An Early Guide to 'Tomorrowland,' the Most Secretive Sci-Fi Epic of Next Year

Get ready for what will be the either best or worst kept movie secret of the next two years. Entertainment Weekly reported Monday that Disney's top-secret, George Clooney-starring project will now be called Tomorrowland. Here's everything we think we know.

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Get ready for what will be the either best or worst kept movie secret of the next two years. Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican reported Monday that Disney's top-secret, George Clooney-starring project — previously known as 1952 — will now be called Tomorrowland. But this ain't no theme-park spin-off. With big names attached like director Brad Bird, writers Damon Lindelof and (full disclosure: EW writer) Jeff Jensen, and — oh, yeah — that Clooney guy, chatter is only likely to grow as the film nears its December 2014 release date, and today's news offers an intriguing clue or two (we think) as to what this blockbuster might look like. Here's everything (we think) we know, and what (we think) might get leaked next:

Tomorrowland was inspired by a box
No, really. Apparently Lindelof, he of LostStar Trek, and, uh, Prometheus fame, got a box one day at Disney, then started writing a movie about it. According to a Vulture story from October:

We hear that last spring, when Lindelof had a meeting to discuss the project with Disney’s head of production, Sean Bailey, the Disney exec arranged for Lindelof to be given access to one of the studios odder curiosities: a banker’s box of files and documents that had been left moldering in Walt Disney’s personal development lab, WED Enterprises, which later became the studio’s vaunted Imagineering department.

The box had been labeled That Darn Cat! — after one of the studio's films starring Hayley Mills —but the label had been crossed off and "1952" was written in its place. Last week Lindelof and Bird tweeted pictures of the outside and inside of the box.

Breznican explains that the box contained, in addition to photos of Walt Disney, the book Model Research: The National Advisory Committee For Aeronautics 1918-1958 and a copy of the August 1928 edition of Amazing Stories magazine. Ain't It Cool News speculated that the presence of the Amazing Stories might mean the film has something to do with Buck Rogers, who appears under the name Anthony Rogers in that issue. Of course the box could be merely inspiration in the most abstract sense.

Of course, we wouldn't discount the new title in providing us with new clues, especially given the photos of Disney himself and the date's connection to the Imagineers, who create Disney's attractions. Breznican points out that Disney's Imagineering department was founded in 1952. The park itself, along with Tomorrowland, opened in 1955. One of the most interesting parts of the project so far is its apparent historical bent. Personally we'd love to see something exploring the Cold War-era fascination with space that was so integral to the early Tomorrowland, though Vulture's sources said the film was actually not set in 1952. This definitely seems like more than just a theme park tie-in, but Disney has done good business with that concept before. At least it's not called Space Mountain.

Tomorrowland is not about aliens
Though Steven Spielberg's classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has been thrown around as a reference point, this newfound blockbuster apparently does not have extraterrestrial leanings, at least according to Lindelof's active Twitter feed:

That said, it is being billed as a "sci-fi" story. Think on that. Sci-fi, but no aliens. Also no alien music, we think.

George Clooney is starring
It's as simple as that. Major movie star/Oscar winner/producer George Clooney is attached.

The Life of Pi cinematographer is on board
Claudio Miranda, who was responsible for the cinematography on Life of Pi and TRON:Legacy, is shooting the film. He told Indiewire: "It has these different places and the juxtaposition of a couple of them can be very interesting." Well, that doesn't say much.

We have to wait until December 2014 to see it.
December 19, 2014, to be specific. That's Christmas blockbuster season. It's also Oscar-bait season. Do these guys want more than just a hit? Hopefully.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.