Wild 'Lucy in the Sky' Trailer Quotes Apollo 11's Michael Collins, Name-Drops Orion

A new trailer for the astronaut thriller "Lucy In The Sky" starring Natalie Portman is here (along with an official release date) and we're getting a few more clues what looks like a wild piece of space fiction. 

"Lucy in the Sky" stars Natalie Portman ("Annihilation") as Lucy Cola, a woman who, according to the official synopsis, goes to space and experiences something so transcendent it makes returning to an earthbound life seem small in comparison. Joining her is Jon Hamm ("Black Mirror"), Nick Offerman ("The Founder"), Zazie Beetz ("Deadpool 2") and Tig Notaro ("Star Trek: Discovery").

Much of that we already knew from the first trailer, which dropped in March and promised a surreal look at an astronaut transformed by her space experience. The new trailer adds a few new details to think on.

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Returning to everyday life after looking at our planet from orbit is a struggle for astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) in the new space thriller "Lucy In The Sky." (Image credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

First, Offerman's character (some sort of therapist?) quotes real-life Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins — who remained in lunar orbit alone as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic first human moon landing in 1969 — while talking with Cola on her spaceflight experience. 

"'I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it,'" Offerman quotes from Collins. (Collins wrote that note on the solitude of spaceflight in his autobiography "Carrying the Fire," which FSG re-released this year.)

So it seems Cola has a lot on her mind from her spaceflight. 

Second, Cola really wants to get back into space. As the trailer continues, we see her training for a future spaceflight, seemingly arm-in-arm and then at odds with Hamm's Mark Goodwin. And then we hear it: "I'm pulling you out of the running for Orion," says Frank Paxton (portrayed by Colman Domingo), who's apparently some sort of flight coordinator.

Orion! It seems no coincidence Cola is vying for a spot in Orion. After all, Orion IS the name of NASA's new spacecraft, the core transportation vehicle to fly astronauts back to the moon in 2024 under the agency's real-life Artemis program

It's not clear if the film's Orion program refers to the spacecraft, or a separate program (like NASA's Artemis moon program). We do know that the film does not use NASA's offical logos, suggesting the agency wasn't totally onboard with a film that seemingly depicts the unraveling of an astronaut. 

And now, the release date. 

Per the new trailer, "Lucy In The Sky" will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which begins on Sept. 11. It will then be released in select theatres across the country on Oct.4.

The upcoming release is another reason sci-fi fans should celebrate, for the genre is well and truly back at the forefront of mainstream media. 

We've got the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga coming at the end of the year, along with the very first live-action "Star Wars" show, “The Mandalorian," plus the movie "Ad Astra," so much more "Star Trek," season 2 of "Lost in Space,” season 4 of "The Expanse," Ron Moore’s "For All Mankind" on Apple TV … we've never had it so good.

 Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  

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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.