Duncan Jones’ new movie Mute hits Netflix today. And answers a question fans have been asking since Jones teased it many moons ago. Which is what part the character Sam Bell plays in the futuristic sci-fi feature.
Bell was the protagonist of Duncan’s debut Moon, and with Mute taking place in the same celluloid universe, Jones has been teasing his presence in the new film for years. And now we know just how the character is involved.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION however, as the following features SPOILERS for both Mute and Moon.
Who is Sam Bell?
Played by Sam Rockwell in the 2009 movie Moon, Bell is living a seriously solitary existence on the far side of the moon, where he has been mining helium-3. But following an accident in his lunar rover, Bell wakes up in the space station’s sick bay, with another Sam Bell standing over him.
Turns out the Sam Bell we are watching is simply a clone of the original Sam Bell. One of many who have been working on the moon for years. So our Sam Bell hatches a plan to get back to earth so he can expose Lunar Industries, the shady organization that has overseen the project.
The film ends with Bell making it onto a transport bound for earth, while over the credits we hear news broadcasts reporting that he made it back and laid bare the company’s unethical practices. With Lunar Industries stock plummeting as a result.
Does Sam Bell Appear in ‘Mute’?
While Sam Bell isn’t an active character in Mute, he does appear multiple times in the background of the movie, which is set 11 years after the events of Moon. Early in proceedings, his face pops up on a whole bunch of digital adverts saying ‘Free the 156’ — a reference to the clones that have presumably been imprisoned since Moon Sam Bell’s arrival back on earth.
His next appearance comes on a cafe’s TV. The channel is set to ‘Spiegel’ while the text reads: “The 156 face their maker — Lunar Industries ex-employee questioned by panel in presence of scores of clones.” Onscreen we see a whole heap of Sam Bells as a voice says, “We’re trying to keep this as relaxed as possible Mr. Bell. You can stand, you can be seated, it really doesn’t matter.”
Meanwhile, the Sams themselves all start to bicker. “I’ll sit. I’ll stand. I mean I’ll sit,” says one as another responds, “Just do something man!” They then argue about the name Sam Bell, before one of them can be heard exclaiming, “Shut the f–k up!”
Our final glimpse at the character comes in a hotel room where several Sam Bells again appear on TV, this time very probably outside the court. Trouble is, we can’t hear what they are saying, so have no idea regarding the outcome of the case, or whether the 156 have indeed been freed. Though to be honest, none of the Sam Bells look particularly happy.
What About Lunar Industries and Gerty?
That there bowling ball features a smily face. The same smily face that Gerty — Sam Bell’s robot companion — uses to make him feel a little less lonely on the moon. Gerty ends up being the hero of that film, and its nice to see the smile making a brief appearance here.
While it’s unclear if we see any Lunar Industries employees during Mute, the company does itself make an appearance. Late in the film, a car stops at a charging station that is owned by — you guessed it — Lunar Industries. Though we’ve no idea if there are a bunch of Sam Bells manning the joint inside.
And if you want a final, more tenuous link to the 2009 film, when Mute begins, the logo for production company Liberty Films appears onscreen, and a couple of notes from Clint Mansell’s amazing Moon score can be heard.
Mute is currently streaming on Netflix.