Epic 'Ad Astra' Trailer Features Moon Buggy Chase and Outer Solar System

The first trailer looked amazing. The second trailer left us wanting more. Now, the third, Imax-edition trailer for "Ad Astra" makes the film seem like the cinematic sci-fi event of the year.

In the upcoming movie, set to release Sept. 20, Brad Pitt plays Roy McBride, an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of life as we know it.

"I am attempting to stop an uncontrolled antimatter reaction … that threatens our entire solar system," Pitt's character says in the latest trailer. 

Ad Astra" looks like it could be the cinematic sci-fi event of the year. (Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

In the third trailer, we see a sizeable base on the moon, complete with a DHL facility and a "Vegas Vic" neon sign. We also see Pitt make a pit stop at Mars (see what we did there?) as he makes his way to the outer edge of the solar system. And, of course, the trailer features a space elevator that appears to explode, sending Pitt into a free fall back to Earth.

This trailer is action-packed and includes what looks like a thrilling, life-or-death car chase in moon buggies across the dusty lunar surface. The speeding astronauts shoot at each other from the rovers.

A moon base appears in the sci-fi film "Ad Astra," complete with a DHL facility and a "Vegas Vic" neon sign. (Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

"Ad Astra" will feature "the most realistic depiction of space travel that's been put in a movie," Director James Gray said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival. Gray also described the film as "sort of like if you got 'Apocalypse Now' and '2001' in a giant mashup and you put a little [Joseph] Conrad in there."

The inspiration from "Apocalypse Now" is apparent as Pitt (Capt. Willard in this scenario) watches the last recordings his father ever made and asks, "What did he find out there ... in the abyss?"

In a priceless moment at the end of the trailer, Jones even sounds like Marlon Brando (Col. Kurtz) as he says, "The world awaits our discovery, my son."

"Ad Astra" is Latin for "to the stars." It's often used as a shorthand for "ad astra per aspera," which means "to the stars through difficulties."

The movie will have its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy, which begins on Aug. 28. "Ad Astra" also stars Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga and will be released  to the public on Sept. 20. The film's initial May release date was delayed because of The Walt Disney Co. buyout of Twentieth Century Fox.

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Scott Snowden

When Scott's application to the NASA astronaut training program was turned down, he was naturally upset...as any 6-year-old boy would be. He chose instead to write as much as he possibly could about science, technology and space exploration. He graduated from The University of Coventry and received his training on Fleet Street in London. He still hopes to be the first journalist in space.