Nope. That word describes our feelings about adulting but Nope is also the name of Jordan Peele’s very mysterious upcoming film. Until now, we have known virtually nothing about the latest offering in Peele’s cinematic universe, which includes Us and Get Out. (The man has a penchant for films with very direct names, obviously.) After a year of speculating about that weird cloud in the poster and wondering how stars Steven Yeun, Keke Palmer, and Daniel Kaluuya come together, we finally have a glimpse of them in the Nope trailer. Do we get any answers about what’s going down? No? Is it baffling enough to have our complete attention? Yes.
Before the clip sent the internet into a frenzy on Super Bowl Sunday, we got the tiniest look at the three main stars in a teaser on Nope’s official website. The majority of the clip took a look back at the horrors that Us and Get Out delivered to the world with some pretty cool split screen action. And, if you keep your eyes open, you see Yeun, Palmer, and Kaluuya at the very end of the clip. Don’t ya just love the vague terror all over their faces?
So, what do we learn in the Nope trailer? Here’s what goes down. Keke Palmer’s character (no one’s name is clear) is the great-great-great granddaughter of a horse rider who was in an assembly of the first photographs that were spliced together to form a motion picture. Now, she continues to carry on that legacy at the Haywood Ranch, the only Black-owned horse training ranch in Hollywood. The isolated ranch seems to only have three residents, which is where the other two main characters come into play.
Interestingly, the main house looks a lot like the one in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a 1977 Spielberg movie where a man’s life changes after encountering a UFO as he pursues the truth. Hmm. Things start off pretty light but get intense when Kaluuya’s character spots something odd near the horizon. He asks two questions that will surely play a crucial role in this film’s narrative: “What’s a bad miracle? We got a word for that?”
We see a small glimpse of a Yeun’s character, who appears to be a rodeo entertainer/ringleader of some sort but he doesn’t even speak in this trailer. Some interesting imagery pops up as well, including a series of barely flailing inflatable arm people falling to the ground in sequence. They are colorful, much like that scary cloud’s trail of flags and possibly a sign that the business isn’t doing great. There’s also a litany of toys that look like they may have some sort of alien heads, perhaps confirming that there are aliens. We also see a craft of some sort too and several clouds that mean bad business as well as a woman whose veil lifts to show her face, which appears to have burns. In the end, Palmer’s character is swept into the sky and, well, who knows what happens to her next.
Over all of this is yet another scary take on a classic Black tune, a hallmark of Peele’s work. It is specifically “Fingertips” by Stevie Wonder, a 1963 hit song that he performed very early in his Motown career as a kid. The song uses a call-and-response, which is a pillar in Black churches and music, where he tells everyone to say “yeah,” which is clearly the opposite of nope.
Wonder tells people to clap their hands louder and says he hopes they had a good time and, well, this doesn’t seem to apply here. Is there some weird alternate universe stuff going on? A classic alien invasion? Deeper commentary about Palmer’s grandfather and how his real-life history (along with many other Black folks) was erased? We don’t know but cannot wait to find out.
Peele also gave Super Bowl watchers an additional treat with a special teaser. We see much of the same footage…except one thing. Palmer’s character is standing over top of a grey brick well. There’s a motorbike nearby lying on its side and a flash of light coming from the well’s darkness. Of course, we don’t know what’s happening, but we will take every crumb we can get.
Nope hits theaters on July 22 and, based on that wild trailer, it is set to be yet another dramatic Jordan Peele horror hit.