

2.Sean and the whole situation regarding the bomb is NOT REAL…It is a virtual world that has been created around Stevens conscious and/or the little 8 minute gap within Steven's mind and here why:

A.Lets say that the whole situation about Sean and the bomb was real..then how the hell did they get a hold of Sean's consciousness if he blew up with the bomb??

B. Lets say for some reason if was still possible for them to recover Sean consciousness after all, it still doesn't make sense because Sean had no way of knowing who the bomber was. On top of that, Stevens could only experience those 8 seconds from the perspective of Sean and clearly that didn't happen because every time Stevens died, he created a new realities of himself within one whole reality based on his individual choices. with leads me to my conclusion..

That the world Stevens is experiencing is NOT the TRUE reality.Its actually a whole new reality( world) created by he help of Stevens consciousness and the Source Code.That is why at the end, Stevens says:

''If you're reading this email, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. He thought you were creating eight minutes of a past event. But you're not. You have created a whole new world''

This also explains in one way why Stevens sees the face of Sean from the start because his reality, the projections and they way he experiences is all controlled to a certain degree. If they created all whole new reality for him then its highly possible that they can also control his SENSES within that reality aswell.Particularly his SIGHT.

Now for me to further explain all this I have to go back for a moment and give you my definition of what consciousness is as simply as i can and here it goes as follows:

1.Its an entity or something that's its aware of itself and knows its living

2.Not only is it aware of itself, but also knows that its separate and different from everything else.

Now where I'm trying to go with this is that the whole situation about the bomb/saving the world/Sean is all primarily based on those two principles.It was created to help Sean achieve consciousness within the world they have created for him. The reason why I make this conclusion is as follows:

Let's say that that they were to create a world based on Sean's own memories and not the one mentioned in the movie, there will be a high probability that the project/mission would be a FAILURE because what will happen is similar to what happen to Cobb's wife in Inception. At some point within the reality, Stevens would have a hard time distinguishing whats REAL and what's not.Over time he would probably start to believe that the things that are happening really is happening and the LINE between whats REAL and whats FAKE starts to become blurred.

The situation about saving the world/bomb/Sean is just a clever way of trying to ''wake up'' Stevens you could say within the reality they created for him. Its primary purpose was as follows..

1''Wake him up''
2.Give him a catalyst for him to continue with the ''mission''

Remember guys that if anyone wanted to go back in time and change ''a past event'' they have to be aware of the fact that's whats happening in going on in another SPACE and TIME and is not really ''REAL'' you could say

Another question alot of people might have as well is ''How is it possible for Stevens to find out who the bomber was''?

That answer to that question is that I believe at the of day…not only do we have the ability to CREATE are own realities based on our individual actions but at the same time are own REALITIES that we are projecting and creating is also shared between each other

DethStarr

My theory: (I believe the movie actually explains and proves the afterlife/heaven theory)

The reason why alot of people are having a hard time understanding Source Code is because there trying to analyze it from the wrong perspective.

1.Stevens is NOT in the body of Sean. Steven is in his own body

2.Sean and the whole situation regarding the bomb is NOT REAL…It is a virtual world that has been created around Stevens conscious and/or the little 8 minute gap within Steven's mind and here why:

A.Lets say that the whole situation about Sean and the bomb was real..then how the hell did they get a hold of Sean's consciousness if he blew up with the bomb??

B. Lets say for some reason if was still possible for them to recover Sean consciousness after all, it still doesn't make sense because Sean had no way of knowing who the bomber was. On top of that, Stevens could only experience those 8 seconds from the perspective of Sean and clearly that didn't happen because every time Stevens died, he created a new realities of himself within one whole reality based on his individual choices. with leads me to my conclusion..

That the world Stevens is experiencing is NOT the TRUE reality.Its actually a whole new reality( world) created by he help of Stevens consciousness and the Source Code.That is why at the end, Stevens says:

''If you're reading this email, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. He thought you were creating eight minutes of a past event. But you're not. You have created a whole new world''

This also explains in one way why Stevens sees the face of Sean from the start because his reality, the projections and they way he experiences is all controlled to a certain degree. If they created all whole new reality for him then its highly possible that they can also control his SENSES within that reality aswell.Particularly his SIGHT.

Now for me to further explain all this I have to go back for a moment and give you my definition of what consciousness is as simply as i can and here it goes as follows:

1.Its an entity or something that's its aware of itself and knows its living

2.Not only is it aware of itself, but also knows that its separate and different from everything else.

Now where I'm trying to go with this is that the whole situation about the bomb/saving the world/Sean is all primarily based on those two principles.It was created to help Sean achieve consciousness within the world they have created for him. The reason why I make this conclusion is as follows:

Let's say that that they were to create a world based on Sean's own memories and not the one mentioned in the movie, there will be a high probability that the project/mission would be a FAILURE because what will happen is similar to what happen to Cobb's wife in Inception. At some point within the reality, Stevens would have a hard time distinguishing whats REAL and what's not.Over time he would probably start to believe that the things that are happening really is happening and the LINE between whats REAL and whats FAKE starts to become blurred.

The situation about saving the world/bomb/Sean is just a clever way of trying to ''wake up'' Stevens you could say within the reality they created for him. Its primary purpose was as follows..

1''Wake him up''
2.Give him a catalyst for him to continue with the ''mission''

Remember guys that if anyone wanted to go back in time and change ''a past event'' they have to be aware of the fact that's whats happening in going on in another SPACE and TIME and is not really ''REAL'' you could say

Another question alot of people might have as well is ''How is it possible for Stevens to find out who the bomber was''?

That answer to that question is that I believe at the of day…not only do we have the ability to CREATE are

Grummc

Sorry missed a bit … My previous comment has a jumbled bit that is supposed to read…. That any missions she has to activate colter Stevens for…

Gruumc

Having enjoyed the film, I believe that when Stevens saves the train and kisses the girl for the last time, when the kiss freezes that is the point where the original timeline ends ( this is the point when his life support is turned off). After this point he is in an alternate timeline where he lives happily ever after with Christina. The text message he sends on the train is sent to goodwins phone also within the second timeline alerting her that source code has indeed done its job before it has even been needed in this new timeline. The text also let's her know that anyways ion that she has to activate colter Stevens for, she can do knowing that he can always "be ok" in the end!…. I think that makes sense??

Brooks

Ok, gotta say this movie was good up until the final twist, which I think was nonsensical and ruined it. I can buy that Jake goes into the code one last time, and kisses the girl. This is where time stops, bc the plug has been pulled on his brain. Time resumes only bc he's now passed into the afterlife and its a projection of his afterlife. I can buy all that, it makes sense. But then that his text is read by Goodwin and it explains an event which has altered the future? Its complete bullsh*t!!

For example, Goodwin locks herself in the room and pulls the plug on Jake…that's reality. She's likely fired or courtmartialed for that. To then show her coming in to work and receiving his text,…it's ridiculous…. as was already explained, the bomb has already gone off, those people are already dead. Anything Jake does during those 8min only exist in those 8min. ..filmmaker ignores their own premise and f*class up a good movie w a completely illogical and stupid (and unnecessary) plot twist.

Final thought: Jake is physically dead w only low level brain function.. .why do they show him twitching and pursing his lips, etc? That part was a bit silly to me.

ralph

It seems a lot of people are missing a point on this movie. He does NOT time travel. Somehow either thru code or physical wiring (brain to brain) he sees and lives in the last 8 minutes of the teachers life. Almost like the matrix. Now the inventor of the source code has mentioned that the people are already dead. They are just trying to find a clue to the next bomb. The source code doesn't allow for alterations. The inventor has obviously misjudged what can and cant be done in the Source Code. That's why the first time he save the girl (which he did) they said he didn't. Now every time he went in it (Source Code) reset, until the end when he saved the train. Here is the questionable part. Did the Source Code Download the Captains memories. This would allow Him to Die in our REAL world, but keep on living in the (Matrix) Source Code world. When he emailed it only happened in the Source Code world. Instead of coping what really happened in our world, he saved the train and in the Source Code (Matrix) world, the Captain hasn't yet gone on a Source Code mission. So technically he is alive in 2 places. In the body of the teacher and as the Captain at the Air force Base. Think of it like twins 2 separate people. I said questionable because this is assuming that the Source Code actually was like the Matrix and made a digital world and saved that world once we went past reset.

ralph

It seems a lot of people are missing a point on this movie. He does NOT time travel. Somehow either thru code or physical wiring (brain to brain) he sees and lives in the last 8 minutes of the teachers life. Almost like the matrix. Now the inventor of the source code has mentioned that the people are already dead. They are just trying to find a clue to the next bomb. The source code doesn't allow for alterations. The inventor has obviously misjudged what can and cant be done in the Source Code. That's why the first time he save the girl (which he did) they said he didn't. Now every time he went in it (Source Code) reset, until the end when he saved the train. Here is the questionable part. Did the Source Code Download the Captains memories. This would allow Him to Die in our REAL world, but keep on living in the (Matrix) Source Code world. When he emailed it only happened in the Source Code world. Instead of coping what really happened in our world, he saved the train and in the Source Code (Matrix) world, the Captain hasn't yet gone on a Source Code mission. So technically he is alive in 2 places. In the body of the teacher and as the Captain at the Air force Base. Think of it like twins 2 separate people. I said questionable because this is assuming that the Source Code actually was like the Matrix and made a digital world and saved that world once we went past reset.

Insomnia girl

Ive got it!Read a few comments and I think I have a know what happened. But, really there's no great explanation which is prolly why it's a good movie. So what I think
1. Solider dude was in the brain of the dude on the train.
2. In all the source codes, the future was changed. It created an alternate timeline
3. In the last source code, because solider dude stop the bomb, he became trapped in seans brain. Why? Because he created a new timeline. Source code last 8 mins because a person dies. But since Sean lived, solider dude could live in his brain.
4. At the end of the movie, there are two solider dudes-one from the old timeline in seans brain and back in the lab (if u think about it: if u went back in the past and changed the future irrevocably, the present where u came from wouldnt exist anymore. The timeline where Solider dudes was trying to stop the bomb doesnt exist Anymore since he stopped the bomb) So this is why solider dude is trapped in seans brain.

Ok I mostly wrote this for myself. I feel much since I have some explanation. U may agree or disagree…Lol…..

BlazeX64

From my perspective on this matter, at the end, the text message is read. She lips "Derek Frost" as his name is said in the office. The man then said that source code would be used in a future disaster.

He sent that text while he was still on the train, before even "turning Derek in".

At the moment of his termination of life support, we then find he is now Shawn. In that very text he stated that Captain Stevens was laying there waiting for his mission. This is more likely a form of replication. His next mission, should he make a decision to alter the past would then create his memories in the survivor's mind.

Using this kind of logic, he would be able to be anyone he wanted, with anyone he wanted, wherever he wanted. Those lives would be separate existences in the same universe.

Now the ball buster. He altered the past, eliminating the need to use source code for that mission. Shouldn't that mean that he actually switched places with Shawn, and now Shawn is lying in a coma in a capsule?

Faxu

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I love how it is in some way, secretive, and unexplainable in the beginning. I've watched it for a couple of times now, and it never gets old. As many of you have written about how he jumps between his own body, and Sean's body (the guy in the train) I agree on that. But as many other movies with time-traveling indicates, so does Source Code. I mean, if you would be able to go back in time and change the past, the faith would automatically make some kind of leaphole, that would make all things collide together making sense. In the way that if you change something, in the past the future, will after that change, look very different. What I noted was that every time Stevens fails finding the bomber, and the train explodes, we see him and Christina standing at the big mirror-cube where they are at the end of the movie. You know what they say that if you experience a near-death experience you see your life flashing by, but Stevens is already dead, in reality. So perhaps what he is seeing is his afterlife instead of his former life. Just as Campbell wrote, the time stops when Stevens and Christina are kissing, Stevens enter his afterlife. So as I mentioed earlier, faith already knew that Stevens were gonna change the events happening in the past, and therefore we see pictures of him and Christina at the mirror-cube before it actually happens. Faith at that point, already in the beginning of the movie knew the past was gonna change, so a new future had to be filled in. Thats how i would describe the leaphole which would make it all make sense. However, i've read many of your interpretations and i dont really disagree with any of them. I just wanted to think loudly, and tell you mine.

mynci_boi

Excellent film. If a movie can provoke as much thought as it clearly has done on a forum such as this, it has succeeded regardless of how many holes ppl think it has.

On a side note, relating to the parallels being drawn with quantum leap, did anyone else notice that the actor playing colter’s father (voice on phone) was Scott bakula better known as Sam Beckett from quantum leap. Legend!

Lisa

Some of the theories here are really cool. But guys all it said was that Colter was accesing the last 8 minutesof a memory Sean Fentress’s memory. Now if Colter had discovered all his clues and saved everyone whileon the train this could have been believable. But the fact that he got off the train and went to parking lots and all that…. Sean Fentress didn’t do all those things so there was no memory for Colter to access….The only reason the ending leaves room for alternate realities is because the guy that made this film realized he didn’t have a big enough hollywood ending so he threw in some parallel universe garbage..

Hollywood

I’m really dissapointed in two things :

A) The utter lack of logic used by the writers
B) The utter lack of logic used by the audience

The majority of viewers are resorting to the fail-safe that is ‘multiple reality’ theory. Which is nonsensical.

The movie and logic itself indicate that the machine/source code simply allows one brain to access the last eight minutes of another. This is useful because it can provide vital information that would otherwise be lost.
That’s it..and it’s a great concept for a film.

Nothing about the machine’s purpose whether stated or in the undertones, has anything to do with M-theory, String-theory, multiple universes, alternate realities and anything of that such nature. Nor does it have any relation to time travel.

If the film had been about a dead guy who accesses another dead guy’s brain for information, that would have been fine.

But it’s not – it’s some extremely far fetched fiction that has no way of explaining itself, and nor does it bother to.

Viewers cannot seem to accept that the writing is just full of holes and are resorting to fictional quantum physics theories in order to justify it.

The film was good until Captain Stevens decided to get altruistic and somehow think that he could ‘save’ people whom were already dead. They should have just had him figure out the information about the bomb and then ended the film.

Ultimately, because they kept it going, there is no explination – it simply is what it is, terrible writing.

Short and Sweet

Okay here is short and sweet explanation in my opinion…

Please check this actions:-

Dead->Brain->Used->For 8 mins->After 8 mins, only memory comes in brain->transferred to GoodWin through connection of SC and brain of Steven…

At last, GoodWin shuts the machine down but still the freezing picture continues… That’s the glitchy part in the movie.

Interpretations:-
1. Another World…
(After shutdown, he got trapped into the body of that teacher, hence he lives more there)
2. Changing past changed the future.
(GoodWin received the message and asked to help him in future)
3. Think with your brain, or I will put it at the place of Steven, okay ? ;)

CHEERS FRIENDS!!!

Kevin Cox

My wife and I saw the movie last night and were very impressed with it. We talked for quite a while, trying to pinpoint what happened in the ending.
I was sure that while the kiss freeze was on, that was the very end of the movie and I was happy with that ending. The ensuing ending was just even more satisfying, though confusing, as we all seem to agree. It didn’t occur to me that he could just be in a dream state while in the coma. I’d prefer to think that he found that alternate reality and lives some sort of life with Christina.
I was revulsed by, yet loved, the simulation of the upper torso with the lower half missing. Obvious that that body could not live or be saved, let us feel some sort of relief that it wasn’t being wasted. Although, morally, I don’t think it is conscionable.

E.J. Buno

the analogy is simply just like knowing which came first, the egg or the chicken. It just shows us that the loop exist on the timeline. The beginning is just connected with the ending. there are three universes that exist, the two were already mentioned and the last one is a delay of the universe where Goodwin currently exists. This time dilation occurred because the time when the source code is fully controlled by captain seeks its own reality making the first two universes coincide and the presence of loop is provided as an evidence to make all these possible…

chris b

okay so this movie was big pile of shit, their is no type of logic or consitency in it. trying to make sense of the ending is like trying to figure out the meaning of life. sure there may be one little part of the movie that may be in theory possible scientifycally but with all the constant unexplained bullshit, lack of any type of meaningfull dialogue that might give us somewhat of a hint at what might have happened at the end, and of course the worthless ending, no scientific explanation can explain salavage this movie. i seriously thought M Night Shamalyan wrote this shit. and i find it hilarious that the author thinks this is a better movie than inception.

jack

im a little late but what i think is that it was time travel from the very begginig. if sean were being sent into to the other guys brain { forgot his name } to live the last five minutes not only would they need his brain to begin with but they would only get to see and experince exactly what he did . second if thius has already happend then the must have wasted alot of time and the bomb would have exploded already . so if every second they used to send sean back in time for eight minutes only lasted a few seconds in real life idk ….

Fraser

Needed to explain everything clearly and succinctly, for my own sanity:

1.

Assume that Colter’s helicopter went down, he was put into an permanent induced coma and prepared for the first source code event. Call this Universe A.

Now, in Universe A the train explodes. Colter is sent into source code and subsequently inhabits the body of Sean. This instantly creates a new Universe. Universe B.

Therefore, each time Colter is returned to the train it creates a new universe.

However, each new universe does not run parallel to Universe A. Instead, it begins at 8 minutes before the train exploded. Each time Colter’s consciousness, existing inside Sean’s body, dies, it ends his existance in that universe and he returns to Universe A.

However, that universe must technically continue to exist, and is potentially different to Universe A based on Colter’s actions (e.g getting off at the first stop and saving Christina before falling in front of the train).

2.

Each time Colter wakes he sees a different set of images. These images become clearer each time.

He even refers to these images at one point in the film when he approaches christina and tells her that ‘he’s been dreaming about her.’

It is hard to quantify these images scientifically.. the only explanation on a fictional level, is that Colter was fated from the beginning to live out his existance with Christina. Compare this to the idea of fate as respresented by Shakespeares Romeo & Juliet, when Mecurial effectively says that both of them are fated to die.

3.

As the film progresses, Colter begins to realise whats happening. He realises that his existance in the alternate universes can continue beyond the 8 minutes. This is proven in the two scenes where he is hit by the train and where he is shot by teh terrorist. He realises that in the absence of death, only Goodwin’s manipulation of the source code machinery results in him returning to Universe A.

4.

The important line from the email he writes to Goodwin at the end of the film is ‘everything is going to be alright.’ Colter knows his own consciousness, he knows that those words settle and control him.

However, what this also proves, is that Universe A is not the ‘first’ universe that the source code was used in. We have no idea how many universes have been created before this one, it could be infinite. My theory is that, in Universe A Goodwin had already recieved an email, not from Sean Peltris but from another person, in relation to a completely separate event that had already been averted.

This explains why Goodwin tells Colter all along that everything will be alright. It explains why Goodwin agrees to switch Colter off, in Universe A, enabling him to exist in the alternate universe within Sean’s body.

One more point that confirms this theory, is that when the Doctor is explaining to Colter that everything is just a simulation, Goodwin’s facial expressions suggest that she does not believe him. This is because she has already recieved the email from Colter’s consciousness which transferred itself to Universe A from the previous Universe.

My two cents, great movie A+

vince

this movie really lacks logic. ..im not saying i dint enjoy the movie. But the whole Concept doesnt make sense to me at all.
How can u decode the information which was never there. wot im saying is Even if Captain Colter had an Access to account of last 8 minutes of SEAN’s life , still captain colter could never had been able to access the information other than what was stored(encoded) in the brain of sean before his death.
In simple words
Captain had only limited access to the information encoded in SEAN’s brain e.g the people Sean talked to or looked at, his surroundings, his experiences or wotever happened in last 8 minutes of his life.
so the whole idea of Captain colter going into the brain of Seans n manipulating the past is fictitious or imagination

Matt

First the idea that Colter killed Sean I disagree with, what I believe happened was that Sean died, he is over. But what the scientists were able to do was in essence capture the afterglow of the light bulb. And they were able to use Colters subconscious to basically drive the body that he is occupying. So if “Sean” lives he will be occupied by Colters subconscious. And because it has no other body to go to (he was let off life support) it just stayed there. That is more or less what I think happened.
This idea that Colters mind cannot be in two places at once makes me think of Schrödinger’s cat. Not sure why but when I think about it, it ties in nicely with the parallel universe thing that this movie is almost based off.

Felix M.

Hmm… I think I’ve figured it out. The short version? Colter became Sean in the alternate reality. The long version? I shall qoute a few lines from the movie from when Colter asked what the Source Code was:

“When a lightbulb is turned off, there is an afterglow… a lingering halo-like effect. You seen it?”

“The brain is like that. It’s electromagnetic field remains charged just briefly even after death. Circuits remain open. There’s another peculiarity about the brain, it contains a short-term memory track that’s approximately 8 minutes long.”

“Now combining these two phenomenon: circuitry that remains viable post-mortem and a memory bank that goes back 8 minutes, Source Code allows us to capitalize on the overlap.”

“Sean Fentriss died on that train. Of all the passengers aboard, he was your best link. You two share compatibility in terms of gender, body size and your synpatic maps.”

Colter: “What happens after the 8 minutes?”

“After? Nothing. You cease to exist on the train. You cannot exist inside the Source Code beyond Fentriss’ 8 minutes. Source Code is not time travel, rather it is time reassignment. It gives us access to a parallel reality.”

From this, we can quit the guess work (and even though this is still pure speculation on my part, I’m trying to apply logic given what I can work with) and see a number of things though this stuff is far from scientific and I shall need minds more brilliant than mine to crunch the science:

A) Source Code links Colter’s consciousness to Fentriss’ by “hacking” into the electromagnetic field that lingers from Fentriss’ brain.

Don’t know whether the science is right (anything less than the “hacking” part because that’s all sci-fi), but that can explain how with Sean being blown to bits, Source Code can access him.

B) This electromagnetic field needs to attach itself to an actual brain : the closest match of which is available in parallel universes at the same time and in the same situation. Also, there needs to be a match between Colter and the SC “hackee.”

C) The idea that Colter can’t exist in SC for more than 8 minutes comes from the fact that is the limit given the biology of short-term memory. But you will notice that in the end, Colter seems to have continued.

Here’s the thing: he failed all the other times because one way or another, he was killed or died within the same 8 minute time frame.

However, in his last attempt, he succeeded in averting disaster and avoiding. So that 8 minute limit doesn’t apply as not only did he not die, SC didn’t pull him out because his physical body was killed therefore he lost an original host for consciousness and stayed in Sean’s body. The compatibility between them allowing him to use it as his own.

Also, there is another chance if my logic is debunked by being based on unsound facts to begin with, Colter’s ending comes from the brain still being active for a while after-death and he is playing out the ending from his final SC jump. Though Goodwyn getting the e-mail and stuff seems to make this one less likely than the previous conclusion.

Hugh

Great blog here, I have a different interpretation of what happened in the film. I’ve tried submitting already but it hasn’t appeared yet, so I’ll try again. (Maybe I’ve been posting within a Source Code as Well !)

The whole concept of a “Source Code” and what we know as “Reality” really gets the mind going into overdrive.

To crack the “Source Code” you have to try view the film from the point of view from the Source Code programmer & the variables that allow the Source Code to Work.

Variable A : The Source Code, Program/Machine/Simulator that has been developed/built to allow one persons Sub Conscious to be Transferred into another Persons Memory/Sub Conscious.

Variable B : Colter Stevens, who’s comatose or near dead body is being kept alive on a life support machine in the Beleaguered Castle military base.
Colter is physically hooked up to the “Source Code” Program/Machine/Simulator and when “Paired” with another donor or in this case a dead donor’s brain, his Sub Conscious can be transferred to the donors last 8 minutes of memory before he died.

Variable C: Sean Fentress, who in the Real World has died on the stricken train.
Although we never actually see a physical representation of what is left of Sean or how Sean’s last 8 minutes are accessed by the “Source Code” Program/Machine/Simulator, we can assume that his brain or part of his brain has been recovered from the blown up train and in a similar way to Colter Stevens, Sean is now physically hooked up to the “Source Code” Program/Machine/Simulator”.

So taking into account the 3 variables used to make the “Source Code” work, it becomes clear that :

1.All Coulter Steven/s new experiences take place within the recovered Memory of Sean Fentress.

2.Each new jump/transfer Coulter makes into Sean’s memory, creates a new Timeline/Reality but crucially a new Timeline/Reality WITHIN SEAN’S MEMORY.

3.At the end of the film, even though Coulter’s life support has been turned off and his REAL physical body dies, Coulter can live on as Sean Fentress within (The brain of containing) the REAL Sean’s Memory,

4.The key is THE REAL SEAN FENTRESS or more than likely his brain that is somehow being kept operational and still physically connected to the “Source Code” Program/Machine/Simulator”
SO once the Physical Brain or whatever is left of Sean Fentress is disconnected from the Source Code, all the new Realities that Coulter has created will cease to exist and Coulters Sub Conscious will die.

It essence the Source Code is more or less an advanced virtual reality game that uses Real Peoples Bodies/Brains/Memories to make it work. Just like a normal computer game, the real Sean Fentress’s Memory is used as the platform for the Source Code to work, Coulter Stevens Sub Conscious is used like an interface in a game to allow interaction when within Sean Fentress memory (The Games platform)

And just like a computer game, once the Real Sean Fentress has been “Turned Off” or disconnected all that has happened within in the game will cease to exist.

Gabriel

WOW. OK, I STUDY QUANTUM MECHANICS IN SCHOOL. YOU GUYS IT’S NOT THAT HARD. THE MOVIE WILL ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST TWO FLAWS. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED:

The source code essentially created a new reality/universe.

In reality one, the train explodes and Stevens dies, but they save chicago.

In reality two, which was created when he was killed while being still in the source code, he stops the bombing and lives a happy life with Christina, just in Seans body.

The e-mail that he sent Goodwin was in the second reality where he stopped the bombing and now is together is Christina.

OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE TWO FLAWS WITH THE MOVIE.
One is that Stevens now has to have two consciousness’, one back at the army base and one in Seans body. Maybe we are just meant to look past that or actually believe you can have two consciousness’ at once.

The second flaw is that we never know what happened to Seans consciousness. But again, I believe we are just meant to look past that.

THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED.

Samantha

I agree with a good portion of what a few people posted. I do believe it was a memory he was reentering through the course of the movie. I also believe that memories can be altered to what we want. A very good example, is hypnosis, many people have had their memories altered, purposely or unpurposely, to believe something else. We also, ourselves, can change our memories.
I think when Goodwyn pulled the plug Colter’s mind wouldn’t let him die. His mind went on in the altered dimension of his mind but not as the same dimension in which he went back in time to change. This movie had an ending that I enjoyed greatly, actually the movie was so much better than I expected it to be.

Mattusa

This is taken from imdb synopsis – Stevens and Christina kiss in the last seconds before the eight-minute mark. In that instant, Goodwin turns off his life support per his request, but to Stevens’ surprise, his mind remains in Sean Fentress’ body. He is then able to safely leave the train with Christina, also saving the rest of the passengers. Now in the alternate universe, an alternate version of Goodwin receives an email from Stevens explaining what has happened and that the Source Code can alter the target alternate reality. The movie ends with Stevens taking Fentress’ place, and asking Goodwin to help Captain Colter Stevens and tell him that “everything will be OK.”, which Goodwin had told Stevens earlier in the film.

…just sayin…

David Duque

To further support the afterlife theory, I clearly remember at the end of the movie when Colter is supposedly living his “alternate reality” after preventing the explosion, him telling Christina something along the lines of “wow, what a beautiful clear day it is today”, this something we can associate with the afterlife. Now you can also interpret this as him just feeling sort of a victory rush for getting what he wanted, and therefore contradicting the afterlife theory.

Personally, I believe more in the multiple universe ending with a bit of a paradox twist conclusion, for one reason and one reason only. In the final stage of the movie when Colter is finally in Sean’s body infinitely, and he’s walking with Christina they run into that reflective sphere/monument in the plaza, the same object that flashed as visions every time after regressing from alternate reality(hence the reason why a paradox is in effect b/c he has already lived or will live that experience).

In conclusion, I do believe that the parallel universe/alternate reality, with a paradox theory has more validity in terms of how this movie was presented. Now, the one huge flaw in the film, which is understandable, is how was it possible for Colter to link with Sean’s body, if somebody has a theory please explain. I came up with the idea that in the explosion’s aftermath they somehow managed to recover Sean’s body or at least parts of it, including his brain, and were able to purge the eight minute mental ‘recording’ per say, but that’s extremely unlikely and science fictional, which after all, this movie is.

A viewer also posted this:
“I like the interpretations where each time Stevens goes back to the train he creates a parallel reality. But there’s a problem: the time that Stevens goes back and gets Christina off the train and then beats the crap out of the guy with motion sickness then gets hit by a train on the tracks, shouldn’t that have altered reality such that Christina would have lived? When Stevens insists to Godwin that he saved Christina, she looks up Christina’s info and finds that she died. Sooo… do his actions affect the future or don’t they??”

The reason why Christina was dead is quite simple really. In the universe/dimension where Stevens insists to Goodwin he saved Christina, the explosion had already happened earlier that day, but in the other dimension, Stevens successfully saved Christina and Sean for that matter, effectively changing reality there but with no effects on the universe where Stevens was trying to convince Goodwin about his heroics. Hence the name parallel universes with alternate realities.

Robert

Just watched the movie, and there’s a few things that don’t make a whole lot of sense. If that 8 minutes is the conjured up memory of a dead persons last 8 minutes of life, then why is it not the same every visit? The persons memory should be a play/pause/stop sort of deal – whereby every visitation to the memory is exactly the same, the people do the same things etc.

With this being said, if Colter can enter this memory and things change every time, would it not suggest it’s infact not a memory, but an alternate dimension? When he dies in that alternate dimension – he is brought back to the one where he was sent from. He remains alive in the very last visit to this other dimension and can carry on a life in it.

Brandon Dean

David,

I don’t think that’s possible, as his consciousness can only be in ONE location at any ONE time (while still in this ‘world’ )

It must be that way. IF it was as you say, that means during all those 8 minute frames Coulter would have been both present on the train (IN sean’s body) AND present still in the source-code (able to communicate with Goodwin)

But we know that’s not how it happened. We know during the 8 minute frames Coulter was NOT present in the source-code, because during those ‘frames’ or simulations, the ‘agency’ (goodwin and co.) HAD TO WAIT for Coulter to come back at the end of the 8 minutes.

See, they just ‘travel’ Coulter (his ONE conscience) from the souce-code to the train, and then 8 minutes is up, he goes back to the source code — at which point he can relay information to Goodwin.

So, during that last 8 minutes, Coulter is NOT in the source-code per say, because he is in SEAN (back in time, on the train ride)

The agency figured IF they ‘turned off’ the machine Coulter would just cease to exist.

Yet, as edwin pointed out, to Goodwin’s surprise (in the other reality…) Coulter was alive as Sean.

But then, this completely contracts the idea that his conscience can only be in one place at one time, as i stated above. because that means in the new reality – edwin – that coulter is in sean, and inside the source code, at the same time.

However, if that’s possible, THEN THAT MEANS, the movie is flawed = the only explanation.

because he can not have 2 consciousness, as he is only ONE. Like everybody else.

That’s why during the 8 minute frames, he can only be on the train, or in the source-code. but never both at the same time. because he is only one.

…….

nothing more to be said as far as im concerned. but i’m willing to receive correction if it’s there

David

I think what happens is the moment she pulls the plug he dies.
The pause at the end of the 8 minutes where everything freezes is when he dies, and everything after that- him hanging out with the girl, even his email at the end is all his after life world in his mind of what would happen so he would believe that all those passengers lived and that he would still be going on missions. That is all his own imagination and what he would like to happen.
But in reality, the people on the train died, he thwarted the future disaster and he is dead as well.
My only question is how would he know what he looks like in his imagination in the source code state?

Brandon Dean

One question i have is How did Coulter know Goodwins email address?

Brandon Dean

Heh, well i must admit you are absolutely correct.
And thank you for the post.
You cleared up any confusion i had and saved me the time of rewatching that final “email” scene. Now that you explained that, i do recall the details of what happened and so again, you are right. Later!

Edwin Irizarry

A lot of typos and missing words in my previous posts. Sorry for typing with an iPhone…

Edwin Irizarry

Dear Brandon Dean,

I agree with most of what you said but I believe you are mistaken in a small detail. I will quote below:

“To Goodwin’s surprise, Colter was right. Once she turned off the source-code machine (while colter was still in the 8 minute frame) guess what? the 8 minute frame never stopped.  How did she realize this?  He sent her that email remember?  And the email went through.  When she got this email, it confirmed to her, that indeed – another ‘reality’ was in existence at the same exact time.  Colter was ‘alive’ inside another body – living in a different ‘frame’”

Yes Goodwin is surprised. But it’s not the same Goodwin. It’s the Goodwin from his new timeline. She got the e-mail before the train explosion which obviously will never happen thanks to Colter. He realizes he’s in a newly created timeline and knows that the Colter from the new timeline is alive awaiting his first mission. Which will not be the Chicago bombing but maybe another “first” event which we could see on a sequel. If you wanna call it something like that. So we have 2 timelines here (that we know of).
A: The train explodes and Colter dies peacefully after saving Chicago and being unplugged by Goodwin which most probably gets processed legally her benevolent action. And so on…
B: The teacher (Colter) secretly saves Chicago again but this time saves the people on the train. He then sends Goodwin an e-mail letting her know in a small paragraph that she is part of a newly created timeline. And is being contacted by Colter already living inside the teachers body. He instructs her to take care of the still alive Colter from this new timeline. Since he understands that they will eventually use him for a mission and most probably will go to the same horrible process he went trough on the timeline B.

So no e-mails cannot travel on different timelines. But the soul of a human being CAN. he has just the first interdimensional traveller. (Sort of speak) and he decides to let the secret out to the only person he knows he could trust in the future. Infinite timelines?? Hell yes. The Colter from timeline B will eventually do the same thing. If he is able to be unplugged without dying in the source code. If he achieves such a thing. Which I believe he will because now Goodwin understands more about the Source Code than the creator himself will cooperate with the still alive Colter. I forsee another timeline with another e-mail saying “Thanks Goodwin” be surprised because the Source Code works even better than u guys think”.
Infinite. It will all depend on what events happens in the future of that new timeline. There will be a lot of Colters in different timelines living other people’s lives. I’m just sorry for the people he’s matched with. Dead or alive, they have no choice. I think I veered of from my point but this movie works minds. I hope we can discuss about this e-mail thing. And if you differ from me please be so kind to explain why.

Dr. Beckett

Anyone ever see the tv show “Quantum Leap” ? I was thinking about the show when I watched Source Code. I think he must have figured out somehow he was leaping back in time otherwise he would not have sent Goodwin that text. He changed the timeline or an alternate time line to one where he exists as Sean and in the coma like state.

tom

attention BRANDON DEAN

explain to me how he trasferred a message from one reality to another? Was his service provider with verizon lol

also what happens to sean’s conciousness in the reality that colter stevens takes (at the end of the movie)?

Brandon Dean

>explain to me how he trasferred a message from one reality to another? Was his service provider with verizon lol

He used a cell phone.

>also what happens to sean’s conciousness in the reality that colter stevens takes (at the end of the movie)?

Perhaps sean’s consciousness exists in the inifinite other realities (as the movie would theorize) but in the Last frame (and all the 8 minute frames before that) Coulter’s consciousness exists in sean’s body. This is why the movie emphasized the fact that Christina had basically just been acquainted with ‘sean’ (they didn’t know each other very well) so “Coulter” picked up on that fact, and realized he had plenty of an opportunity to be with Christina as himself, because she hardly knew sean. granted, coulter was willing to do so in a body that is not his lol

AP

The commenary by the director and writer is that thre were multiple realities. in one coulter lives on as we see in teh end and starts the whole thing going again.. But they acknowlede iti s open ended and capable of multiple interpretations. the afterlife one certainly makes sense, as do a numner of explanations.

Brandon Dean

Remember the ‘agency’ has already admitted that the train passengers are DEAD and not coming back (regardless if colter saves the train or not) why? because it already happened, it’s over. HOWEVER, the ‘attack’ on CHICAGO has NOT actually happened YET in the present-time. So the agency’s ONLY goal is to prevent that attack on Chicago (those are the lives they’re trying to save). The agency simply realizes that if Colter can find out who the bomber is, if he can identify the bomber, then they can find the bomber, and stop him before he blows up Chicago.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
So what happened in the last scene?
Well, the agency GOT what they wanted. That’s why they were celebrating. Colter found out who the Bomber was. Then, the bomber shot him with his gun. And the 8 minute frame ended, but Colter came back to the source-code and told the agency who the bomber is. The agency informed the government, then the government got the bomber and stopped the attack on Chicago. Goodwin’s boss was so happy – and he wanted to keep the source code ‘operating’ in order to use it (colter and the machine) again for future ‘attacks’ BUT, MEANWHILE, Goodwin out of good character decided to let Colter go back (she rewinded him back into time again, and hit ‘play’) and from there he had another 8 minutes.
She couldn’t understand why Colter wanted to try this because the train was already blown up, people were already dead, it already happened. couldn’t be changed. But remember, Colter was asking Goodwin rather or not she believed there was more than one of her alive. She said ‘No.’ He said he disagreed. He believed there are several ‘universes/realities’ . Understand now?
Colter told Goodwin that she, and her boss and the agency, were was just plain wrong. he ‘believed’ in his soul (who he is) that IF she put him back again and then TURNED OFF the machine that HE COULD REMAIN (in sean’s body) AND HOPEFULLY SAVE THE TRAIN and then life would just go on. His motivation for this was the woman Christina. Love simply has no limits.
To Goodwin’s surprise, Colter was right. Once she turned off the source-code machine (while colter was still in the 8 minute frame) guess what? the 8 minute frame never stopped. How did she realize this? He sent her that email remember? And the email went through. When she got this email, it confirmed to her, that indeed – another ‘reality’ was in existence at the same exact time. Colter was ‘alive’ inside another body – living in a different ‘frame’
The implication then, of the movie, well, it all boils down to this: infinite realities exist… and Colter and the source code just proved it.
for instance, I am Brandon Dean. I work at a restaurant. But all through my past (in this life) I’ve had countless different opportunities, and options, and events to act upon. For all of those ‘choices’ i’ve had to make, perhaps each choice i made, a part of my conscience CHOSE another path. Therefore, i have this conscious mind. BUT, i have many others, all living out different lives based on different choices. So again, the implication is that there is infinity universes For we ALL have several different choices to make each and every day.
THEREFORE,
The movie is simply an old theory – infinite universes. That’s all – just a theory. I mean, i for one do NOT believe in ‘inifinite universes’. Why? This is just imagination. Pure imagination. I can literally recall moments in my life from each year starting at child hood. I can connect the dots from present time all the way back to the time i was a child. 20 years ago. And from childhood until right now, those dots (or events) have perfectly shaped who I am today. Where I am today. And how I think today. ONLY ONE conscious exists in me, always has, always will until the physical body dies. The movie is rather silly in theory, HOWEVER, very entertaining.

Brandon Dean

Colter’s physical body died in a helicopter crash 2 months before ‘today’ or the day of the terrorist/train explosion.
For 2 months the ‘government’ agency was able to electrically circuit Colter’s body/brain to a machine (source-code) which kept his ‘conscience’ hostage. So Colter was NOT dead, for how can a soul/conscious ever die? The agency, through the machine (source code), was able to keep Colter (his conscious = who he is) attached to the world via electrical connections (they just need his body (his human brain) present in the machine, in order to keep his ‘soul’ or conscious from departing this world and going back to the eternal source (God) )
It’s as if they are ‘hijacking’ Colter’s soul from where it eternally belongs.
OK? Hope this is making sense.

Now, when Colter is inside the ‘cubical’ thing that he’s imagining himself to be in – THAT cubical is imaginary, as Goodwin told him (“your manifesting yourself, and you’re manifesting the box Colter.” )
This is again confirmed in the scene where it shows goodwin’s computer screen. She isn’t seeing Colter. She is just seeing ‘words’ on the screen. This means, goodwin and the agency are communicating with Colter (his soul = who he is) via electrical signals (remember his body is hooked up to wires/machine/source code which is keeping Colter (him, his soul) attached to our reality on an ‘invisible’ level. Electronically, they are communicating through the air-waves, thus, the computer picks up Colter’s communication and his conversation appears on Goodwin’s computer screen.
Moving on…
They’ve had is body hooked up for 2 months.
Then one day, a train blows up, and subsequentally the agecy/government learns they have reason to believe the same ‘terrorist’ may be planning to destroy the city of Chicago.
and so.. BINGO! – finally after 2 months the government has a reason to call the quantum physic (source code inventors) because now they have a reason to use the source code. The agency is ready on call. And so Goodwin’s boss orders the ‘men’ to flip the switch and begin the procedure with Colter.
They let Colter know assuredly that what he’s doing is NOT time travel. Remember? They said that.
Then what is it? Well – it can not be time travel, because NOTHING physical is involved. It’s all on the invisible level. Time travel is defined as a solid object going forward or backward in time. So it’s not time travel.
Now listen – – the agency – – has the ability, thanks to their quantum physic breakthrough, to use SOURCE CODE (which IS the machine colter is inside) to REWIND or BACKTRACK through time. They can go backward in TIME. However, they can NOT see ANYTHING while they are rewinding, nor can they see anything when they stop rewinding and choose a ‘play’ or ‘resume’ point. In this case, the play/resume point is the train ride. The only thing they (the agency) can do is send the consciousness they’ve ‘hijacked’ (colter) back to whatever point they choose. At this point, once they pick a time to push ‘play’ or start’ they only have 8 minutes. Why? That’s just limited ‘technology’ LOL. THEN, after 8 minutes, the ‘consciousness’ (Colter) returns back to the present-time.
Once he goes back to present-time, because his body is still inside the machine, this means the agency still has him. They’ve essentially stole his soul.. if you will. Then, they can rewind/resume at the ‘train frame’ as many times as they want so long as his soul/body is hooked up to the machine.
Got it?
How is it though, that they can ‘insert’ Colter’s consciousness INTO Sean?
Easy answer – – Sean is already dead. Quantum physics (in the movie) is simply allowing the agency to ‘travel’ a consciousness back in time to a whatever point they choose. Then once they ‘release’ it, or ‘place’ it, into a point in time – that consciousness has 8 minutes until the source code loses it’s power. So…
Their ‘source code’ ability allows them to send the ‘subject’ (Colter’s conscious) into whatever body they so choose. Why/how? Because a conscious can only exist within a body. OR, it can exist in eternity. In order to keep Colter in their ‘world’ they need colter’s actual body or ‘brain’ inside the source code machine and if they’re going to let it ‘travel’ back in time they need ANOTHER body (sean) in order for the consciousness to ‘travel’ or MANIFEST itself again.
Think Biblically – – Satan ‘manifests’ in people. God manifested as Jesus. See? Colter simply manifests as Sean. They ‘travel’ him via quantum physics and send him into a different body. That is why when they rewind to the train-ride and then hit ‘resume’ (simultaneously inserting Colter into Sean) he has no clue who sean is. ‘Sean’ then is NOT present because ‘Colter’ has manifested the body.
…continued

E

Here we go….

We were watching a single instance of both the real world the parallel being created. If could of been the first or one of many. This goes for the “real” and the parallel world. The eight minutes actually changes the timeline for both. Constantly spinning off.

The mail showed that Source Code could indeed send a message across. The film completed that one instance of the Source Code world. The next crisis when source code will be used, the main character will again spin off another world with the “real” world splitting as well. The outcome could be very different each time. Goodwin in the tract we were watching now has understanding what happens every time SC is used. Both timelines and “worlds” could constantly change. It is all shaped by “choices” and Goodwin now understanding and empathy for the man within Source Code.

When it comes down to it, pulling the plug has no real impact other then the instance created in the “real” world time tract we were watching.

There you go…

oday banihani

Don’t think too much you will get confused .. just like i did :D
the movie was great.
and the reason why the writer made that end just because he wants the movie to have a happy ending :)

Scott Rob

This is a very simple explanation but the way I would like to think it ended.

Time freezes when the red button is pushed, which ends colters life. That moment when time freezes is when colter moves into the afterlife and what unfolds after that is the way that Colter would have wanted it to end but it hasnt. He is actually dead.

Tom Guarda

I have just seen this movie and I have to tell you, none of it makes sense.
Some people say he’s in different universes and others say he’s in a different time frames.
If he is in a different universe how does he take over the teachers body at the end of the movie. what happens to the teacher? The only reason why jake took over his body was because the teacher died on a train and they could use his last remaining 8 mins of his life. At the end of the movie jake stopped the train from exploding and saved everyone including the teacher. They would never of had the teachers 8 minutes to begin with since he did not die. This theory can also be used with different time frames. There is no way he could have gone back to change a train from exploding if it never happened in the first place even if he is in different realities or not!

My conclusion is that i don’t think even the person that created this film even understands what movie he made.

Ash

So how come after the first explosion Sean/Colter sees the big mirrored object from the end of the film ?

JCoo

I like the interpretations where each time Stevens goes back to the train he creates a parallel reality. But there’s a problem: the time that Stevens goes back and gets Christina off the train and then beats the crap out of the guy with motion sickness then gets hit by a train on the tracks, shouldn’t that have altered reality such that Christina would have lived? When Stevens insists to Godwin that he saved Christina, she looks up Christina’s info and finds that she died. Sooo… do his actions affect the future or don’t they??

The Movie Whisperer

To add to my last comment as it wasn’t too clear after reading it, I think Sean was the real Sean after the freeze. I’m sure if they continued the movie everything prior would be a blur to him – the bomb, the text message, etc. I want to believe that there is only one reality and after the freeze, that became the new reality.

The Movie Whisperer

I just watched this film for the first time. Personally, I thought the ending was the real Sean and not Jake in place of Sean. I guess you can interpret alternate realities after he saves the train, but to me I’d like to believe alternate realities only existed while in SC mode. I believe when he saved the train, that became the new reality… the freeze we saw was the transition. Sean was still Jake on the train when he sent that text message. So then you might ask what happened to Jake? Well Jake is Jake again. I think everyone is everyone. I could be wrong and I only saw the film once, but that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it until I can re-watch the last 20 minutes again.

Patrick

When this movie started it really made me think of a fiction novel I had read years ago…. I don’t remember the title of the book but only vaguely remember things in it…. Basically a military agent or something was in a simulator that took her back to real crime scenes where she would have to get clues on what really happened or solve the crime… She kept messing up just as gylenhall was in this movie and I was wondering if this might have been inspired by this book, I wish I can rememeber the title of the book

Kobe

The way how I see this movie is that Steven(Jake G) is now in a new world with Christina. This is the ending when they are together in the Plaza. Now when Goodwin receives the text from Steven she is in the past because if you remember the last scene where she enters the office of Dr. Rutledge the black guy, he is informed of what happened to the train. So, Steven sends a text to Goodwin who receives it in the past. What i got is that there is 3 world/dimension/time. The one Steven ends up with Christina, one where Steven actually dies and they stop the bomber, and the one in the past where Goodwin receives the text.

john

The whole film is nonsense. The human mind is locked inside material. It simply cannot exist elsewhere. No amount of technology will make that happen! There’s no afterglow for 8 minutes, no parallel existence inside another persons body. This is pure fantasy.

Purely as fiction I think the end is his new reality.

DJ

I read some of the comments and with some of my thoughts here is what i think…i think that every time Colter was sent into the train that was a whole new world…bc the fact that in the email when Colter explains what source code can do he says “a whole new world”. Therefore this has to be the explanation. So all the times Colter was sent in a new parallel universe was created. However the only one that he lived on in was the very last one and he sent the text message in it & the text was able to travel along to another universe. idk i always find myself thinking i understand it and then i get confused! i love these types of movies that u may never fully understand and they just make u think! Crazy movie! loved it!

mm

Great movie. I can def see an underground fanclub cult following with this idea if a episode series launched.

andy

I dont think Sean’s conciousness ever existed in the world source code created by sending Steven’s into it.

Suraj.Swaminathan

I have just one doubt that has been troubling me. What happened to Sean’s actual consciousness?According to various theories from various scientists,there should be conservation of energy and that all our souls are a form of an energy.If Colter’s consciousness or whatever it is, is being transferred in Sean’s body, where in the world is Sean’s actual consciousness???

Andy

The way i see it is pretty simple. Everytime Stevens is sent into the Source Code it is creating a new Parallel World by sending someone from the present into the past. Everytime except the last time his Concious mind is sent back to the capsule and those New Worlds are continuing on with out him. The last time when he saves everyone and Goodwin turns off his life support he stays in that Parallel world as he does not have a body to go back to and lives on in Seans body. When you see Goodwin recieve a message about sorcecode she is recieving it in the last Parallel World created (the one Stevens stays in). The World where Goodwin turns off his life support also goes on the same and that world is not affected by his last trip to the Source Code (everyone on the train is still dead in this world).
In this New parallel World where Stevens lives he cannot be linked to the Stevens laying in the Source Code as the two are now different. Kind of like going back to the past and seeing yourself carrying on.

Chuck

My theory. I have not read everyone’s else so I dont know if I am repeating.

The dr at one point in the movie tries to explain to Jake Gyln that he is not really going back in time. I believe that his soul/consciousness IS actually going back in time and going into the body of Sean. However, when Jake(in the body of Sean) dies he does everyone one expect that last time his soul/consciousness goes back into his body(the pilot in a coma). So on the last trip he is really going back into time and he really saves the day. Goodwin then pulls the plug on Jake/pilot body. Jakes soul/consciousness has no choice but to stay in the past in Sean’s body. I think in the now alternate future the jake/pilot body has no soul/consciousness and is never able to go into the source code project. They give up and bury his lifeless/soulless/consciousnessless body.PS every time that he fails he jumps ahead into the future the past reset into the original time. Kinda like shutting off a computer before saving

Rian Vorster

Another thing I missed . Source code enables Scientist to capture (copy) the last 8minutes of someones mind track.When Cpt.Stevens Died within the source code,he was already plugged into the Program at that moment.His mind was not in reality because we saw he was in a coma prior to his death. So the last 8 minute track of his mind wasn`t his reality but source code itself, although he still retained all his memories, and that`s how he copied Source code with his mind and created a parallel universe.In that universe he no longer exists as Cpt.Stevens (although he has all his memories)but as Sean,he transferred himself into this reality.The real Cpt.Stevens still exists in this new reality at Beleaguered Castle.This version of Cpt.Stevens will be send on another mission not the train one(Perhaps to stop a suicide bomber on an airplane or an assassination) ,because the bomb already has been defused on the train and he informed the law enforcement of this,remember when He took Derek Frost`s phone,called someone and confessed.Now when this new Cpt.Stevens solve his new mission he too will be asked to be unplugged at the 8minute end run and create another universe within Source code,because The original Cpt.Stevens knows himself and knows other version of himself would do the same.Thus eventually rendering Source code useless.

Alex R.

First off, I’m going to post my take without reading anyone elses theory, in order to preserve my own. Secondly, Let me label the realities/dimensions depicted in the film, so as to provide clarity to what I am referring to.

Reality 1: Stevens in his “pod” speaking with Goodwin.

Reality 2: On the train, living the last 8 minutes as Sean.

Keep in mind, this is my theory based on my first time watching this film. I hope to watch it a few more times to really cultivate a proper view.

My Theory: Stevens becomes more and more aware of what “Reality 2” is capable of during his multiple run throughs, and also what Dr. Rutledge says “isn’t” possible about said reality. Stevens seems to realize that he can operate outside of the boundaries of the train, even getting off at differnet stops. This realization is also confirmed by the fact that he can simply move about as he wants, without having to do exactly what “Real Sean” did for the last 8 minutes of his life. To put it simply, Stevens feels that, with an indirect confirmation from Rutledge, that he is placed into an alternate reality each time he gets transported back to the train, that he has full control of. A reality that supposedly only exists for 8 minutes, due to the fact that it is manufactured from the memory of the “Real Sean”, who is deceased. Stevens seems to be fully aware that his actions will not effect Reality 1, but also believes that he can change the fate of the passengers of this train, in Reality 2.

Here comes the stretch of imagination/interpretation…

Stevens asks Goodwin to send him back for one last time, and also to take him off life support when the 8 minutes are up. As we know, Goodwin completes both of these tasks. If you notice, she terminates Stevens’ life support right as the 8 minutes are up, and a moment of freezed time is depicted. This is when “Real Sean’s” mind/spirit/aura dies in Reality 2, and Stevens’ mind takes over in its place. The freeze, or delay, is due to Stevens’ mind/spirit/aura attempting to return to his body, and then having to return to the body of “Real Sean” in Reality 2, since Stevens’ remains are no longer living. From this point on, Stevens’ now assumes the body/role/persona of Sean in Reality 2. His second chance at life. This is also confirmed by the fact that Goodwin in (future) Reality 2 receives Stevens’ email regarding the Source Code mission his future self is about to embark on. Hence hinting at a continuing pattern of alternate realities of already alternate relalities.

Again, this is my take after watching the movie once, but I believe it is a pretty good theory so far.

Rian Vorster

Few things to keep in mind as I explain the ending ,along I will try and reveal the motives.
1.This is not like Inception.Inception is Dream-state/program.And not parallel reality.Dreams are not reality although it might seem like it.
Source code is memory using a genius mind in a deep dream-state(coma) combined with Source code (They don`t explain Source code much.
2.”Lily woke in an evening dress and an opera cloak….”
3.Source code can copy the memory of minds but Captain Stevens copied Source code into his own mind along with all the necessary data to create a parallel universe that runs with Source code.
4.Captain Coltor Stevens is SC1,he will always be SC1 in all universes.
Dr.Rutledge did talk about bringing in more Source code ‘candidates’ so to speak.But it SC1 is the trial version.
5.Dr.Rutledge is waiting for a crises so that he can use SC and proof it works.(he is greedy and doesn`t care for Cpt.Stevens life.

So when Goodwin(Vera Farmiga) shut down Cpt.Stevens life source at the end run of Source code,his mind still existed within SC1.It sort of copied Source code and his mind became the program and he didn`t need his brain anymore.SC Is his life source.
He created a parallel universe within SC which cannot effect the first reality he was in.SC is not reality.but reality in reality.
In all his trials to disarm the bomb he died.The source code stopped to exist because it needs a human mind to keep it`s existence.
Lets say he failed 18 times for 8minute periods.That time multiplied is the time, the parallel universe runs prior to the first reality.
At the end of the film he send Goodwin a mobile message,informing her that he defused a bomb and informed her/as well as other people of Beleaguered Castle.This tip off is in the parallel SC reality he created while he was Sean(When he caught Derek Frost made everyone laugh and Kissed Christin.) But the real Captain Steven still exists in this reality (In a coma SC1 version 2).He will be needed for another mission and if everything goes as SC1 version 1 expects Cpt.Stevens V2 will solve the next mission,get shut-down at the 8minute end run,create a second parallel universe,inform Beleaguered Castle of the threat and postpone yet another crises for them to use Source code in that reality.This will continue until so many opportunities for the scientists to use Source code have been sabotaged that they will finally shut him down and scrap the project with SC1.Although many versions of his mind will still exist in different Source code universes not really reality.
The only way Cpt.Stevens can exist in a “reality” is through other people he saves while in Source code.And he knows he does not want a vegetable version of him somewhere…Awesome movie.

SpyMan

Here’s my theory.

Universe X = Universe in which Stevens is in the capsule, Goodwin is talking to him throughout the whole movie.

Universe Y = All the Universes that Stevens went to in which he failed to stop Derek Frost.

Universe Z = The universe in which Stevens stops Derek, saves everyone on the train and goes on a date with Christina.

In Universe X Stevens is dead because Goodwin shut off his life support.

Universe Y has an infinite amount of universes in it. However many trips Universe X Stevens took where he failed PLUS all the trips that the infinite number of Universe Y Stevens took to stop Derek because in those universes the train attack still happened so Goodwin and Rutledge would need to use Stevens to prevent another attack. There would be even more universes created in those sub-universes creating a never ending stream of alternate universes but I’ll stop at this first level.

Finally, Universe Z is the one we see at the end of the movie. Stevens (in Sean’s body) and Christina go on a date, Goodwin receives the text from Stevens telling her what the Source Code actually does (creating alternate universes,) and Stevens’ Z body/consciousness is still in the capsule waiting to be used for another mission. So Universe X and Z’s Stevens consciousness are in Universe Z.

It makes absolutely perfect sense if you believe that alternate universes exist and are constantly being created by every single action/inaction in the universe, which I do. All in all, pretty awesome movie lol.

xabier

Just a comment.
For me the freezed last second is one key, this moment becomes his complete lifetime in his new reality . He switches from time line b ( source code) to time line c ( his heaven or projection of what he would have wanted his life to be like , remember the movie Jacobs Ladder). he continues his existence in the teachers body ( all in his imagination)

and the final text message explanation is just a continuation of time line c ( his imagination) remember she receives the massage after the bomber was captured , the text massage was phrased so she understands that Stevens sends it form within source code, yet his body is alive in the capsule.It can only mean the he accepts that in his new time line he lives in the teachers body and his real body also exists with out his mind in it , he imagines she reads it so he can believes and continues his new life the scene just shows us this thought of his.

Noah

Rawfies got it mostly right, and i dont believe its an afterlife scenario…or that it should have ended at the freeze frame. I think that the freeze happened for dramatic effect, because the audience “thought” they knew what to expect. I think that being a “sci-fi” thriller, the creators somewhat played off the idea that science isn’t always exact….you sometimes dont know all the exponents and outcomes. Some comments on here allude to Stevens ‘accepting’ his fate…i feel like that was an act, because he ‘knew’ the scientist was wrong….Stevens could change the past…the glitching of Christinas face, i feel was more or less a side effect, and didn’t necessarily change the scope of Stevens impact. One thing too, the reason Goodwin gets the text before anything happens, in Stevens timeline…she got it right when he sent it….nothing happened that morning on the train, no bomb went off….it was a morning train ride…uneventful…almost like a ‘reset’….so she sent him ‘back’, he affected the whole scenario by preventing the bomb completely, thus preventing the whole initiation of “source code” project….and i guess thats where the “theoretical anomolies” can come in…before time being “reset” she turns off his life support, trapping his mind in Sean’s permanently, no death, no afterlife….obviously his mental capacity is still there….otherwise the movie wouldnt work…great debate topic though, feel like i could talk for a really long time… lol

Tim

How come when he flashes back to the present it shows future scenes in the movie like christina lying on the ground after getting shot way before that happened, that’s what confuses me and the silver thing if it didn’t “happen” yet how did he visualize it?

barok

What happened is that he has been able to change the REAL past with the source code. This is ridiculous because source code was only a recorded interactive dream. Its like saying that I can change the past by modifying an historical movie. Of course this is ridiculous. An other point, source code is 8 minutes recorded memory from Sean but in the movie Steven goes into areas where Sean never being. In real life it would be all dark after he goes off the train or sees the bomb = Unexplored areas = All dark. He would not be able to see the fucking bomb. It was a good movie but completely out of logical reality.

kelly

“Lily awoke in an evening dress and opera cloak.”

So began the phrase used the first time Stevens came out of the Source Code and Goodwin was trying to reorient him with the
alpha memory pattern. Here’s what no one has mentioned in
the comments I’ve read. At the end of the film Stevens’ email
to Goodwin starts out exactly the same way. Her expression is
flat but when she gets to the next line of the memory pattern
phrase she gets up out of her chair. She goes in to see Dr.
Rutledge who is being told about the averted disaster and the suspect’s name. As it’s being said, Goodwin makes a strange
face and mouths the name at the exact same time as if she is
being reoriented and recalling a memory.

Somewhere in that lies the answer. It’s significant. Otherwise
the email would start off something like, “I know about Source
Code…” then go on to talk about the diverted disaster as proof.
Instead, the email goes through the first two lines of the alpha memory pattern and the suspect’s name is not mentioned. I even
froze the screen on the DVD to read the email word for word
that Steven’s sent her. Writer and director are hoping to be
clever but just leaving people confused and unsatisfied. Hate
movies like this.

chewbaca solo skywalker-leaphet

He is in two places at once and they will eventually interscet “Sequel!”The real topic is that after “Persia” I never thought I would sit through a Jake G. movie. Gave this one a shot and glad i did. The ending got some cheap shots on the redbox reviews, but i liked it.

L8r

Dino

My theory is a rather straight forward one, and is not much different from a few other ones that I read ( I did not read them all so forgive me). Colter Stevens did in fact die (as evident in Christina’s revelation to him from her web query, and Colter’s subsequent conversation with his father (who was voiced over by Scott Bakula, also with his own Quantum Leap abilities)). The last 8 minutes of his memory is kept alive and is being tapped into by the source code scientists to try and solve or prevent this terrorist bombing incident. Each time Colter leapt into this past reality he was creating a new reality or timeline. Each of these timelines ended when the bomb went off. In the last timeline (the one in which Colter finally was able to eliminate both bombing threats) we do not have the 8 minutes sequence ending explosions to worry about and as Goodwin turned off the machine there was no comatose reality for him to return to. Instead he lives on in this alternate reality or timeline as Sean Fentress. Yes, I am suggesting that there are multiple timelines going on here. A separate timeline exists with Sean, Christina, Goodwin and a comatose Colter. All other timelines ceased to exist with each explosion.

As for the email that Colter sends Goodwin. This comes to her in a reality where the source code had not been tested yet and the bombings have been averted, with a comatose Colter waiting for his first mission. Watch that part of the movie again and you will notice not only Goodwin’s surprise but her struggle to figure the message out. You will also hear the doctor concede that the will have to find another threat to test the source code out on.

Adolfo Fernandez

I am not going to read everypost and thus just going to put in my 2 cents.

The movie up until the freeze was reality as we know it. After the freeze, it is just a heaven senario being imagined in the source code or in an actual heaven or whatever and it has no berring or will make any difference to the real single universe as we know it. Very simple explanation and there is nothing to it. Poor guy got to die a hero twice.

charles

The Generals character in reality B receives the text message the morning of the train wreck. her awareness of all of the trials of going back to find the bomber has not happened yet and will not happen.. and it is confusing to her at first, but then she realizes that not only are they able to get information about a bomber using source code but that they were able to completely stop the disaster. Which is why the Dr. comments that we will have to wait for another disaster to give source code a try, when really source code already worked. the question is, is there more then one reality? or has colter now created the new reality…. get electronics for cheap at http://www.gobidorgohome.com

Rawfies

Here’s my theory and it’s not really hard to understand :

When using the machine, Steven’s mind is sent into an alternate reality (reality B), he doesn’t relive Sean last 8 minutes, he literaly takes his place (Dr. Rutledge says it himself and the fact that he does stuff outside the train proves it), but the technology that allows him to do that brings him back in the main reality (reality A) after 8 minutes, whether he dies or not. In the end, when Goodwin unplug him from the machine, he stays in reality B, because the machine doesn’t bring him back anymore (since he’s unplugged from the machine). Him staying alive in reality B wasn’t depending on him being alive in reality A, contrarily to what everyone was thinking.

TheMaster

All of you are looking way to deep into this movie. It is simple…..Colter/Sean goes through forgiveness lessons in all of those “life” reenactments. The directors needed to use a “Sci-Fi” type theme to keep our human/ego interested in watching it. They used the idea of “8 minutes” and the whole government capsule to make it appealing to us….but every time the body dies (which is meaningless by the way) the mind still keeps going. Many of you talk about conscious transfer being hard or impossible…..but, we are ALL ONE mind.
Each time Colter/Sean dies and the movie moves forward, he moves on from forgiveness to forgiveness…something as simple as someone spilling coffee, to someone trying to kill hundreds of people.
We ultimately need to forgive our “believed” separation from God (I know I used the term God, but please, this is nowhere close to a “religious theme” here, it is the truth). God was symbolized by his dad, or, his FATHER. Once he knew his dad/God was not upset with him, Colter took it as God forgiving him and Colter forgave God (in his mind).
The ending, signifies being home. Christina symbolized heaven. In order for us to be there, we must undo all the guilt we have put on ourselves (our mad idea of separating from God) and be absolutely NON DUALISTIC, like God.
Read up on “THE COURSE IN MIRACLES” to get a more deeper grasp.

JD

I”VE GOT IT! NO, REALLY! There’s no consciousness jumping or time/dimension hopping in the end, Colter dies and he goes to wherever souls go. Everything that happens after this in the command center and Chicago is artificial and continues the last “saved train” Source Code timeline that has evolved into its own complete universe. Everyone in the movie past this point including Goodwin, the doctor, and most importantly Colter/Sean, is a computer simulated avatar based on the dead/real life people they represent, just like Christina, the comedian, and the other train passengers have been during the whole movie. You’re welcome.

martimart

for me the movie should end when the time freezes..

the one after that is an alternate ending.

great job for the director!

Michael

I haven’t read all those comments (so someone could have already write this) I’ve only read the article above them, which says he can’t be at two places at once. I think he can. Because Goodwin read the massage (in a new created world as he wrote) and Stevens – Source Code wasn’t used but Stevens’ mind from different world stayed in Sean, so I guess that he could go to the base (of cource it is military and secret and he wouldn’t get in but…) and he could see his body but the mind of that body in the base = Stevens – Source Code was in capsule as Stevens – Sean’s was before. I think this is possible, maybe someone already wrote this, but there is a lot of comments that I read only like two of them.

Elaine

To be honest, your theory did make me go, “huh” a little bit, and it is probable. However, I believe that there are two realities: A + B. While everyone is dead in A, as well as Colter, Colter’s mind is in Sean’s body in B, and the ending where we see Goodwin receiving the text message is reality B as well. HOWEVER, this does not explain where Sean’s mind is, and that would mean that Colter’s mind exists in both realities – which would make sense, seeing as how each reality has each person, and Colter’s body is “dead” in either one.. BUT, if reality B is where his mind exists in Sean’s body AND in his source code dead body, then that would mean there are THREE fractions of Colter’s mind, which is even more mind-boggling than usual. It doesn’t explain why Goodwin received the text message at an unusual late time, unless the pause on the train after Colter flat-lined was some sort of rewind in time. I think that it’s not only open for interpretation, but it’s all confusing as Hell and a map of realities as well as characters would need to be drawn out.

ruby

i thought i just had a question about the ending. not logically but just physically they never show the “reboot” of goodwin’s/real world. does it just happen as she walks down the hall…seamlessly?

but in reality the whole thing is never explained.

how did they get the “memory” track of sean if he was blown to bits on the train?

if goodwin is in control of the 8 minutes – why does he bounce out before 8 minutes when he dies other than by the bomb? why does death end “the memory”.

i liked it but it 1/2 the movie was “groudhog day/replays” and half was not. if each revisit ended differently – some with bomb and some without, why would the beginning stay the same.

Cheesecake

PPS.

If anyone else was bothered by the ‘fate’ line and how on earth he could see that reflective bauble thing, my explanation is:

As his conscience was porting from the created reality forwards in time and across to the original reality, his conscience bumped into some alternate realities on the way (even if he hadn’t created them yet). The mirrored bauble thing kept appearing because it was a significant point for him in that reality.

(I should really gather all my thought’s before posting anything)

Lastly, here’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s answers to many of your questions (which I found after my first 2 posts, but nothing I said disagrees)

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1661249/jake-gyllenhaal-source-code.jhtml

Cheesecake

PS.

Christopher Campbell’s explanation makes perfect sense and has no plot-holes that I can see (unlike many published explanations of inception)

I just don’t believe in the afterlife

Cheesecake

I agree with the alternate Universe thing.

I’ve seen several movies and tv shows that theorize that you can change the past to create an alternate reality but unless that change is significant enough the reality will just merge back into the main to become one and the same. (Opposite of the butterfly effect)

That said it’s then a bit ambiguous that if the change is big enough whether the first universe then ceases to exist or the 2 universes then continue in parallel (just as I’m typing this I had the thought that maybe a big change just makes a big loop ie. they re-merge in a thousand years)

So for this movie, each time they create a new reality and he fails to save the train the new reality just merges back into the old. When he does finally save the train it’s enough to split the new reality from the original and either:
– Destroying the original timeline
– Creating a new parallel timeline
– Creating a really big loop

My only issue with this is that his conscious stays in Sean Fentress’s body. While it’s far beyond me to say that’s not how quantum leaps work (no idea what they are btw). I would have been happy for his conscious to die with his body, leaving Sean wondering how he came to be kissing Christina.

lola

i kinda get the end but at the same time i dont… so i know hes still alive waiting for the next mission but if hes with christina in sean’s body, where is seans mind at if everyone survived?

patrick padilla

SHORT AND SWEETER

He is looping time and its like he is re living that experience over and over again , the lady who commands him over the monitor (goodwin)is going to keep getting that text message over and over again forever! therefore source code will never exist colter basically stopped that invention and wont continue.
source code is its own little world that loops in time, but time still continues that is just in the past.

hey

how did stevens knew goodwin’s e-mail?

Matt

Sean’s brain has its own memories, gets taken over and just vanishes forever? This is the whole problem I had with quantum leap. I believe that science fiction should at some level be science future. Time travel movies should not go so far as to assume that we can occupy other minds. This movie does not help science fiction and will not become a classic because of its ill-fated premise….that we can occupy other minds if can time travel.

Michael Hall

I believe it’s a quantum leap thing. Others have explained it well. I just wanted to add a little something.Did anyone notice who played colter’S father? Never saw him but it was Scott bakula. A clear nod to the show quantum leap in which he starred in. May not be anything but it’s q uite a coincidence.

Closa

Some people have missed the point that in the alternate realities, Coulter has already died and can therefore occupy that reality…orrrrr…perhaps at the end, he is really inhabiting Sean’s body, while his body lies on life support at the Castle. Once they wake him for the next “First Mission”, his “soul” leaves Sean and returns to his body at the Castle…

Jeremy Olken

Ok so i never really post on these things because i never feel like i have a complete grasp on what goes on in these movies but i feel like my interpretation of this ending makes complete sense. Captain Stevens, on his last mission, sends an email to Goodwin, now that email would not be able to cross through an alternate universe as seen by the phone call that he tried to make to her earlier in the movie. In the real world Captain Stevens went into the source code, found the bomber, and then saved Chicago. When he goes back into source code one more time he saves the train from exploding, and then lives in that universe, when Goodwin reads his email, she is also in that universe, Captain Stevens however is still living as Sean Fentress and if he wanted to would be able to visit the lab and see the dead body of Captain Stevens waiting to be sent on his mission.

If you really want to blow your mind more… imagine Sean Fentress talking to Captain Stevens as he is about to go into a Source Code mission…

Real World: train blows up, bomber found, crisis averted, Captain stevens is taken off life support

Source Code world: Captain stevens lives as Sean Fentress with Christina and there is a dead captain stevens waiting to be sent on a source code mission

PLEASE GIVE ME FEEDBACK

mattsquatch

It’s not that complicated, but I’ll try to overcomplicate it here. This is, without question, the meaning of the ending (though left vague enough to elicit tons of vague interpretations, the film constantly points to an ACTUAL CONCLUSION). To get this, there are only two points to understand:

1. The world that Stevens enters during his missions is clearly a computer simulation, made clear by the “glitching” that took place in Christina’s face, as well as other obvious evidence from dialogue and visuals.

2. But because of the text message sent to Goodwyn at the end of the film, the simulation has tapped into/created its own tangential universe in which the bombing has never happened.

….

Okay, so here it is:
ALL of reality is a simulation.

The big idea hidden in the back of the film is called the “Simulation Hypothesis” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis) and different elements of the film address this head-on. Most obvious is probably the “Allegory of the Cave”-like unraveling of what’s real to Stevens.

We learn 1st that the train is real, but then that it is not. Next, we learn that the cockpit is real, but then, it too, is an illusion. How about the highest level? The REAL “real” real world?

Nope. Because we know that the Source Code simulation program results in objective realities (TEXT MESSAGE ENDING), we can deduce that objective realities are the RESULT OF simulation programs.

There are more reasons, but I’m rambling already, so, just think about the title for a second. Source Code. Defined as the programmable version of a code used to tinker with a program. This implies that the simulation’s creators are not creators at all, but discoverers, tinkering with the very Source Code of reality and creating actual quantum tangents. (The movie references a little bit of M-theory stuff too, but since it’s all subsidiary to the simulation-thing, i’ll let it go)

And yes, the ending is totally Quantum Leap, except there’s still another Stevens in a box in that reality.

P.S. The biggest complaint of the film is that the Source Code technology is too advanced for the people in the film to have made it. That was intentional. The people in the film don’t understand the Source Code at all. But maybe Goodwyn’s got a good idea now.

Daniel

ok this was a great movie. From what i understood every time Sean entered the source code he created a new parallel universe where the consciousness could actually inhabit until he will eventually die.

dhruv mahajan

cant wait have to tell you now. the orb kept on appearing in his dreams when he went back to the station. also when he did not die the woman’s face glitched indicating that this was a program but nothing else. but the fact that he could change whatever was happening to him indicates that it was not just a program but something more and better than goodwin expected as read in the mail.
read my earlier post to make sense of what i said now and add to it what the scientist said and you will get the meaning.

if still in doubt mail me at dhruvmahajan90@yahoo.com.au

dhruv mahajan

ok first of all it is a paradox that the film revolves around. a paradox is something that you change in the past but it results to be unchangeble because if you stop that thing from happening you cant go into the future. in the movie………..

for full info mail me at dhruvmahajan90@yahoo.com.au
i will be waiting.

Enycity

Ive read most of these comments, but has anyone talked about the part when Colter is told that he is actually dead in “the real world” by Christina on the second level of the train. He looks at Christina and her face seems to “glitch”, at which point he wakes up at the “castle” without being killed in the source code. I agree with most of the comments on the alternate/parellel realities, but i still think that this part means something, i just cant figure it out and ive had a headache ever since. Still a great movie though. Thanks

Karl

Excellently explained by Dave. To make it easier for those to find I will post it again.

What happens is: When Colter gets sent into the Source Code, it is not just a “memory” of 8 minutes, but rather it is a new reality for his consciousness to inhabit. He does not leave that consciousness until it is terminated. This is proven each time he dies on the train, but also further when he does NOT die on the train, and lives past the explosions, but then returns after being hit by the train on the tracks, or shot outside the van.

Because your consciousness can only inhabit one reality at a time, which Colter have evidently figured out, he asks Goodwin to terminate him in the original reality the moment the last Source Code’s 8 minutes is up, and because the bomb did not go off, and he did not die by any means in that reality, but is now officially dead and terminated in the original reality, he will forever inhabit his new reality with Christina.

The email at the end is in his new reality with Christina. The tricky part is if he then wakes up somehow when he is sent on another “mission” via Source Code, thus inhabiting a new consciousness again but… I do not think this would be the case, as in this new reality being with Christina, his consciousness lies within Sean’s body, and not in his mangled body at the lab.

Complements to Dave.

Tinu

Just saw it on Amazon Instant. Your interpretation makes the most sense to me.

Patrick

Clarrification*…. Simple. The Jake Gyllenhal character is simply living out his life in the new separate reality independent of whether his body is alive/dead in the Original Reality 1. If they retain him on life support in the Original Reality 1, he will reappear in Original Reality 1 (((*in the capsule his character has inhabited while communicating with Goodwin))) when he dies in Reality 2. If he is taken off life support in Original Reality 1, he will continue to live in Reality 2 until he dies, at that point he will die for good.

Patrick

Simple. The Jake Gyllenhal character is simply living out his life in the new separate reality independent of whether his body is alive/dead in the Original Reality 1. If they retain him on life support in the Original Reality 1, he will reappear in Original Reality 1 when he dies in Reality 2. If he is taken off life support in Original Reality 1, he will continue to live in Reality 2 until he dies, at that point he will die for good.

Jerry

I just saw this movie and i am still amazed at the ending. I am not so confused as to what happened but can not totally fathom the genuineness of the movie in its self.
That being said I am going to give my thought on what went down. I believe that all of the previous times he died during the mission he was brought back to his coma because he was hooked on the machine. Therefore when his 8 minutes expire and Goodwin takes him off the machine time freezes because that train scene becomes reality and Colter now becomes Sean and goes on to live his life with Christina and do all of the things he wished he could have done differently. Although Colter becomes Sean he still has the same thought and is present so not to confuse anyone thinking that I was saying hes still strapped in the coma.( THIS MIGHT BE CONFUSING) As for the email to Goodwin she knows in advance that the train was stopped and eventually they will test source code on Coulter (who only has the memory of his life and nothing with the other Coulter who is now Sean) She also knows that the source code is more powerful than expected. To help make this less confusing lets say they eventually use the source code on Coulter he will ultimately find the solution for the problem and talk Goodwin into staying behind and the pattern will keep on happening. How I know this is that Goodwin had already received the email so when Coulter asks to stay behind she was hesitant and was not sure if the message was accurate. But gets talked into into it. So I basically believe that this was not the first and last time Coulter stayed behind on a mission and sent out the e male. I believe that it will keep on repeating too. My reason for this thought is that Goodwin says to him dont worry everything is fine hence she already dealt with that and believe it will keep on happening.

kendrick

My point of view is that…….in the end baisically sean went into the eight minute program one last time,only to capture the bomber and save the people and to be with christina because it will impact on the life after termination. On his completion of his mission sean tells goodwin that there is a way to save her (christina) but goodwin says that it is impossible because the eight minutes of the mission where recorded from colt’s brain and that sean was just venturing in that recrorded peice in his own mind to find the bomber to prevent the next attack……almost if saying that christiana is just a recorded memory of colt’s last minutes and that she is dead…but sean enters agin to be with her forever… as long as if he is still in the program’s capsule

surya

The movie and the ending are pretty simple enough for me. the source Code is a way of time travel ( though wrongly acknowledged by Dr,Rutledge as mere time re-assignment ). The proof is Dr.Rutledge accepts that he was paged early in the morning just before the bomb exploded, but, dismisses it to be done by Capt. Colter Stevens while inside the source code. Hence its not just a parallel or an alternate reality but a ‘New Reality’ created by altering a very important link in the chain of past events which if allowed to continue as they were would eventually lead to the narrative reality. That link here is averting the explosion. Or atleast this is the ending with which i could sleep with peace after watching the movie,- “The entire present can be changed by alterinng the past”

P.S: I am a fan of both Jake Gyllenhal and Michelle Monaghan. This is a very much awaited movie of mine and
I love it.

JSMNEO

Dave has the best and most accurate explanation. if Mr. Jones would explain the ending of his own movie, it would be pretty much the same with Dave’s.

Cheers!

Charles

I really enjoyed this movie; it is a hell of a movie Mr.Jones…..
This is my interpretation of the movie,
1) ok! first things first, the source code indeed creates alternate realities/parallel universe…….here is the proof, in the scene where Stevens finds the bomber and get shot, the time duration inside the source code exceeds 8 minutes, 8.34 minutes to be precise, this is a clear indication that source code indeed creates alternate reality……..now if u think it is a major plot hole coz Goodwin and Rutledge should have known if he is more than 8 minutes in source code. But in other sense, they both deliberately misinformed Stevens that it is only valid for 8 minutes to prevent Stevens from doing anything irrelevant to the mission. This proves that the only way Stevens will come back to the castle is that he have to die..
2) At the end, when the scene is frozen, it is a psychological thing. Stevens think the source code will exists only 8 minutes, the frozen scene was just a manifestation of Stevens just like being in a capsule. But Stevens didn’t experience the same when he get shot which is clearly exceeds 8 minutes, this is coz his concentration was completely on finding the bomber and he didn’t notice the time, hence it is purely psychological.
3) As for the ending is concerned, it is not a paradox, Stevens caught the bomber, make everyone happy in the train, saved the explosions, lived happily ever after(sort of). Stevens lives in Sean’s body with his consciousness and also he is also awaiting his first source code mission in beleaguered castle. Yes, Stevens living with two consciousness in the same world just like back to the future movie.
4) In the meantime, they have created several parallel universe in which every time thousands of people died coz of train and Chicago explosions, except for the last time. The worst part is, in every parallel universe created, Stevens will be send in the source code to create several parallel universe again……….

Dave

The last few comments have nailed it on the head I think.

What happens is: When Colter gets sent into the Source Code, it is not just a “memory” of 8 minutes, but rather it is a new reality for his consciousness to inhabit. He does not leave that consciousness until it is terminated. This is proven each time he dies on the train, but also further when he does NOT die on the train, and lives past the explosions, but then returns after being hit by the train on the tracks, or shot outside the van.

Because your consciousness can only inhabit one reality at a time, which Colter have evidently figured out, he asks Goodwin to terminate him in the original reality the moment the last Source Code’s 8 minutes is up, and because the bomb did not go off, and he did not die by any means in that reality, but is now officially dead and terminated in the original reality, he will forever inhabit his new reality with Christina.

The email at the end is in his new reality with Christina. The tricky part is if he then wakes up somehow when he is sent on another “mission” via Source Code, thus inhabiting a new consciousness again but… I do not think this would be the case, as in this new reality being with Christina, his consciousness lies within Sean’s body, and not in his mangled body at the lab.

/rant.

JSMNEO

there is no theories here, once you read captan colt’s email over and over, you’ll get it and it’s pretty straight.

the real universe ended when Goodwin plugged off Captain Colt’s life support. everything that goes beyond that scene is the second universe that source code created when Goodwin sent Colt to his final 8 minutes.

JSMNEO

Goodwin received the email because they are both in the new universe that source code created. try to repeat the email, it explains it all!

Dethstarr

My theory: (I believe the movie actually explains and proves the afterlife/heaven theory)

The reason why alot of people are having a hard time understanding Source Code is because there trying to analyze it from the wrong perspective.

1.Stevens is NOT in the body of Sean. Steven is in his own body

2.Sean and the whole situation regarding the bomb is NOT REAL…It is a virtual world that has been created around Stevens conscious and/or the little 8 minute gap within Steven’s mind and here why:

A.Lets say that the whole situation about Sean and the bomb was real..then how the hell did they get a hold of Sean’s consciousness if he blew up with the bomb??

B. Lets say for some reason if was still possible for them to recover Sean consciousness after all, it still doesn’t make sense because Sean had no way of knowing who the bomber was. On top of that, Stevens could only experience those 8 seconds from the perspective of Sean and clearly that didn’t happen because every time Stevens died, he created a new realities of himself within one whole reality based on his individual choices. with leads me to my conclusion..

That the world Stevens is experiencing is NOT the TRUE reality.Its actually a whole new reality( world) created by he help of Stevens consciousness and the Source Code.That is why at the end, Stevens says:

”If you’re reading this email, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. He thought you were creating eight minutes of a past event. But you’re not. You have created a whole new world”

This also explains in one way why Stevens sees the face of Sean from the start because his reality, the projections and they way he experiences is all controlled to a certain degree. If they created all whole new reality for him then its highly possible that they can also control his SENSES within that reality aswell.Particularly his SIGHT.

Now for me to further explain all this I have to go back for a moment and give you my definition of what consciousness is as simply as i can and here it goes as follows:

1.Its an entity or something that’s its aware of itself and knows its living

2.Not only is it aware of itself, but also knows that its separate and different from everything else.

Now where I’m trying to go with this is that the whole situation about the bomb/saving the world/Sean is all primarily based on those two principles.It was created to help Sean achieve consciousness within the world they have created for him. The reason why I make this conclusion is as follows:

Let’s say that that they were to create a world based on Sean’s own memories and not the one mentioned in the movie, there will be a high probability that the project/mission would be a FAILURE because what will happen is similar to what happen to Cobb’s wife in Inception. At some point within the reality, Stevens would have a hard time distinguishing whats REAL and what’s not.Over time he would probably start to believe that the things that are happening really is happening and the LINE between whats REAL and whats FAKE starts to become blurred.

The situation about saving the world/bomb/Sean is just a clever way of trying to ”wake up” Stevens you could say within the reality they created for him. Its primary purpose was as follows..

1”Wake him up”
2.Give him a catalyst for him to continue with the ”mission”

Remember guys that if anyone wanted to go back in time and change ”a past event” they have to be aware of the fact that’s whats happening in going on in another SPACE and TIME and is not really ”REAL” you could say

Another question alot of people might have as well is ”How is it possible for Stevens to find out who the bomber was”?

That answer to that question is that I believe at the of day…not only do we have the ability to CREATE are own realities based on our individual actions but at the same time everybody else REALITY is also being shared with mines and vice versa for example…

My reality(that one i am creating and projecting) + Everyone else reality = 1 Whole new reality combined

This also explain how it was possible for Stevens to send the email/message to Goodwin because somewhere inside the world they created for him, there is a moment in SPACE and TIME in which both REALITIES (meaning the virtual and real) are connected and could influence each other. If that wasn’t the case then there would be no possible way for Stevens to get in contact with the REAL world.

So in other words the reason why Stevens was able to locate the bomb and stop it its because he had the help of everyone else’s perspective in that situation plus his own.

What people get confused is that Stevens is not creating different alternate realities separate from each other, he is creating different alternate realities within ONE WHOLE reality based on Stevens individual choices

Krisco

I watched the movie and I want another part because I want to see how it will goes and maybe it will reveal our predictions on what would happen next, because when the 8 min pass and he was going on I ask my self how much further?
Maybe after going to sleep he will woke up in the same train again and do the same scenario repeatetly on and on and on.
And all that in the same day.. I think that he is traped inside that day I can’t remember if there was a specific date, but you know whats my point.
He may send emails to Goodwin every day… but the real deal is when Goodwin will try to do something with it, and thats when they will twist the truth :)

Wes999

I find it hard to believe that Colter only “discovered” his true purpose after 2 months of doing exactly the same thing in his “previous missions”.

I suspect that he has already found himself many times and now populates many other universes. Some that he accidentally started in and others where he “escaped” into.

His parting comment to Goodwin to tell the newset Colter that “everything will be all right” is what he was told at the beginning of the show.

Notice how Goodwin was intrigued by Colter’s apparent helplessness. She knew something before the latest mission. She was told by another Colter to say that “everything will be all right”. She understood, at the end, what she HAD to do.

I suspect that the movie has every chance of spawning numerous sequels and prequels. And the comments about Zen by Hannah …………….

this might be a modern-day tale of a Bodhisattva, one who follows a Zen path, (Zen is referenced on the train) finds enlightenment, and is, therefore, entitled to get off the ‘train,’ wheel of samsara, cycle of birth, suffering, death, and re-birth, but who elects to return, repeatedly, to liberate others from their suffering, which is due to their buying into an illusory perception of reality. (The pixilation of Christina’s body is an acknowledgment that her form, in the Buddhist sense, is not real. In fact, a Buddhist might say that all of our physical life on earth is nothing but a simulation.)

When the movie concludes, everyone on the train has been liberated from their suffering; and Captain Colter Stevens and Christina are looking into the “Cloud Gate” sculpture and recognizing that the reality we commonly accept is a distortion. Yet Stevens says, mindfully, ‘Let’s wait here awhile It seems like the right place to be’ ………..

are especially relevant. The story is well crafted (albeit, it is science fiction) and after one accepts the reality of the project, it then tries to unlock the paradox of alternate universes and co-existence.

Note that the physical bodies do not move, but it is the thought process (Colter affects only Sean) that is modified in every alternative universe. The chain reaction then alters the new alternate universe.

Colter is a very luck guy to “know” that he is in another universe after “dying” in a previous universe. He has cheated nature and can live forever if the author permits.

Now, that would make a great sequel. Or is that what is being planned …. oooooops .. sorry for that. I will now go and find a hole in another universe to hide in for that revelation ….. byyyyyyyyyyyy ee

DaBender

@ RJ-” Oh and P.S., in what parallel universe is this movie better than “Inception”? Are you kidding me? Everything in Inception is carefully crafted. Unlike here” .By RJ on May 17, 2011

” It’s interesting to me that the author says that the original ending has a lot of “loose threads” and that he wanted to clarify them. He didn’t. His own explanations don’t make sense within the universe of the movie. That ending is lazy and not well developed. I think the best explanation I’ve read is the one about the 8 minutes (someone post it above) and how the mind works for 8 minutes afterward. However, the problem here is the text message. That’s when things get screwy. We’re introducing “time travel” and “body leaping” into a movie that’s not supposed to be about that. It’s a lazy ending.” By RJ on May 17, 2011

I feel that both movies are very well crafted – who said Source Code wasn’t about time travel or body leaping?- i felt that was always a possible direction for the film to go from the beginning. I feel its far from lazy. It opens more questions then inception in the fact its dealing in the physical realm. Although Inception did in a way by saying “this is what will happen in the physical realm if such and such happens in the subconscious.

Being based in the subconscious Inception had a lot of liberties, not available to the concepts brought forward in Source Code.

I thoroughly enjoyed both films :)

DaBender

Just noticed some questions raised in a couple of comments before mine –

@Butch – Can any one explain how they where able to use a donor, hope your getting me.

I gather you mean Sean, the guy who died in the timeline where the explosion happened. My theory based on the part of the movie where the scientist dude explains the source code is based on a part of the brain that records the last 8 minutes of you life before committing or downloading it to deeper storage

I guess, according to the theory behind this movie, in death this information isn’t transferred, so remains in that storage compartment – they obviously found Seans head after the explosion or at least part of it that had that storage compartment part of the brain still intact – memory in the brain is chemical so it is feasible (very very long bow but feasible) that if the brain part was still fresh enough (and that decomposition hadn’t destroyed this chemical section) and they had the tech to “download” the information into a program construct then they could access this memory.

Again according to the theory behind this movie, the creation of this science involved such complex quantum physics and the fact that only only a virtually dead person could access it, opened a gateway to alternative timelines.

There I hope that kinda makes sence lol – to me even O.o

Dabender

I knew this ending would prompt a lot of thought as soon as I saw it. Heres some of my thoughts on it – taking into account some of the discussions raised here as well.

If “the event” never happened Coulter could not have sent that text message from within “the event” to Goodwin – the phone text proves that the event happened and this ending is now a new timeline where the event didn’t because of it happening on the alternative timeline that the source code was communicating with.

This being so (my theory) is now, in this new timeline, both Coulter and Sean inhabit the same body – Coulter is just the dominant consciousnesses and will remain active and dominant whilst his body is still plugged into the source code or “TAD AH” He gets activated for the next source code mission – because in this timeline his body isn’t terminated back at source code HQ and is still awaiting mission one whilst being linked to Sean’s body in this new timeline. This is why Goodwin didn’t say to him “not to worry everything will be fine” at the start of the first mission because in this timeline (and because of the alternate timeline) that first mission hasn’t happened yet.

So you could say he is kinda in two places at once but only one conscious is active not two and that one is linked in Sean’s at that moment not Coulter’s body – he could go visit his body and Goodwin in this timeline and still not create a paradox because its a quantum link but now its in “real-time” on the new timeline.

Next theory – what happens if he gets unplugged or starts a new mission?
1) Sean wakes up from a coma like state – either remembering everything as a passenger to Coulter controlling his body (which ends him up in a padded cell lol) or nothing at all and he is like WTF and goes oh well I bagged a babe in my sleep – what a time to wake up!! :)
2)Coulter wakes up in the bloody capsule going bugger “I was just about to finish having ….mannn ya coulda waited another 30 seconds!!”

lol

saijai

From the very start there has always been two subconscious Colters floating around, one in Steven’s body and one in the Lab. As soon as Colter source codes into an alternative reality, into Steven’s body, at that same moment his other self will momentarily be lying in the lab as well within the new reality. So for the whole movie to work from the start, we must accept there maybe two Colters in one particular reality. One which is of the present (original) and one which traveled from a parallel reality.

butch O'

All imo that’s happening at the end is us the viewers are been giving the visual of the other reality i.e the one that’s the simulation & which he’s been traveling to for the 8 minute’s.

Where as before we could only hear I.e audio e.g him talking to his dad in this simulation but yet it’s still a only a sim. At the end it’s still the sim where that woman controller gets the email on phone is not actually happening in the life where the command’s where coming from.

So did he leap into a new world ? Going on the story i’d say yes even, Remember back to when he first got off the train & although it exploded he was only sent back after the train knocked on his forehead ouch, So it’s irrelevant weather or not he’s unplugd in order for him to make a new reality He only has to step outside the parameters of where his donor’s consciousness case was allocated for some reason.

Can any one explain how they where able to use a donor, hope your getting me. If i get an answer then i’ll bother watch the sequel which is set in place kinda!
Movie was indeed A-class

Steve

YOU ALL SHOULD LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I AM THE SMARTEST….. GEEK.

I don’t think it is to be interpreted as post death consciousness/ afterlife.

The source code machine not just able to connect with the brain wave of dead people in the past, but actually it transfer the consciousness of the Captain into the past (in Sean’s body).

So Captain has altered the future by preventing the bombing PLUS his consciousness is now in Sean’s body. So the time travel of consciousness means in the “present” Captain’s consciousness is now in Sean and the half body in life support.

So what about Sean’s consciousness? Sean is already dead in the first universe. His consciousness will remained gone because if not, Captain won’t be able to connect into his pre-death 8 minutes and won’t be able to change the timeline.

This bullshit machine is more acceptable than inception’s dream machine.
Jake has mastered the wtf is going on look in time travel movies. Awesome!

Jon

Ok short and sweet.
My final conclusion is that colter is living inside of seans body in this new reality. The only problem with that is we are not given all the problems to this equation. First of all when colters consicious is sent into this past tense memory. Does it exist in seans living body? Probably not since it was blown up in the train bomb. So my question is how does his concious get sent into seans memory? Once you answer that, then does this alternate reality only live on as long as seans concious exist?

Mick

I Think the movie is more like Tron in some way, his mind is connected to a Source Code of the world, after he dies in the real world he continues to live inside the Source Code ( trapped, like Tron).
You can also hear it from him saying, the “Source Code is bigger then you think” meaning it will continue to live after 8 minutes.

But at the same time what happened to the life of the School Teacher, now that the captain is in his place.

At least that is my idea,

Mick

RJ

Oh and P.S., in what parallel universe is this movie better than “Inception”? Are you kidding me? Everything in Inception is carefully crafted. Unlike here.

RJ

It’s interesting to me that the author says that the original ending has a lot of “loose threads” and that he wanted to clarify them. He didn’t. His own explanations don’t make sense within the universe of the movie. That ending is lazy and not well developed. I think the best explanation I’ve read is the one about the 8 minutes (someone post it above) and how the mind works for 8 minutes afterward. However, the problem here is the text message. That’s when things get screwy. We’re introducing “time travel” and “body leaping” into a movie that’s not supposed to be about that. It’s a lazy ending.

Zjp

My simple ending interpretation:

In the real reality colter has helped them save downtown chicago blah blah, he asks goodwin to send him back in one more time into that reality his conscious consumes, because he saves sean and everyone in that reality, he stays alive in that reality. In the real reality his life support is unplugged and he dies in that reality. The reason he sends an email, is because in the new reality that he saved the ppl on the train, he knows that goodwin is going to not need to have to use colter to save the train in this new reality so basically he’s just being nice to colter in the future reality where they will have to use him, telling her to tell colter that everything will be fine, leading to him to also being able to live out in a different reality that he can save and therefore live in that reality as well. He’s just looking out for his future consciences to be happy in their future realties instead of being wiped through source code.

Sandesh_S

Interview with director Duncan Jones

Can you talk a little bit about the original ending and the tweaks that you made to it?

JONES: Sure, it had a very sweet romantic ending originally, which is in the film, but for me it felt there was too many questions left hanging. I mean, without giving away too much, Colter is successful on the mission that he’s been sent on, he’s with the girl, the end. And I was like, yeah, but I’m a sci-fi geek and I’m thinking yeah, but what does that mean? What’s going on here? And so, with the idea… Again, this is all sort of spoiler country, it’s difficult to – well it’s going to be difficult for you guys not for me, I can tell you!

Has anybody not seen the movie?

JONES: Oh yeah! Has anyone not seen it? Good ok. You know, he completes his mission, he stopped the bomb from going off on the train. He’s in this parallel reality, which is how he’s able to do this and why he’s not locked in to the routine of Sean Fentress’s last eight minutes, so he’s stopped the bomb on the train. He sends a message to Goodwin saying, “look, if I’m right, and I’m now in a parallel reality, then back at your facility there exists a me who has not yet been sent on a mission, so help him, because that life that I’m leading is unliveable.” So that’s really a loose thread that I felt we needed to deal with. And then there’s the other one as to what happened to poor Sean Fentress now that… Well that’s more of an ethical issue and I think that really would come and sour the whole piece if I were to say, and by the way, by making this decision Colter has killed Sean Fentress. But you know, that’s the nature of the script.

JONES: The final one is kind of the easiest one because by that time he really knows what he needs to do and the question just becomes, well, in his mind, in Colter’s mind, he’s going to get everything right, he’s going to save all the passengers on this train and then he’s going to die, and that’s going to be the end of things. So for him it’s very clear what his goal is. He’s going to save those people on the train and make that ultimate soldier sacrifice. Obviously things don’t turn out that way because the nature of the Source Code [laughs] is that he’s now in this parallel reality which actually allows him to go on living having killed Sean Fentress, and live out his life in the body of a school teacher who obviously has a relationship with Michelle Monaghan or Christina. [pause] That stumped you didn’t it!

Stella

well, one thing is certain..the movie is mind buggling..
here’s my interpretation of the movie:

@ the ending- am pretty sure that bombing 1 really happened and all those people in the train died. Stevens was successful in identifying the bomber and that helped the real world prevented the supposed second bombing. After his mission, he asked Goodwin to send him back to that last 8 minutes of Sean’s consiousness and asked Goodwin to pull the plug and let him die. But why? I think he believes that he can create a alternate world of his own, that his mind can alter what happened to Christina and the people who died in the first bombing. But in reality that is not the case. He died when Goodwin pulls the plug and that ending in the end where it continues after that freezing, it was his 8 minute of consiousness after he died. Remember in the middle of the movie, it was mentioned that when a person dies, its consiousness continuous until 8 minutes. And the text message? Lets just assume that it was a dream…his subconsious mind continues after the 8 minutes conscious mind( after he died). He is now dreaming and will never be awaken..

JQP

The movie-makers have said they intended us to believe Colter takes over Sean?s body, and I realize that this is the prevailing opinion of those of us that saw (an liked) this movie.

Maybe I?m living in an alternate reality, but in my view, SEAN FENTRESS IS NOT DEAD at all. He can?t possibly be, or Colter?s only mostly-dead body is left without a singular un-shared consciousness, which doesn?t make sense.

Either A) Sean?s consciousness ?leaps? into Colter?s mostly-dead body OR B) The assumption that Colter?s mind takes over Sean?s body is simply wrong, and in the new created reality, both are still in their own bodies.

A. SEAN?S MIND IS NOW IN COLTER?S LIFELESS BODY

Colter is a walking fraud, struggling to discover all of Sean?s personal information, like where he lives, who his family is, his ATM code, etc. But meanwhile, Sean lives on too. The next time the military tests or uses sourcecode, Sean?s mind will wake up in a helicopter (or his own manifestation, maybe an empty classroom?) and be very confused about his identity. He didn?t agree to this. He is a teacher, and he was just on a train. But Goodwin is going to help him out. ?Everything?s going to be okay? she tells him, just as an email asked her to. She rebuilds the pattern, and tells him he is dead?he died in a terrorist attack that never happened except in an alternate reality?but part of is mind lives on. He can help his country by participating in this military project called ?Source Code?. (Sound familiar?)

OR?

B. SEAN IS BACK IN HIS OWN BODY

This is the version I like. As anyone who watched Quantum Leap knows, when Sam leaps into someone else?s body, the person he jumps into teleports to the future and hangs out in a white room. When the episode is over, they leap back into their own body, where their real brain has real memories of what their real body was doing during that time. They may have a faint notion of being in a far away place sipping cappuccino and chatting with people named Al and Ziggy, but they have to assume it was just a dream or ? something. So, life goes on for them, even if they can?t quite remember why they did and said some of the things they did. But they remember doing them, and, usually, they?re better off for it.

After that magical freeze-frame when the countdown hits 0:00 and life continues on in a new reality, SEAN is 100% back in his own body, finding himself mid-kiss. He thinks everything?s going to be okay (and it is), because his mind was in a very weird place for the last 8 minutes, but he also remembers handcuffing someone, talking to someone else?s dad, and kissing the girl of his dreams (?again?; wait, I have a memory of kissing her once before, and of NEEDING to talk to that guy?s dad even though I was never in the military; it?s foggy, but I think I saved the day, and I?m kissing this girl I?ve had a crush on for months, and I can?t help escaping the idea that every is happening according to fate). He doesn?t know exactly why he did those things, but he does know his past, his family, his history with Christina, his PINumber, and all of the things that a pure Colter-mind couldn?t possibly know.

Colter?s mind, of course, is back in his own real half-dead body, and has no memory of any of this. He?s never been on a train to Chicago. But this nice lady he works with tells him ?everything?s going to be okay?, that he has already been a hero today in a different reality, and that she?s got a plan to help him by either letting him die with honor, or maybe sending him back to his own past, just before his fatal helicopter mission. Hey, maybe he can prevent that too!?!

This is the version of events that I like, and there are a couple of clues in the movie that support this idea. First off, on the walk to Cloud Gate (the big silver ball thingy) Sean talks with Christina about things that happened long before today?s train ride, including knowing people?s names, etc. Clearly things Colter doesn?t and can?t know. And I don?t know if anyone else noticed (I noticed it the third time I saw it), but in the last scene of the two of them, when they?re looking into the Cloud Gate, not only do we SEE Sean?s face reflected, but we HEAR Sean?s voice. Or at least, it?s not Colter?s voice; it?s another voice we?ve never heard before. Obviously this is the voice Christina has actually been hearing the whole time. So maybe the filmmakers just wanted us to get the idea that yes, Colter is controlling Sean?s body now. But maybe, it was to tell us that this is pure SEAN, inside and out.

So, in my view, Colter is NOT a bastard. He:
1) got an actual bastard arrested
2) saved lots of lives
3) sparked love with a shy teacher and girl who already loved him
4) helped a grieving father
5) made people laugh
6) restarted a comedian?s second chance at a career
7) tipped the balance of power in a fledgling military program to someone who actually has a soul.

What a douche.
-JQP

Sandesh_S

plz ignore the below post.

I have read most of the above interpretations . I am sorry to disappoint few , this is my interpretation and i bet this is the real one . I analysed the whole story from audience perspective and directors perspective .

Source code is a program which is capable of using a corpse last eight minute memory to create a new world of events starting from the first minute of that 8 minutes. And it is also capable of sending a persons conscious into that parallel world to occupy the corpse body. In classic time travel theory there is something which no one was never able to explain . That is if a person is travelling in time backwards then its like a same mass occupying two different space and that is a paradox. But that doesnt happen in this film . Here the persons body is not travelling back in time .Its just his conscious that is being dragged to occupy seans body in the train in the parallel world which the source code created . So people can ask what will happen to seans conscious , my answer is its completely suppressed or replaced by the source code with stevens conscious. As many other people interpreted that everything happens inside stevens mind , that is wrong . Everything happens in real parallel world created by source code .

Now everytime goodwin uses sourcecode to send stevens conscious to seans body a new parallel world is created . Since stevens is the one who is in source code and he can feel it as real . But since he dies everytime either by bomb or train or bullet he is not sure that it can exist even beyond eight minutes.

Lets not forget that everytime goodwin uses source code to send stevens conscious to occupy seans body in a new world there is a real stevens(with diff conscious) in that world lying in that lab near goodwin who will be used after few hours to send back to seans body using source code unless the sean(steven from world1) was able to prevent the first explosion.And in the ending , in the last world which was created , first explosion didnt happen so they didnt have to send stevens conscious in that world back to a diff new world . And sean in the last world ends up having stevens conscious because of source code (this is stevens conscious from the world 1 , not his conscious in the last world.)

After steven has saved world1 from second explosion he believes so much in source code and he wants to save christina and wants a new world with her(maybe he was experimenting and was not sure abt it , but it worked) and there is no way he can convey what he is experiencing after the eight minutes to world 1 , but he can convey this to goodwin in the new world and he emails her and goodwin in that new world receives it .

Since steven and seans face are different and what director is showing is stevens perspective of things( stevens in seans body feels that its he himself ), so they have used stevens face to show sean , but actually the face is different , otherwise chrstina and all others could not have identified him as sean. And that is seans face they are shwing in the large mirror in the end.And that is the face all others are seeing including christina.

Sandesh S

I have read most of the above interpretations . I am sorry to disappoint few , this is my interpretation and i bet this is the real one . I analysed the whole story from audience perspective and directors perspective .

Source code is a program which is capable of using a corpse last eight minute memory to create a new world of events starting from the first minute of that 8 minutes. And it is also capable of sending a persons conscious into that parallel world to occupy the corpse body. In classic time travel theory there is something which no one was never able to explain . That is if a person is travelling in time backwards then its like a same mass occupying two different space and that is a paradox. But that doesnt happen in this film . Here the persons body is not travelling back in time .Its just his conscious that is being dragged to occupy seans body in the train in the parallel world which the source code created . So people can ask what will happen to seans conscious , my answer is its completely suppressed or replaced by the source code with stevens conscious. As many other people interpreted that everything happens inside stevens mind , that is wrong . Everything happens in real parallel world created by source code .

Now everytime goodwin uses sourcecode to send stevens conscious to seans body a new parallel world is created . Since stevens is the one who is in source code and he can feel it as real . But since he dies everytime either by bomb or train or bullet he cannot come back to world 1 and tell goodwin that it can exist even beyond eight minutes.

Lets not forget that everytime goodwin uses source code to send stevens conscious to occupy seans body in a new world there is a real stevens(with diff conscious) in that world lying in that lab near goodwin who will be used after few hours to send back to seans body using source code unless the sean(steven from world1) was able to prevent the first explosion.And in the ending , in the last world which was created , first explosion didnt happen so they didnt have to send stevens conscious in that world back to a diff new world . And sean in the last world ends up having stevens conscious (this is stevens conscious from the world 1 , not his conscious in the last world.)

Since steven and seans face are different and what director is showing is stevens perspective of things( stevens in seans body feels that its he himself ), so they have used stevens face to show sean , but actually the face is different , otherwise chrstina and all others could not have identified him as sean. And that is seans face they are shwing in that large mirror in the end.And that is the face all others are seeing including christina.

Chirurgie

Good movie and leaves a lot of food for thought if you care to analyse it. Here’s my 2 pence:

At beginning of movie, in this ‘reality 1’ we see Colter 1 (as I will call him) being ‘activated’ for the first time and used to investigate the train crash. Goodwin 1 tells him at some point, ‘everything will be ok’.

When he is on the train, he becomes Colter 2 in reality 2 (ie one in which he is in Sean’s body). Of course he repeats this for (I think 7 times but exact number is uncertain) creating realities for Colter X in reality X.

It is important to note that Colter does not automatically return to the Source Code after 8 minutes. He manages to stay longer when he chased after motion sickness guy and only returns when he dies (run over by the train). Ditto later when he (and Christina) dies by being shot by the terrorist. In rest of realities, he dies at minutes because the bomb on the train kills him.

Each time he dies, his mind returns to reality 1. By end of movie, because he saves the train, Colter Z stays on in this ‘new’ reality Z. Naturally, despite his empty body being terminated back in reality 1, it does not affect reality Z. Should Colter Z die however, he will be dead, ie not returned to Colter 1 (which no longer lives).

So at end of the movie, we see Goodwin Z looking at Colter Z+1’s body, which has yet to be activated in reality Z.

What is the real kicker is that, Colter Z emails Goodwin Z to tell Colter Z+1 in future that ‘everything will be ok’ allowing Colter Z+1 to go try avert whatever disaster he may be asked to do so and then form his own reality Z+1. Remember Goodwin 1 says same to Colter 1? That’s coz reality 1 is NOT the first reality but one that existed after a previous Colter 0 has saved reality 0 and stayed behind in his ‘newly created reality 1’ and presumably told Goodwin 1 the same thing to tell Colter 1

Starfish

My interpretation.

In reality, the train bomb exploded, and the guy was caught driving in his van, stopping the bigger explosion going off in Chicago.

Then, Stevens goes back one more time into the 8 minute loop. This is the source code reality. He stops the bomb from going off on the train, and sends the email to Goodwin. Goodwin is able to receive the email because this version of Goodwin, isn’t the real one that was talking to Stevens throughout the main story, but the Goodwin that exists in the Source Code reality.

When Stevens and Christina were kissing on the train, his 8 minutes were up. Outside of Source Code, Christina pushed the button, ending the life of Stevens.

However, in Source Code, he didn’t die. Nothing killed him, so in the Source Code reality, Stevens is still alive.
So the Source Code reality is still going, and the “projection” of Stevens in this reality carries on doing what Stevens would have done. I don’t think that Stevens is living in the Source Code reality, rather its just his “projection”.

When everything freezes when they are kissing, the real Stevens dies. Its almost like Source Code then goes into autopilot for Stevens, like it has for all the other people when Stevens said or did things that Sean did not in real life.

Hmm, I think that makes sense anyway!!

blopfrewd32

i think because he saved the people on the train in the past the future where the train burst was completely erased.The message he sent reached goodwin and she partly understood it that explains why the guy says there will be a time where the source code gets famous.since the world where they used the code and the crash occurred were the same when he prevented the crash a whole new world was created and the soure code was never used

Sami

Here’s my theory:
As someone else has put it on here: “All events occurring inside the source code happens inside Colter’s brain and thus terminates when he died”

So after Goodwin pulls the plug, Colter is dead.
But his mind carries on working for another 8 minutes, therefore the events he is imagining in his head carry on.
Everybody on the train died.
When the film ends, he is truly dead.

p.s someone should time how long the film has left to go after the plug is pulled, it would be interesting if it was 8 minutes.

Wes

Was Goodwin wearing a wedding ring in the “epilogue”? If so this was eluded to in her talks with Stevens, suggesting a completely other “real” universe or reality.

Hannah

When I realized that the story is a loop, it occurred to me that this might be a modern-day tale of a Bodhisattva, one who follows a Zen path, (Zen is referenced on the train) finds enlightenment, and is, therefore, entitled to get off the ‘train,’ wheel of samsara, cycle of birth, suffering, death, and re-birth, but who elects to return, repeatedly, to liberate others from their suffering, which is due to their buying into an illusory perception of reality. (The pixilation of Christina’s body is an acknowledgment that her form, in the Buddhist sense, is not real. In fact, a Buddhist might say that all of our physical life on earth is nothing but a simulation.)

When the movie concludes, everyone on the train has been liberated from their suffering; and Captain Colter Stevens and Christina are looking into the “Cloud Gate” sculpture and recognizing that the reality we commonly accept is a distortion. Yet Stevens says, mindfully, ‘Let’s wait here awhile It seems like the right place to be’

And what becomes of Sean? Perhaps he and Stevens remain inter-connected, in the Buddhist sense of one-ness: ‘no self, no other.”

Mike Lopez

Here’s my short interpretation…

– There is no alternate reality
– Colter died when Goodwin pulled the plug
– Sean, Christina and everybody else in the train remain dead

All events occurring inside the source code happens inside Colter’s brain and thus terminates when he died.

Cogito Ergo Sum – I think therefore I am. But when the plug was pulled, he no longer thinks (even the afterglow would have ended) and therefore the entire reality (alternate or not) ends.

I consider this more of like the Matrix in which nothing in the Matrix is real.

What about the text message and everything that happens after the time freeze? Well, I guess it’s just fantasy or maybe Colter’s mind (note: mind not brain) continues to live on and think therefore he continues to exist.

Matt

I thought it was a pretty straightforward ending that explained the whole movie. Stephanie (from awhile back in the comments) was correct in my opinion. Basically source code is a program that creates an alternate universe based on an 8 minute fragment. When Colter dies in the first 10 or so source codes, those parallel universes continue on. We just don’t see what happens because he dies either by bombing, getting run over, or getting shot and the audience only sees through the lens of Colter.

The bomb in the “real universe” went off around 7:48am on the commuter train. In we’ll call it the 11th source code, Jake gets enough information to stop the 2nd attack. Let’s say that happened around 3pm in the “real universe”. He got that information between 7:48am and 7:56am in the 11th universe.

Goodwin sends him back one last time to create the 12th universe at let’s say 3:15pm “real universe time” where he calls his dad, saves the world, etc. So he does all that between 7:48am and 7:56am 12th universe time. He sends that email so that when Goodwin arrives to work at…8:30am 12th universe time, she will know that source code does indeed work. Because in the 12th universe, she doesn’t know that she is in the 12th universe, it feels like the real thing to 12th universe Goodwin.

So Colter did not travel back in time or save anyone in the “real universe”. He simply used a parallel universe to access information needed to prevent a future attack in the “real universe”. So in “real universe” Goodwin knows source code has uses but thinks it’s just an 8 minute replica. At the same time, 12th universe Goodwin knows that source code works and creates an entirely new universe. Therefore, she realizes they aren’t in the original universe if you will. As for Colter, I do believe that he has taken over the body of 12th universe Sean, but you know what, if he hadn’t he would’ve ended up just like “real universe” Sean….dead. So I don’t feel so bad for him. I wouldn’t mind being Jake Gyllenhal

Balazs

He said, the source code was working better than the professor knew.

So the “dream was in reality (a real time travel) where he “obsessed” the guys body.

The pilot’s body died IN REAL LIFE, but since the train and the REAL LIFE teacher body was saved, he could stay there, even after his body died in the lab.

The teacher’s real personality died… but at least he saved everybody else on the train.

This is a possible ending too. :)

Yaice

Regarding alternate reality: The Jeffrey Wright character says quite explicitly that Stevens is going into alternate realities.

Secondly, there is one sequence where Stevens wakes up without his jacket on, where all the others he’s wearing his jacket. This indicates quite plainly an alternate reality. I’m sure if I saw the movie a second time, I’d find other minor differences in similar ways.

Therefore, I conclude that the alternate reality theory is at play in the ending.

eric

I think it’s just as simple as the source code creates an alternate reality that is seperate from our “reality.” However, he is clever enough to realize that there is an overlap between both worlds that he can exploit.

I’m not sure whether or not he really knew he would end up living on in the alternate reality, or whether he was just giving it a shot, but he was the only one who had actually experienced being within the code, and the experience “felt” to him so real that it seemed plausible that by changing the sequence of events so wildly within the alternate universe, and having stephens perform an action in “reality” that is outside the realm of what she “should do,” he was able to capitalize on these changes (I guess the “butterfly effect”) to the continuum.

tripLe N

Hye guys..

I watched the movie yesterday and today my head is thinking very hard to understand how the movie ends.. =|

I think i agree with most of you, when it supposed to end by the time ‘its freeze’. I also thought it’s the end.. but when the movie continue with the text message delivered to Goodwin.. and Colter is still ‘trapped’ in Sean’s body at the end of the movie.. – it doesn’t make any sense..!!

I think everyone is forget.. the main point of having Colter sent back to the train is to identify the bomber in order to stop the 2nd attack – (the van with full of bomb is for second attack).

And if you remember the scene, finally the police caught Derek with the Van – notice, the headline of the new still showing ‘100 peoples killed in the train bomb’. So he did accomplished the mission – to stop the second bomber.

Afterward, he went back for the last time to save them all, but we have to remember one thing.. the source code works when the real Sean is dead on the train. So when he saved them all, i think he trapped in Sean’s body and continue his life with Christina.

The only missing thing to be clarified is when Goodwin received the message. Because he sent the msg within the last 8 minute and it arrived the morning where the bomb should happen.

It is means Colter is from the future or something?? Or is it because he did save the train then all those things are back to zero – ugh hard to explain.. T__T

Brett King

The text is not part of reality. In reality, the train blew up and everyone on board died. The “afterglow” consciousness of the victims was uploaded into the simulation which can be accessed by the source code that interacts with Colter’s brain. He is able to effect the simulation and interact with the programming. That’s where you have to not ask too many questions about how all this would be possible. It’s not possible. That’s why this is science FICTION. There is no time travel or alternate reality alluded to in this movie. That is your brain playing tricks on you if you believe that. All of the train scenes and the “pod” scenes take place via a computer simulation that is interactive with Colter’s consciousness. Remember the scene where Colter’s words were showing up on Goodwin’s screen? The text scene at the end occurs within the source code. Since the train doesn’t blow up and Goodwin pulls the plug on Colter, his conciousness remains as part of the source code and keeps running. This scene is an extrapolation of his consciousness. The same thing goes for the conversation with his father. It never happened in reality, but Colter needed it to happen for him to be at peace with himself.

Ruth2

Just came home from seeing SC.
It struck me as something like “Groundhog Day” meets “The Matrix” with a somewhat ambiguous “Inception”-like ending. I couldn’t wait to see what others had to say, so thanks for all your interpretations!

brent

What Colter experienced after “the freeze” was his own 8min conceptions after his own plug was pulled in reality. I bet you that last bit is actually 8min long.

There’s no magical crossover to reality or else defeats the story and it’s The Wizard of Oz all over again.

Stephanie

Here’s what I think happened:

Everyone is forgetting about the call Stevens made to his father. He called his dad while he was in the source code. The call went through and his dad answered. They talked about how Stevens had died, which means that he was in the past talking about the past. And that means that source code puts you in an alternate reality that is in the past.

This all explains the very last scene.

When Goodwin gets the text she is in the “future” compared to source code. It is the morning of the train accident and she walks in to where the man with the crutch is telling about how they caught the man in the white van, derek frost. Goodwin is in a reality where it never happened. Stevens had saved them.

Pavel

My point of view.
1. Goodwin unplug Stevens but his brain still living as the Dr. explain that we are not imediately death and Stevens making happy endings before really die.
2. Stevens find way to solve riddle and he find channels to connect from parallel world to real world ” Illy has a red robe. In hands she has 5 cards” this is simullation to connect two world. He rechange time because see last scene didn’t start from same position he start more minutes before.

Eric Daniels

The whole time I was watching the movie, I kept thinking how cool it would be if they used my app to trigger the branching of the other universes: http://cheapuniverses.com/universesplitter

(It’s an app which uses an actual quantum event to split the universe at your whim. Really.)

Also, I kind of wish they hadn’t used the CG web-work effect, or the Matrix-like glitches… I think the film works better when you read it as the character being able to temporarily inhabit alternate realities before being sucked back to this one.

But ALL science fiction plays fast and loose with actual science; it has to. And this film was WAY more exciting than any science fiction film I’ve seen for a long time!

teddyruxpin

The ending is a bit of a cop out I believe. After watching Moon I have to think based on this director that there was an original ending that ended when time froze. It would have been very sweet and sad just like moon. Test audiences probably just didnt like it as much. If this had been an independent project the movie ends there and we are left with the message to be happy and live life to its fullest.

ricardo

Also, found this infographic poster which seems to back up my theory – it shows what happens after the 8th minute when the train doesn’t blow up – and it’s on a LOOP. This came from the film company…

http://www.worstpreviews.com/images/headlines/temp/temp2612.jpg

ricardo

I think that the key here is that in the final ‘jump’, Colter succeeds in saving SEAN. He can only experience the last 8 minutes of Sean’s life, and in all the previous jumps he/ Sean gets killed at the end of the 8 minutes (train bomb, run over on the rails, shot). In the final jump, he saves Sean, thereby creating a bug or exception in the code. Because at the end of the 8 minutes Sean doesn’t die like he’s supposed to. Maybe this bug or exception causes the 8 minutes ‘afterglow’ to just keep going, so everything after the freeze frame is just afterglow, Colter is living on in the source code, he is dead in reality, and there are no alternate realities. The text, the Goodwin who receives it, all part of the source code. It’s like the end of Inception, where he’s still in the dream (on one interpretation anyway).

trendaway

I agree most with John Read’s comment on April 9, 2011.

I think this film is actually pretty straight-forward, yet brilliant in the way it intentionally tries to mess us up!

The main mission, which was accomplished, was to prevent the second bomb from going off.

When Colter Stevens was switched off in the real world, his computer-generated “reality” continued on. (This didn’t happen earlier because he was always ejected from the 8-minute simulation and returned “home”.) I think there are (at least) two clear intentional visual statements in which the storytellers are communicating this to us :

1. The pixelation of people he is interacting with
2. the distorted reflection that we are shown as he his looking into the Chicago Orb.

Goodwin receives the message in the simulated reality, which is in-line with the “happy ending” that he created for himself. Most of us would create a happy ending for ourselves, wouldn’t we?

SF Fanatic from SF

At first, it seems clear that Stevens (Gyllenhaal) is reliving a loop of time in the pretty-much-dead guy’s head (Sean). That’s what the Airforce Agency believes and the scientist who created the whole source code shebang (Dr. Rutledge/J. Wright) said as much. But Stevens figures out something that those guys don’t know—he’s not just reliving a loop of the past in Sean’s head. He can change things and not just things that some advanced tech might abstract from Sean’s last eight minutes of life experience.

For example, when Stevens-Sean eventually leaves the train to follow the terrorist (Derek Frost) to his van, there is no way that original-Sean could have knowledge of the van, its license plate or the details of the explosive devices in the that van. Original-Sean never left the train. He never saw those details. Even given the “source code” Deux-ex-Machina idea, that somehow those final eight minutes were a software-bioware extrapolation from what actually happened to Sean, new FACTUAL information wouldn’t be available if the “source code” were derived or even extrapolated from Sean’s own experience. Sure, the technology might extrapolate that if Stevens/Sean tells the woman with the coffee to be careful, she won’t spill the coffee on his shoes Sean, before he died, might have subconsciously noted that a person in his environment was nervous. But new factual information, outside of Sean’s fixed past experiences, wouldn’t be possible.

What Stevens realizes is that somehow, when he is shoved into the source code, his consciousness is actually going back to that point in time, being inserted into this guy Sean’s consciousness, replacing it with his own (which has its own moral issues, but hey). The infinite possibilities of what could happen at that moment in time are newly available again; the only caveat is that you can’t change the original universe’s past. You can only create a new, parallel timeline from that past moment. Before Stevens pops into Sean’s head, Sean is himself and has eight minutes to live—after Stevens pops in, the universe diverges from the one Stevens was sent back from. In particular, from that point on, Sean does not get to live those same 8 minutes! The most interesting part is that these two “parallel” timelines are connected through the source code—at a point that keeps getting further away from the “present” in the original universe. Stevens has to return to the point in the original timeline 8 minutes after he left it. Thus, you can affect only the future of the original universe’s timeline and never its past. You can never change your own past—perfectly consistent with our own understanding of time.

Go ahead and shoot people if you want, it doesn’t matter, says Rutledge. Instead, somehow, and this is the key, when Stevens chooses to act differently than Sean did in the “original” or “base” timeline of the movie, Stevens collapses quantum possibilities that existed in that moment to create a new, parallel reality—in effect, as Stevens says, he creates “a whole new world.” I think this is the clever part of the script—the scientists are wrong and the movie audience believes what they’ve said. Steven figures it out and does say so in a few of his comments—but the final text to Christina in the alternate timeline he finally finds himself in (as Sean) clinches it: “If you’re reading this e-mail, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. You thought you were creating 8 minutes of a past event, but you’re not. You’ve created a whole new world. Goodwin, if I’m right, somewhere at the Source Code facility, you have a Capt. Colter Stevens waiting to send on a mission. Promise me you’ll help him. And when you do, do me a favor: tell him everything is gonna be okay.”

Stevens turns out to be right about what will happen—or lucky (“Do you believe in fate?”)–and he does end up staying in Sean’s head because the tech doesn’t snap him out of it. And the real moral quandary of the movie, in my mind, is how to be happy moving forward in a new life when you know you essentially displaced/killed a person to do it.

Is the original universe the most important one in some sense, the main universe? The movie says, it all depends on where your own consciousness happens to end up. As in physics, a matter of perspective.

mrsuperbilly

It was a very interesting movie. Just saw it.

First off, I majorly disagree with Christopher Campbell about Inception being a weaker movie. I thought it was quite a bit better than Source Code, although SC was quite good.
At first I thought the ending was a cop out. A way to give viewers the happy ending they so often want. Perhaps it was a little more…
Help me out with this- but Goodwin would have received his text during the 8 minute window, right? It doesn’t make sense that she would have received it any earlier unless it was part of his dream/after-life scenario.
If the text was received by the “original” Goodwin, how could the news of the disrupted attack already be reported???

Another theorizer

Theories on time…
The many different theories on time and how it actually works are left for interpretation in this movie, but in my opinion the writer is of the opinion that at any moment in time, depending on our choices, we can create different realities for ourselves. In some cases, these choices only change reality slightly, like my choice to post this, but other choices can make significant changes to life as we know it, like dropping the atomic bomb and making decisions on having kids, etc.
In this movie, Goodwin and Rutledge think that he is simply accessing Sean’s consciousness and getting to view what happened in those 8 minutes. What they didn’t realize is, by allowing access to Sean’s consciousness and allowing choices to be made, alternate realities were created by CCS. However, in those alternate timelines (as I will call them), CCS ended up dead and was thence returned to his mental prison in the “capsule.” However, when he created an alternate timeline that did not end up in him dying, his consciousness was able to remain in this new timeline, and new events and occurences were able to transpire.
Why didn’t he die when she pulled the plug?
Could be one of two things in my mind— 1. Since his consciousness was just about to be brought back to the capsule when the capsule was destroyed, he was “stuck” in the alternate timeline. However, not a bad place to be after you’ve saved a train full ofd people and a woman you’re growing to love. 2. Since he didn’t die while inhabiting Sean’s consciousness in this new timeline, he would have been unable to return to the capsule anyway, so the pulling of the plug just disallowed further torture of the CCS stuck in the original timeline where he was a slave to science.
Final thoughts—
The movie was extremely thought provoking even if the idea of being able to inhabit someone else’s consciousness is a wee bit farfetched. In my theorizing, I am of the belief that if alternate timelines do exist, we will probably never be able to access them as long as we draw breath. But I feel that “heaven” may be our explanation of entering an alternate timeline where things are in fact perfect for us individually. I guess I’ll find out when I stop drawing breath though… hope it goes well.

Kevinstaker

Thanks for posting your comment on Source Code. Very thought provoking and insightful. Personally, I go for he is dead but his spirit has taken the place of Sean in the body. But where had Sean’s spirit gone?

Still a very good movie.

Thanks again for your commentary.

Kevin

Tony

I can’t believe there is so much interpretation. Unlike “Inception” this movie was not at all ambiguous…

Our reality: Bomb has exploded the train, people died.

The alternate reality: Bomb didn’t go off and the people on the train survived.

Every time he goes back to the train, there is an alternate reality. Your alternate reality is based on the different decisions you make to effect and change things. The thing is if you replay a part of your life 1 Million times it will always be the same result unless you introduce new knowledge that could affect its outcome. In this case the source code gives CCS the ability to change its events so that the reality he’s in can be changed.

CCS sends the text to Goodwin in the alternate reality. The Goodwin in the alternate reality receives the text, but in our reality the Goodwin there will never know what happened.

The point where time freezes, Goodwin pushes the button to kill Captain Colter Steven’s (CCS) before the source code brings him back to our reality. There isn’t a body for him to return to so he stays in the alternate reality. And no, this is not his afterlife…when you see his reflection at the end, he’s still the body of the Shawn Fentriss.

Jake

I think the way that this movie was trying to get isnt so much he is dead but he changed history in a different universe. People say when you time travel…you cant change things in the timeline you came from. (Grandfather Paradox)

I think he changed the past in a Alternate reality and instead of coming back he just stayed in that reality. In a reality where he saved the world and got the girl. Not the reality where he died in afganistan. If you look up alternate timelines you will understand it better.

yomomma

It’s simple. The real ending is at the freeze frame. He is “unplugged” by Goodwin. That should have been the ending but Hollywood demands possibilities of sequels. So then, Colter has completely averted the terrorist attacks. They never happen. Now he enters a parallel universe with Christine. That last 8 minutes where his brain continues on in a dreamlike state. At that point he texts to Goodwin (from his alternate universe) just to let her know there is indeed an alternate universe.

The part I don’t understand is why he sees Sean in his reflection in Chicago, and not himself if it is his ‘nirvana’….that’s the part that I am stuck on.

john read

There is a very much simpler explanation.

Coulter Stevens is dead. We are told this.

The source code alternate realities only exists as his dreams about alternate versions of the past, and can only last 8 minutes. We are told this too. The dreams cannot influence of change the future, and are only real for 8 minutes.

Goodwin receives the final text message in one of these source code dreams within the 8 minutes which makes it no more real than any other source code dream about the past.

In the real world the dirty bomb is averted because of Coulters information from his source code dreaming, and then Goodwin turns him off.

His dying dream images, remnants of the source code, are that he gets the girl. But he’s still dead and so is she. I believe a final dream induced by the source code, not an afterlife. ‘Let’s wait here a while’ he says ‘it seems like the right place to be’

Yep, he’s dead, in a sense he he always has been, and so has everyone on that train including Christina and Shaun – we are told so very clearly, and nothing that happens in the film changes that in the real world.

???

Goodwind knows about Derek because she heard the report about Stevens/Sean turning him in on the train. After reading the text she looked to see if it was true and learned that the crisis truly had been averted.

I agree, it feels like it really should have ended at the freeze-frame, since his death was kinda, you know, the whole point of the movie.

improvius

My take on it is that the original story ending is the freeze frame scene. I think the reason so many people are having problems figuring out the “alternate reality” stuff is that it was all tacked on to the original script. Now, this is all purely speculative, but here’s my theory:

In the original story, Colter gets switched off and is truly dead at the end. The freeze frame is the final shot. My evidence for this is that the character very clearly goes through the classic “Five Stages of Grief” throughout the course of the film. The “Five Stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. He experiences them in exactly this order during his trips to the train.

Denial – he thinks it’s a simulation and doesn’t take it seriously.

Anger – he goes into a rampage on the train and assaults several people.

Bargaining – he tries to save himself and Christina by getting them off the train. (This one may need some work, but I think it’s there.)

Depression – several fruitless trips to the train blur together. He feels like it’s all pointless.

Acceptance – he decides to go through the train one last time and have Goodwin switch him off. He makes peace with everyone around him and is ready to let go. This is, in my opinion, the end as it was originally intended.

At that clear ending point, everything makes sense. The plot doesn’t have any significant holes, and everything comes together, albeit in a sad way. But someone wanted a more upbeat ending, so we have to deal with several tacked-on elements that don’t really make sense. The nonsensical “alternate timeline” theory has to be inserted into an otherwise cohesive story. We get an additional few minutes of cheesey footage after the clear ending. His character’s journey through the Five Stages is greatly diminished. The ending is happier, but much more confusing when you look back on everything.

sinclair

then please explain how Goodwind knows about ‘Derek Frost’ in the ‘crisis averted dimension’? nobody told her about that..

so my theory is somehow like the ‘Butterfly Effect movie’. Stevens traveled back into the past (into a Sean’s consciousness) and altered the history. This way, the crisis averted dimension became the REAL dimension and the one where the bomber was caught become the ALTERNATE dimension.

or maybe it happens like harry potter where he time travelled with Hermione and Ron when Hagrid’s gryffin was about to be butchered. Suddenly the current Harry fused with the future Harry and they suddenly have ‘added’ memories.

So, please deliberate on how the hell Goodwind knows about Derek Frost without anyone telling about him to Goodwind.

ER26

Hey DJT,
Hopefully this isn’t too late of a reply but I saw earlier you posted how you didn’t like how the movie focuses on the “one” happy ending. My first thoughts were actually the same as yours, but it does get better if you think of it this way:
Each “new” reality doesn’t end when the train explodes. Example: When Steven wakes up the first time in the train he has no recollection of what he is supposed to do. The train blows up, he dies, and is brought back to his original universe. However, if we continued watching the alternate reality instead of returning, we would see the government hearing about the disaster and sending their reality’s Steven into their Sean’s (the same who Steven just died as) last minutes in another reality.
And then, the events in that reality – and each following failure reality -would continue the same as we see in the movie. Steven would eventually find and stop the bomber. Even in the reality where Sean doesn’t die on the train, instead Steven gets ran over, they would simply branch off to a different casualty’s body. In this case, all of the reality’s would be an ultimate success, always preventing the dirty bomb from exploding.
In this case there are an infinite number of happy endings where Steven saves everyone on the train and in the city. Unfortunately those on the train still died. However, as they (sadly) died in our, original reality anyway Steven is effectively saving an infinitely amount of lives than he is letting them die. Besides, if we go by tradition multiple reality theories, the other realities already exist, and the Source Code is just what gives it the push to change anything at all for the better.
Just hoping this improves how people think of the morality of universe-hopping… I will say though, the afterlife theory was my original interpretation and it makes perfect sense as well. I’m also worried about what happens to Sean’s consciousness if the alternative universes are true.
The time travel theory doesn’t make any sense at all though.

Steve

They key thing to note is that EVERY time he goes back he sees christina’s face and in the background there is the big shiny mirror building which only happens AFTER they survive.

So there is a direct link between these worlds whether parallel or self-looping single universe.

Also is there significance that the doctor/inventor is on crutches? And why is the bomber so casual when confronted in the van as if he has an inkling what is going on?

And if he did save them all then he would not have been able to leap into the Sean guys mind as he never died in the first place to be able to access his last 8 minutes?

These could be holes/red herrings or clever deceptions.

Definitely set up for a sequel though as colter is technically still alive having never been sent into the bomb situation, its a case of whether its the same original reality or a parallel one.

Foxy thoughts…..

Aaron Larios

In regards to how the Source Code project works it is interesting to point out that if all the information available to Colter is derived from the last 8 minutes of Sean’s consciousness and nothing more then he wouldn’t be able to perform actions or experience details like questioning passengers towards any truthful conclusions or getting off the train to visit a mens room Sean had never visited or at least not visited in the last 8 minutes of his life. Colter would have stepped off the grid so to speak and this fact as Colter points out early in the film when amazed by the level of detail in what he then believes to be a simulation offers credence to what this movie is really about.
Source Code is a movie about alternate realities not the afterlife or dreams. Each scenario in which Colter’s consciousness inhabits Sean’s body creates a diverging timeline of events or alternate reality from the central narrative. The character Dr. Rutledge who, as as an audience member we can assume is the most knowledgeable about the workings of Source Code eludes to this fact during his conversation with Colter shortly after Colter becomes aware of his own death in the narrative. Speaking to the point that even if Colter would try and contact him while in the Source Code he would be contacting another version of Rutledge not the one in the narrative.
The question of what happens to Sean’s consciousness each time Colter’s is implanted in his mind is never fully addressed. Is Sean’s consciousness still in his mind, supressed only to return once Colter has left the alternate reality and returned to the narrative or is it wiped into obscurity by Colter’s consciousness each time? Interestingly a few of Colter’s trips away from the narrative immediately after testing Rutledge’s patience and Rutledge orders Goodwin to no longer give Colter breaks repeatedly sending him back time after time are given a yadda, yadda, yadda treatment and there’s no way we could no if all those trips ended with the death of Sean’s body. Maybe Colter took a break in one of those trips and just walked off the train. In the sequence in which Colter confronts the bomber for the first time he is shot but doesn’t necessarily die, in fact he’s alive enough to roll over and watch the train explode before being yanked back into the narrative. Will Sean’s conciousness return in that timeline? Wake up from a 3 month coma with no recollection of why he was shot in a parking lot alongside the woman he loves.
The ending and it’s controversial text message can be explained as thus; Colter departs the narrative with the help of Goodwin and enters the mind of Sean creating the final alternate reality of the movie. Colter must believe to some degree that he has in fact been creating alternate realities otherwise he would have never bothered sending the text message at all. It turns out he’s right. During the freeze frame scene after Colter’s 8 minutes are up his life support in the narrative is terminated and in that moment the consciousness of Colter having not been pulled back into the narrative beforehand and with no body to return too after becomes a fixed part of that final reality. The main narrative or central reality of the film is over at that point. The film continues for the first time following the events of an alternate reality and it’s in this reality that Goodwin receives the text message about the thwarted train bombing.
The only questions I was left with as a viewer are; what happens to Goodwin in the narrative, is she court martialed and imprisoned for her act of compassion, and if Sean’s consciousness was only being supressed in these alternate realities will aspects of him begin to emerge in the future of the final reality? If you’ve ever seen any other tv shows or movies involving time travel or alternate universes they’re all a little messy but this film isn’t nearly as bad as some and it’s worth saying very entertaining.

jim

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth

jim

what is beleaguered castle?

Jacktastic

I believe source code has the ability to put you into an alternite reality.

Jacktastic

Heres what I think happened.

Everyone dies on the train and the second dirty bomb is averted. Colter is taken off life support (Dies and continues to live in an alternite/source code reality, where Goodwin gets the text)) and Goodwin is in trouble.

Why do we have to distinguish between alternite realities and source code realities? Maybe there the same. Its possible that there are an infinite number of parallel realites going on all the time.

This seem to me like the only logical explenation.

JFresh222

Anyone else think they mentioned eastern philosophy type stuff a lot? In the last jump, the guy thats late for his deposition talks about how he doesn’t want to hear Sean’s Zen-like advice. Plus the whole idea of replaying a life until you get it totally right and attain peace/nirvana/whatever is very Hindu. I just thought it had an underlying theme.

William malouf

Ok everyone I truly believe I know exactly what happened in the movie and how email me of you think I’m right I Want some credit. Ok what does every single source code mission have in common? The train explodes at the end of each of them so when he wakes up he believes that he fails and just says he didn’t find a bomber. But what actually happens is if he did find the Bombr and did save veryone goodwin and the doctor and every one wouldn’t know because there wouldn’t be a disaster.four colter to go amd stop because at the end of the movie remember that the oy way that he would be able to die is if he found the bomber so he said ok I do what you wanted let me just go in one more time. He goes into a “different world” he tells Goodwin in the text and saves everyone and at the last possible second remember when the doctor says “your only a hand on a clok you live the eight minutes then we reset you . If there’s nothing to resort he wi stay in that body forever because there was no brain for him to go back to. The reason he got goodwin to know is because he was trapped in seams body in the real reality. Everyone overthoght it tell me what you think

William Malouf

Scratch everything. Know exactly what happened. Ok so I’m every situation the train car blows up but they never go Into detail about what happens differently. So even if it worked shown in the last sequence they wouldn’t know because the event would not have happened. At the end the only way they would kill him is If they figured out what they needed to know and so he asks ti be sent I. One last time and says at the end terminate me. Remember at the beginning the doctor says you are like the hand on a clock and after eight minutes we set you back if it is terminated they can’t set him back he has to live in whatever dimension he made for himself and so when the text message is sent during the source code that he handcuffed the bomber goodwin gets it and knows it works boom I’m fourteen

William Malouf

Here is my take I believe that coulter stevens in the beginning of the movie had been there for two months and possibly been entered into other bodies like he was in seams creating that confusion in the future source code being used and I believe that everytime the source code is used it alters the space time continuum because every time they ask if he found a bomber but everytime the bomb goes off so every Time they are not aware of how powerful it is and how it can create another world the second to last time it is used the bomb never goes off amd that is when he is threatened to be cut off but she let’s him go in that last time creating a different perfect world and when she shuts off the accessibility to change the real one.There is him stuck in the source code and that reality he has averted the second disaster but the realist reality is that he was never assigned the mission haha I’m 14

mattCaps

@solidbond – thanks for the props

@DJT – I hope the power doesn’t go out either. But if you consider that the beginning of the movie may have already been inside the computer, several layers deep even, then worrying about the uppermost level pulling the plug becomes irrelevant.

Here’s why — because of the scale, you could probably assume a time-crunching effect each time a new level is created. Kind of like Inception… each level in takes place much faster than its parent level. Therefore, thousands of years can take place inside an inner level while only a few minutes happen on the outside.

With the rate of computing going the way it has been in recent history… it’s not that crazy to conceive of a system that has the ability to duplicate itself inside itself.

“Transferring consciousness” might be difficult though… ha.

DJT

Way to go mattCaps! I like that theory better than any other. So, in the real world, Colter is dead, Goodwyn is fired, and the Doc is sad… but the dirty bomb never went off. Good accomplished.

In the Source code Colter “lives” on (with the transfer of conscience occurring since he was in Source code when his physical body died) and all the other “people” there are just simulations (even the new Colter awaiting his first mission). Colter is happy!

I can buy that! I like how it avoids time travel and the afterlife (although Colter living on in Source Code is a sort of afterlife).

I just hope, for Colter’s sake, the power never goes out ;-b

Ryan

Here is what I believe happened in the end:

When the General ended the life support, she entered a new source code herself, and Gyllenhaal’s character entered a new reality! When his last 8 mins were up, and the General turned off his life support, the source code actually rewrote the history of that morning’s events. So, his world was now the reality, and the General was now in an alternate reality.That’s why she winds up reliving that entire morning, and no one else but her has any recollection of all that had happened with Gyllenhaal’s character!

Feel free to discuss this theory. I’d love to discuss it further!

Luke Bristol

Everything from the moment he’s unplugged is HIS alternate reality projected in his own, dying mind. In his alternate reality, Goodwin receives the text and the catastrophe never happened, fulfilling his own self-determined mission. This is the only explanation that makes sense.

Tommy Rector

OK. The movie already blew my mind, but reading your analysis and the subsequent comments has my mind twisted in several directions. I picked a fine day to quit LSD.

moviefan

This movie is amazing because it has its viewers critically thinking and putting forth concepts & ideas of what it means.

I really appreciate Anime Nut’s comments on 4/1 which reminded me of the significance of the phrase “Everything is gonnna to be all right”. Goodwin did say that to Colter at the very beginning of the movie! And it’s what the text message asked her to remind the comotose Colter at the time of the next mission.

It does imply that the movie starts after similar missions have taken place. But only Goodwin knows this? Because the leader of the program makes a comment that maybe sometime soon they will have a chance to use this new technology for the good of humankind. Does anyone agree?

Anime Nut

“Everything is gonna be okay.”

So I just saw Source Code again, and now I must retract part of my earlier post. Goodwin never speaks that line in the movie. Instead, it’s Christina who says it… twice. First time is right before the bomb explodes at the beginning of the movie. Second time is when Colter/Sean is handcuffed to the bar. This time, he actually asks Christina to say this to him, and then we get the lovely slow-motion shot of the explosion blast.

My new take is that Colter finds comfort in these words. That’s why he asks Christina to say them to him, since he knows the bomb is about to explode any second. When he sends the e-mail, he asks Goodwin to deliver that message, so the new Coma Colter can find the same comfort & strength to complete his mission, whatever it turns out to be.

I took the liberty of copying the e-mail message that Colter/Sean sends to Goodwin. Here it is, transcribed from his voice-over.

“Lily awoke in an evening dress in an outbrook look. In her hand were 5 playing cards.

At some point today, you’re gonna hear about a failed terrorist attack on a commuter train near Chicago. You and I kept that bomb from going off.

If you’re reading this e-mail, then Source Code works even better than you and Dr. Rutledge imagined. You thought you were creating 8 minutes of a past event, but you’re not. You’ve created a whole new world.

Goodwin, if I’m right, somewhere at the Source Code facility, you have a Capt. Colter Stevens waiting to send on a mission. Promise me you’ll help him. And when you do, do me a favor: tell him everything is gonna be okay.”

I still believe that Colter/Sean continues to live in an alternate reality, but mattCaps’ theory is equally valid. Neither theory is debunked by this e-mail. Remember, this is the end of the movie. There’s NO REASON for the movie to try and deceive or mislead the audience at this point. Take Colter/Sean’s words at face value.

The only change in my theory is where I suggested that there was ANOTHER reality that preceded the one we follow from the beginning of the movie. Since Goodwin never speaks the “Everything is gonna be okay” line, I just don’t see any evidence in the movie to support that theory. It’s still POSSIBLE, of course. But there’s no in-movie evidence to suggest that.

Snowbarder28

“Afterlife is a complete cop out ending and makes zero sense.” – Darkmwar

100% agreed.

solidbond

Capps has got it. That’s the best explanation I have heard so far. That answers my question about seeing Christina break down in code. It’s not time travel, it’s a new reality similar to the Matrix. Well done, Capps!

fred johnson

This movie is just another bullshit example of quantum theory being used to justify “magic” by people who clearly have no understanding of it.

So all the data in the “simulation” is gathered from the dead peoples minds from the train somehow, not really explained.

it still does not make any sense that any of the dead people on the train would have knowledge if the bomb in the white van for the computer to show to him in the simulation.

This film is bullshit, it could have been done easily in a more plausible way.

Shaquille Wijngaarde

I agree with what the writer of this post said for a part. But I don’t agree on that Stevens is dead and is in the after life projecting how he wanted the future to be.
I believe that because Woodman killed his comatose body in reality as his 8 minutes ran out in the alternate reality. This alternate reality was able to continue with Stevens still alive as Sean so that Stevens could continue living in this alternate reality. While in the other reality Stevens is now death because Woodman took him of life support and everybody on the train is still dead and the second bomb threat has been averted.
As for the text message that Woodman gets from Stevens in the alternate reality, I think it’s just as simple as the ending itself imply that eventually the Source Code will be used to try and avert the next big threat but this will all conclude with the same endings: either that Stevens continues another life in another alternate universe as the next person he will control or him choosing to being a Source Code multiple times.

Sha Sha

Ok so this is my whole take on it… So Captain Stevens saves the day and we find out that he really does save the day when Goodwin walks into the Doctors office and hears the Doctor talking with some important personnel saying yeah yeah the guy was going to attempt to blow up the train but was found on the train after Stevens caught him. So the doctor then says we’ll just have to use source code for another time. Soooo technically according to everyone except Goodwin the source code hasn’t even been used yet. So Stevens is still on life support in the source code until the source code will be used the next time. So he is still the Guinea pig. Each time Goodwin would probably help him and to me it just seems like it would be a continuous cycle. So confusing I hate movies that make you think too hard.

Sha Sha

Ok so this is my whole take on it… So Captain Stevens saves the day and we find out that he really does save the day when Goodwin walks into the Doctors office and hears the Doctor talking with some important personnel saying yeah yeah the guy was going to attempt to blow up the train but was found on the train after Stevens caught him. So the doctor then says we’ll just have to use source code for another time. Soooo technically according to everyone except Goodwin the source code hasn’t even been used yet. So Stevens is still on life support in the source code until the source code will be used the next time. So he is still the Guinea pig. Each time Goodwin would probably help him and to me it just seems like it would be a continuous cycle. So confusing I hate movies that make you think too hard.

lallallala

i don’t get what the orb in chicago represented??

mattCaps

My explanation hasn’t been discussed yet…

We all know the Source Code is a computer simulated world. It links a human’s mind to a computer and allows that person to experience an exquisitely detailed virtual world.

Simple reason says that you cannot change the outer reality world from within Source Code. Unless you want to discuss time/dimension paradoxes, but I find that to be a boring explanation.

It’s clear to me that the ‘freeze frame’ scene is where the movie magic happens. I’d say Colter’s consciousness gets transferred into the Source Code permanently, and because of the complexity of the simulated world and the added element of a real human consciousness, an entire permanent world is created inside the Source Code. How you want to explain the transfer of consciousness is your business, but the point is that Source Code has created an entirely fleshed-out world inside itself.

The new world created in Source Code is the world in which Goodwin receives the text message, in which the train never explodes, in which Source Code replicates itself and even creates a new consciousness inside the body of the solider on life support.

Thus a recursion loop has been achieved. The new solider will now wait for the perfect moment to save different people inside another simulated world. He’ll have a new mission with a story line and, most importantly, a new girl. After all, Colter said that “every simulation has one”.

I think it’s important to realize that all of this is happening inside a computer. Some might even argue that the beginning of the movie was one timeline inside the computer as well. Evidence of this is the memory threads, the “Everything will be alright” comment at the beginning/end, and the nature of recursive systems.

The true beauty of this explanation is that in every timeline, the next timeline will not be permanently created until the soldier achieves his true mission: to create a better world. That’s why we see the freeze frame. The comedian on the train said “It’s a bitter world”, but Colter said “It doesn’t have to be”. Colter takes a leap of faith by dying in the outer world, Goodman takes a leap of faith by pulling the plug, and the perfect convergence allows the Source Code to create a new world inside itself. A better world.

DJT

I realized another thing… if my idea of the brain going out and collecting information of the surroundings that are not perceived by the 5 senses is right (and, note that this is exactly what Dr. Rutledge’s research depended on for him to even create Source code, as he explicitly denies that any time travel is occurring… “its not real; its all in Source Code” I think is what he said)… anyway, if the brain can do this collecting then Colter’s brain in the Op center would be able to do this there also. Therefore, in his “death dream” (or heaven, whichever) he could reconstruct the Op Center and the happy receiving of the text message by Goodwin.

Just thought that was cool. By the way, death dreams are still very cool… and seem like time travel… think of Mulholland Drive and Requiem for a Dream.

SS

First of all, I loved this movie. Here’s my take on the movie: There is information, theories, whatever you want to call it that exist that basically say (i’m paraphrasing) that the atoms and molecules that make up our physical bodies exist in our reality, and as they vibrate they seem to disappear from this reality, but in actuality enter other probable realities or existences that the entity that is you could experience.
These other alternate realities, parallel universes have the ability to influence one another. In many ways, this is the foundation for a call for people to believe in ‘world peace’, the idea being that envisioning a world free of war that is peaceful as clearly as you can has the ability to transfer peace from that imagined reality into this one.
In this same way, Jake’s belief that he could change Chicago’s reality by averting the train disaster altogether by returning to Sean Fentress’ body one last time – even when the creator of the source code believed that these events were transcribed in ‘history’ and could not be changed – enabled him to do just that.
If you enter the quantum world, Albert Einstein and countless others believe that the concept of linear time, cause creates effect, is one that is not 100 % absolute or even true at all. Many quantum theorists believe that all time exists simultaneously, thus making all events exist simultaneously. So the idea that Jake could alter the chain of events by averting the train’s explosion is also supported by these related ideas about time.
So to me the source code fused Jake’s reality with Sean Fentress’ reality while he was in that world. This fusion changed both realities. It changed the outcome of what happened to everyone on the train, and it changed Jake’s reality in that he wanted to inhabit the body and identity of Sean Fentress. And yes, in an ‘Inception’ kind of way, I believe he continued on in Sean Fentress’ reality and falls in love with Christina.
So is Jake in both realities simultaneously? That is a really good question!! And the answer is kind of yes and no. His body (torso) will always be in that capsule waiting the next mission, but there is an aspect of him that continues in the alternate reality that the source code puts him into.

DJT

If time travel is really going on in this film, then you would have to accept onf of two possibilities: 1) that every time Colter ‘goes back’ another, separate paralleled reality is spawned. And that in each separate one (I think I would count about 5 or 7) different events unfold. Or 2) that only one timeline ever exists and changing the past changes the future of that timeline.

As for possibility 1): One reality would have the train blow up and Christina having got off the train and lived. (Recall that when Colter got back from this trip he said he saved Christina, but Goodwin confirms she is still dead in the main reality we stay in in the movie.) There would be another reality where Colter and Christine are murdered in the parking lot; another when the Arab guy was roughed up by Colter and Christina saw Colter hit by a train, etc.

In this case the movie becomes silly, imo. If going back simple makes ~7 different parallel universes Why should we care about any of them? The implication is we should care about the one where Colter is happy with Christina and the disaster was averted and hundreds of lives saved. But in the other several parallel realities most, if not all, the people still die on the train (hundreds dead) and in most of those realities the dirty bomb who have gone off and millions would have died. So, by going back Goodwin/Colter/Dr. Rutledge prevented hundreds of death in reality A, but ends up causing the killings millions in other realities, since the spawned them (I guess you could argue that they also created billions of lives also, so the greater good is achieved). But in this case the whole purpose of doing anything is completely wiped out (but they may be ignorant of this.)

This is why I can’t accept the time travel with multiple realities theory. Those who feel they need to simply say one theory is a cop-out, should explain why or keep there unhelpful opinion to themselves, imo.

Now for option 2): If the time travel is such that no alternate realities are made, i.e. there is only one timeline and affecting the past changes the future (a la Back to the Future), there are several issues here. 1. Why did Christina still die in the train when Colter saved her that one time? 2. What happened to Sean’s consciousness when Colter took over his body? 3. Is Colter’s consciousness in Sean and in the end-of-the-movie Colter waiting to be used for the first time? 4. In a previously thwarted attacked, did Colter’s conscience stay in someone else’s body also? How many copies of Colter are there?

I guess these problems are the reason I felt forced to the afterlife explanation.

No big deal… this is just fun to think through! I look forward to further posts, esp. any showing why my time-travel-concerns are unfounded…

Dan

The whole movie took place within the “source code.” Only the ending when Capt. Goodwin received the email is “true reality.” Stevens had worked within the source code to prevent the first explosion on the train from ever taking place. So, Fentress and those on the train never died in the real world. Thus, at the end, Dr. Rutledge makes the statement that “one day the source code will prevent a big crisis from happening.” In fact, the source code had worked successfully in doing so by preventing the first explosion before it actually took place in reality.

The purpose of the source code was to predict the future by constructing already known events. Colter Stevens used Fentress’s identity to predict the first explosion before it actually took place.

lakhbir Singh

He sends the text to her from the train before the 8 minutes are up. That’s why he borrowed the terrorists phone. That’s why she receives it in the morning before the explosion was supposed to happen.

asher vickers

ok, the movie should have ended where stevens and christinia are walking together in the city, the part where goodwins gets the message on her phone should have never happened, because if the ending im suggesting happened, this would have meant that he was just in a dead dream world where he was happy, it doesnt make any sense how goodwin got the message becus that would somehow mean he was in the same time or dimension as goodwin, which he wasnt, the ending where goodwin gets the message also does suggest that he is in 2 places at the same time, which doesnt make sense, i dont know im just really confused

cougarts76

I agree (I think) with carpie2112. In the primary reality the bombing did take place and everyone is dead, and Jake is dead too, after Goodwin killed him. However, he created an alternate timeline where he prevented the bombing. That’s what I took from it. My wife thinks differently, that (as the story sort of more directly told) that he somehow changed time and we were seeing a reality that was the result of his actions (a happier more “hollywood” ending)…she also thinks I’m ridiculous for even pondering it so much!

prbrown

sorry, me again. I forgot one additional point, the problem I’d have with the theory that Colter’s consciousness is not reunited with his body back at command HQ. The text message that Colter sent to Goodwin is key; he referred to a future utilization of his 8-minutes of post-mortem consciousness (something beyond the averted train wreck) by the source code, saying something like “tell me that everything is going to be alright”. So, assuming he truly did figure out how the sequence of events was going to unfold beyond his final 8 minutes on the train for the last time, he seemed to know that his consciousness would return to his body back at Command HQ and that he would be called upon again to enter the source code to help avert some future disaster / terrorist attack. That line which we asked Goodwin to say to him in the future (“everything is going to be alright”) might have been to him another memory string/jog which would enable him to connect back to the memory of this happy final 8-minute time on the train.

prbrown

My wife and I discussed this and we kinda agree on this: after the time freeze (the end of the final 8 minutes when plug is pulled on Colter), Colter is no longer the consciousness inside Sean’s head, although there may be some residual whiplash memories from having another consciousness ripped from your head). At that point, Colter’s consciousness is indeed exclusively reunited with his body at command central, and waits there for possible future application of source code. Sean’s consciousness is reunited with his body, although he emerges with a newfound zest for life which he likely cannot understand. We do not believe Colter’s consciousness can co-exist between Sean’s body and Colter’s body; it has to be in one place or the other. Also, since due to Colter’s heroics, Sean did not die, there is no reason to believe Sean’s consciousness has been forfeited or supplanted. So, although for the benefit of the movie audience we see Colter’s image walking off the train and into a rosy life full of promise, his reflected image is off Sean and that is the person he is, body and consciousness. His comment about “do you believe in fate” when he saw the Cloud Gate monument likely was a result of the memory whiplash effect of having another consciousness ripped from his body just minutes before, he doesn’t know why this seems familiar but it does look familiar to him. My wife and I didn’t consider the afterlife option, although that is an interesting concept too. In that scenario, though, it would seem to suggest the Colter body back at command central is now completely dead, with no working neurological functioning (and if that is the case, why is his body still shown as being in the “capsule” at the lab? Wouldn’t they send his body to burial?).

Chris Owen

Surprised by your explanation of afterlives etc. I think it’s more than clear the writer wanted to explore the ideas of “Quantum Immortality” which is a famous thought experiment (see Wikipedia).

sherry

I personally think the clue is hidden in the segment where he asks Goodwin if she thinks there is another Goodwin in a parallel universe where she does not make the same mistakes (marriage, etc) and therefore changes the future by correcting her mistakes. (she says ‘no’ – this is reality where i am right now)I feel that she thinks about all this when she decides to terminate his brain function and by doing so she is the one that is responsible for changing the course of the events along with Colter whose spirit is now living inside the body of Sean and is actually therefore alive with Christina.
Therefore, the train incidents did not happen and they are still searching for a crisis to experiment with Colter who is still lying there but is just a shell keeping his brain alive. Phew….

revlis

I agree with anime nut in his conclusion. My thought is that in the final eight mins. He “unravels” the mystery behind source code. By discovering it is actually another different reality. When he sends the last txt msg saying that he can make another reality and that colter will be there and to take good care of him. There is another key point in this the queen of spade scenario. This occurred at the begging of the movie making this seem like another reality. If I remember correctly at the begging of the movie the phase sequence to remember HER correctly was that pattern. Now from the point of the txt msg I have to assume there in the same reality just because she actually did receive the txt msg. When the timer hits zero and she ends his life this is where the source code ends and he continues his life as Sean and not colter. This is because at the end of the movie you see Seans reflection

David Bowie

I’m so proud of my son for making this film. I love you, Duncan. If you’re reading this I want you to know just that. I love you with all my heart, my boy. I truly do.

solidbond

Good thoughts by everyone and thanks for helping me sort some things out in my own head.

The one thing that keeps bugging me is when Stevens/Sean looks at Christina and sees here image breaking down. That’s sim which means it’s not real, right? Is the actually in the past or not? That’s where the sort of cop out comes in because you have the folks at Nellis saying “it’s complicated.” But that must be the whole point. What is reality and what isn’t? It’s up to us to decided. It reminds me a lot of Lost. As the audience, we are active participants in shaping what the story is and how it plays out.

The Hank

I believe that an alternate reality was created where two Captain Coulter’s still exists. The old reality Captain Coulter dies when Goodwin pulls the plug but Coulter’s consciousness still exists in Sean. Don’t forget in the jump backs Coulter took over Sean’s body. That didn’t change in the final jump. In the parallel reality none of this really has happened and this Coulter has no knowledge of who or what he is. The final message is to let him know that his existence will continue in multiple future parallel realities. The tip off I believe is in the earlier flashbacks that show the “Orb” in Millennium Park in Chicago which is part of the final scene for the new reality for Coulter

damir

The ending is brain damaging. So fuckin original. My quick explanation. I dont know how many will agree but this is how i see it. Sean is not Sean anymore, he is Colter Stevens. Colter in Sean’s body knows that his real body is in that capsule. The original Colter (died in a helicopter crash) which lays in the capsule has no idea about Sean. His memory will be cleared and he will be on a different mission, possibly creating another world in which he might be somebody else, maybe me or you…

Darkmwar

“Meanwhile, somewhere, the real Sean is alive, and maybe is even having coffee with the real Christina, but there is no Stevens inside his head. And the epilogue is in the same world as that real Sean and Christina wandering around either together or apart.”

That part of your interpretation isnt what ive been thinking of.

Sean and Christina are both dead already. The scene after the last eighth minute is exatly the afterlife. Or atleast what Steven’s head wants himself to be. So allthese isnt real. We are inside his head. Therefore, Sean and Christina is DEAD. SAD

Erik

Afterlife is a complete cop out ending and makes zero sense.

DJT

I came to almost the same conclusion as you Chris. However, I think even the text message to Goodwin was part of Stevens’ heaven. He saw a lot of the people and surrounding in the Operation Center, esp. when his camera was whipped around as the Doctor was getting annoyed with him; so his mind could recreate what he that was the Op Center in his heaven (and even his jump from being with Christina to watching Goodwin get his text… like we can do in our dreams). All this would feed into the popular idea in movies that we create our own wonderful heaven. This interpretation does not involve anytime travel (or parallel realities) and therefore no paradoxes. It is all as the Doctor said… no effecting reality, because he was not really changing the past. All he was doing was exploring around in the dead Sean’s 8 minute memory.

My only problem with this how could Sean’s 8 minute afterglow brain capture have collected information on the bomb, the bad guy’s name and van tags… it would imply that our brains can collect information of our surrounding without 5 senses perceiving it. I don’t like that idea… but it may be easier then accepting the idea of travel travel to past events. We only use 10% of our brain, right? Suppose the other 90% goes off and collects info that our 5 senses did not pick up!

Cool Movie! It really allows lots of thought.

Nix

I’m glad I ran across this since I was fuzzy on the very last part. At the “Cloud Gate” (I had no clue where that was till now) what reflection did he see of himself in the sculpture? I was wondering if he saw Sean still or himself. It would be pretty wild if he saw himself instead of Sean.

tris

I thought that by sending Goodwin the message, Colter was saying the source code worked brilliantly. However, he also asked Goodwin to “help” Colter. I think that means he wants Goodwin to terminate Colter’s life support (he’s died enough deaths, after all, one soldier to another).

So no Colter in the box at the end and I guess Colter’s consciousness get’s Sean’s body and life. Sean, effectively dies. Or does he???

jd

The scene at the end of the film was ‘flashed’ during the ‘jump’ montage after he altered the scenario and was killed by the oncoming train. They say he had 8 minutes each time, but it seemed like he had more time each time he altered the outcome and he had to ‘die’ each time before he went back into his ‘box.’ His life would ‘flash’ by on his return. He recognized the monument at the end of the film because it flashed before his eyes more than once. How would you account for this in your theory?

The antagonist told him that they were in hell. How does hell factor into your theory?

Could this movie contain a coded message? Could the story be an allegory for something else entirely?

jrwt

I like your explanation of Stevens using his eight minutes as an afterglow in death. But what if part of his left over consciousness really did meld with Sean Fentress after so many repeated jumps into Sean, Stevens consciousness takes over. Again it doesn’t make sense that Sean and Christina are just together in an alternate reality since Sean/Colter looks at his watch after the freeze. He knows he should be non existent but he isn’t he’s with the women he wanted to be with. It’s funny that he didn’t chose to be with his father, instead he basically lets go of his old life to be Sean Fentress.

Anime Nut

I’ll take it one crazy step further.

Every time Colter “leaps” back into Sean’s body, he is literally creating and living in an alternate, parallel reality. This is suggested by the final scene, in which we finally see an alternate scenario that Colter/Sean does not appear in. Since it happens outside of his POV, there’s the implication that this is really happening… at least, in this alternate reality.

Now, Colter/Sean asks Goodwin to help the comatose Colter when his time comes to avert a crisis. He also asks her to tell him one thing: “Everything is gonna be all right.” I’ve only seen the movie once, so I may be wrong here. But I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Goodwin says to Colter the first time he wakes up in the pod. If that’s the case, then the ending of Source Code implies that a similar scenario already happened BEFORE we begin the movie. In other words, what we thought was the “real” world may actually be ANOTHER alternate reality that was created. This would make Source Code a new telling of the classic Time Loop Scenario, one in which different events always lead to the same conclusion.

At least, that’s how I saw it.

Carpie2112

I had a few thoughts on the ending…

First, if you are to take the events as actually happening (or as you dubbed the ‘incorrect explanations’) then Sean Fentress sure gets screwed.

My interpretation is very similar to yours in that I also believe that when time freezes Stevens dies in the ‘primary narrative reality’ and then all the subsequent events that follow FOR HIM are just in his brain’s 8 minute afterglow…

BUT since he was successful in averting the disaster in the 8 minutes before the freeze/death – during which he called Goodwin – he still creates this secondary reality and therefore is back in the military base awaiting his ‘first’ source code mission (and nicely setting up a potential sequel).

Which also means in this new reality Christina and the real Sean are probably having coffee somewhere and the old (still existent) reality also continues with everyone on the train dead, stevens dead and source code pretty much dead too… BUT this reality is of little consequence to us now.

Does that make any sense?

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