J.J. Abrams is on a success streak, having produced two recent critical and commercial hits, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and 10 Cloverfield Lane. But the acclaimed producer/director is already working on his next project, which will be a science fiction thriller called God Particle. The biggest roles have already been cast, and they include Selma star David Oyelowo and Concussion star Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
According to The Wrap, the film will be directed by Julius Onah with a script originally penned by Oren Uziel and rewritten by Doug Jung. J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot has worked with Jung in the past on another successful sci-fi movie, Star Trek Beyond. J.J. Abrams will be partnering with Bryan Burk to produce God Particle, which is slated for release on February 24, 2017.
But the most exciting news surrounding the project so far is the casting of its two highly revered actors. David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be playing American astronauts who escaped from Earth before its destruction. Early plot details say that David Oyelowo and the other members of his team must struggle to survive in space after making “a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality.”
But the greatest threat comes not from the dangers of space itself, but from another crew of astronauts from a foreign nation who also managed to survive the end of the world. Collider predicts that David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw could be stuck on a space shuttle for the entire film in what is considered a “contained thriller” much like 10 Cloverfield Lane, which takes place entirely inside a bunker.
The title God Particle is a reference to the Large Hadron Collider, which was a massive scientific facility built at CERN with the purpose of detecting the Higgs boson — a previously undetected elementary particle of physics that essentially explains why fundamental particles have mass. The “God particle” became a nickname for the elusive Higgs boson that has since stuck, despite the fact that many physicists reject the name.
The plot of the God Particle film actually revolves around the Large Hadron Collider, which some people believed had the power to create black holes or otherwise destroy the Earth. In the film, the particle accelerator does exactly that, and David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are two of very few who make it out alive.
According to The Verge, J.J. Abrams made a recent promise to make more diverse casting decisions in future movies, including hiring more non-white actors and more women. Casting David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw appears to be a pointed effort to follow through on that commitment. This vow came on the heels of the Oscar controversy, which featured virtually no nominees of color.
In response, J.J. Abrams sent a memo to various studios and agents declaring that Bad Robot will hereby make an effort to “be at the very least representative of the country we live in. Which roughly breaks down to: 50 percent women, 12 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian,” according to the New York Times.
David Oyelowo is a classically trained theater actor who was born in Oxford, England. He already has some experience in the sci-fi genre, having played a small role in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw was also born in Oxford, England, and has some sci-fi experience under her belt as well, having appeared in 2015’s Jupiter Ascending.
Are you excited to see David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in God Particle?
(Photos by Ethan Miller and Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)