Mute: The Moon reference featuring Sam Rockwell in Duncan Jones Netflix 'spiritual sequel' explained

Jacob Stolworthy

Filmmaker Duncan Jones today (23 February) unveiled Mute, his big-budget “spiritual sequel” to Moon, on Netflix.

Set in a futuristic Berlin 40 years from now, the film follows Alexander Skarsgård’s Amish bartender who searches the German city for his missing girlfriend.

Jones confirmed that the film, which also stars Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, was set in the same world as 2009 drama Moon, something that only becomes apparent in one rather fleeting throwaway scene.

The moment occurs during a scene featuring Skarsgård character, Leo Beiler, in a cafe as a news report plays behind him on a channel named Spiegel TV showing a courtroom filled with multiple versions of Sam Rockwell's lead character, Sam Bell (we count 27).


“My name is Sam Bell,” one version tells a boardroom director as another jumps up behind shouting, “So is mine, pal.”

It seems that we're seeing an example of the news reports viewers hear at the very end of Moon in which we learn Bell testifies on Lunar industries' unethical activities which no doubt went on to whip up a huge controversy upon his return to Earth.

The yellow-faced logo depicting Bell's robot companion GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) can also be glimpsed in the background throughout the film.

Moon - Jones' directorial debut - followed Rockwell's character towards the end of his three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the moon.

Unlike that film's critical response, however, Mute's early reviews are not looking good, the first batch of reviews praising the visuals - with multiple comparisons to Blade Runner 2049 - but criticising the pacing, plot, and unbalanced handling of weighty subject material including a sub-plot on pedophilia.

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