Amazon Prime Video’s original sci-fi action thriller, The Tomorrow War, turns Chris Pratt into a time travelling soldier as humanity journeys to 2051 to try and win a hopeless war against an alien species known as The Whitestripes.
The plot opens in 2022 where a high-school biology teacher and former military man, Dan Forester (Pratt) is unable to secure his dream job at a prestigious science research facility. As he sits next to his wife, Emmy (Betty Gilpin), and daughter, Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), to watch the FIFA World Cup, soldiers from the year 2051 teleport onto the pitch with a critical message for humanity.
While the world looks on via their TV screens, the soldiers reveal that an alien species known as the Whitestripes invade the planet in 2048 and wipe out almost all of humanity within three years. They further state that the future war will be lost unless humans from 2022 join in to aid survival.
This prompts the world’s militaries to collaborate and travel to the future war via a portal known as the Jumplink, however, the seven day mandatory deployment sees less than 20% of the soldiers returning. Owing to this dire situation, the world’s governments agree on civilian war drafting, causing severe unrest and anti-war protests.
Dan eventually ends up getting drafted as well, and is told that his future says he will be dead in seven years. He demands to know how but gets no answers. In conversation with a fellow draftee, Charlie (Sam Richardson), he deduces that to avoid a paradox, all draftees are already dead in the future they are travelling to.
An attack on a research facility in the future forces the new batch of recruits to be sent to the war in Miami Beach, but most of them die as the Jumplink malfunctions, transporting them hundreds of feet above the city. Dan and a few others survive due to landing in a rooftop swimming pool.
Post a fruitless rescue operation, the group is attacked by a horde of Whitespikes, forcing the defence forces to nuke the city. A lot more recruits perish in the bombing along with the aliens, and the survivors are taken to a remote war facility in the Dominican Republic.
Dan wakes up to meet Col. Forester, who turns out to be his grown up daughter, Muri (Yvonne Strahovski). She isn’t particularly thrilled to see him but invites him along on a mission to capture a rare female Whitespike, whose genetic code may hold the information required to create a toxin for these creatures.
The team suffers casualties but they manage to capture the female alien and fly it to a heavily fortified facility in the ocean, near Port Nelson in the Bahamas where the jump link is also located.
Muri and Dan escape the chaos in a military Hummer and end up on a beach where they await rescue. In the meantime, Dan presses his daughter for answers about what happened to him and she tells him that after he was unable to get his dream job, he became distant and left his family.
He eventually got divorced and then died in a car crash when Muri was 16. She confesses to him that she always wanted to be like her father until he gave up on them and then perished.
Does Dan manage to save humanity’s future and escape his destined fate?
Here is The Tomorrow War ending explained in detail:
The toxin’s true purpose
Back at the facility, Muri manages to extract vials of the female alien’s blood and gets to work to find a potent toxic bond. She eventually apologises to her father for being rude to him and exclaims that she is glad to see him again like she remembered him.
As they finally manage to create a toxin, Muri reveals that she intends Dan to take the vial back to 2022 when his seven days are up, and prevent the invasion from ever happening.
Dan is shocked at this request but Muri tells him that the current timeline has already lost and there is no way to survive for them. She begs him to save humanity and create a new timeline. He tries to talk to her about an alternate method but the female Whitespike wakes up from her sedation as the facility is stormed by hundreds of thousands of aliens.
As they fight their way out of this ambush to get to a chopper, Muri is killed. Before dying, she gives Dan the toxin vial as his seven days run out and he is automatically teleported back home.
In 2022, Dan finds out that the Jumplink was destroyed in the attack and humans cannot travel through time anymore. Devastated, he sets his sights on his new mission and tells his superiors to mass produce the toxin as quickly as they can, knowing that the war can still be won.
Cracking the invasion code
Dan reveals everything about the future war to Emmy who is thrilled to hear about their heroic daughter. The two then sit to brainstorm when the invasion took place. Emmy hypothesises that just because the aliens attacked Russia in 2048, does not mean they arrived that year as well.
The adult Muri mentioned that there was nothing caught on satellites that would hint at a spacecraft entering the atmosphere, hence the duo conclude that the Whitespikes must have landed on earth way before that time.
He meets up with his fellow survivors, Charlie and Dorian, who agree to help him. Dorian wears an alien claw around his neck which Charlie — who has a PhD in Earth and Atmospheric sciences — analyses and reveals that it’s riddled with Volcanic ash from China.
Dan then consults one of his students, Martin, who has an avid interest in volcanoes to theorise how and where Chinese volcanic ash could have ended up in Russia. Martin explains that the only way this could have happened is during the Millennium Eruption in 946 AD. Certain that the aliens landed on earth during that time, they manage to narrow down the potential location.
The reason they didn’t attack till 2048 is because they had to wait for the ice above their craft to thaw out. Dan tries to convince the authorities to sanction a covert mission to seek and destroy the spaceship in Russia. He is obviously denied due to increasing unrest and chaos across the world.
The frosty mission
Deciding to not wait for governments to engage, Dan seeks the help of his estranged father, James (J. K. Simmons), to sneak into Russia for the mission. The duo is joined by Charlie, Dorian, and a few other associates.
They land and navigate the target glacier on snowmobiles for magnetic anomalies. Eventually discovering the area, the group blows up a crater in the ice with explosives. They enter it and discover the ship filled with pods containing dormant Whitespikes.
However, the skeletons of the species piloting the craft are nothing like the ones they’ve been fighting which allows them to conclude that the Whitespikes are just planet clearing weapons of mass destruction used by a much superior alien species who accidentally crash landed on earth.
As the team injects a group of pods with toxin, they shriek in pain and fall out of their pods, disintegrating into muck. Unfortunately, this wakes up the remaining colony of Whitespikes, who attack the group ferociously. Dorian yells at Dan and the others to escape as he blows up the ship with C4, killing himself and all the aliens.
Outside the glacier, James reveals that the female, who had caused so much chaos in the future, has escaped. Knowing that letting her live is not an option, the father-son duo hunt the creature, and after a lethal contest, manage to kill her.
The survivors return home and it is not long before the government takes the responsibility of carrying out the mission, declaring that the threat has been avoided.
In the closing scene, Dan hugs his family and introduces James to the little Muri. He exclaims that that his daughter, in a timeline that will now never come to pass, changed him for the better. He vows to never leave his family for his best future has always been in them.