Forget the Earth's moon: Mankind takes a really giant leap in Netflix's trailer for the dystopian sci-fi thriller IO — only, in this case, the space voyage is about survival, not exploration. As explained in the preview's onscreen text: "In the near future, Earth will become toxic. Humanity will flee to Jupiter's moon, Io." As haunting images of a desolate, post-apocalyptic Earth flash in the trailer for the movie (available to stream on Jan. 18), a narrator ominously notes, "Scientists predicted what would happen... But it was too late."
An unseen man named Dr. Walden further notes in a radio broadcast that "the world we once called home appears to have turned against us." He also adds the following sage assessment: "The fundamental principle of nature is survival. It is in our soul to seek life no matter what."
The first character who viewers meet is the doctor's daughter Sam Walden (played by The Leftovers actor Margaret Qualley), who's taking to the airwaves herself via an old school radio asking, "if anyone can hear this broadcast, I'm still on Earth." And judging by the fact she's stranded all alone (and often clad in a hazmat suit), being the seemingly last woman on Earth doesn't seem to be going so well.
Lucky for Sam, someone did hear her radio transmission, and that someone was a "complicated and mysterious refugee" named Micah (Anthony Mackie). Arriving via an enclosed air balloon (to protect himself from the fatally toxic environments, of course), Micah informs his new companion that "it's the same everywhere" and that he's en route to the "final shuttle off Earth." Just to add to the drama, said final shuttle is leaving in 48 hours.
But Sam doesn't seem so keen on the idea of leaving Earth behind for good, as she appears to be following in her scientist father's footsteps and thinks she can rehabilitate the planet. "For my dad, leaving was just a last resort," she says. Micah warns her that her blind optimism could prove deadly, as he's seen "dozens of people starve to death because of hope" and "won't make the same mistake twice."
That was enough for Sam, who begins planning a treacherous, potentially lethal journey that involves a potentially impossible overnight stay in "the toxic zone," as Sam calls it. "We mess up and we die," Micah tells her in the IO trailer. (Sounds a bit like Netflix other recent sci-fi flick, the uber successful Bird Box.)
If your heart wasn't already racing (the quickly speeding-up beeping noise doesn't help that either), an infuriated Micah announces to Sam that "they moved the launch site" and that they're "stuck here." As Sam replies as the suspenseful trailer reaches a fever pitch in its final moments: "We can make it ... Trust me."
In the montage of flashing images shown in the sneak peek, it would be difficult to not also notice a moment where it seems as if the relationship between Sam and Micah — you guessed it — turns romantic at some point. This scene's particular moment shows the pair standing close together, face to face, as Sam places her hand on her fellow survivalist's chest.
For Mackie, the story really has a lot to do with love anyway, though not necessarily of the romantic variety. "The idea of selflessness, the idea of love. I keep saying love, but it’s not really a love story," the Avengers: Infinity War actor recently told Nerdist. "It is a story about two people who are willing to sacrifice for each other. What are you willing to sacrifice for those people that you say you love? People always say “I’ll die for you” and I’m like “Oh sh*t, that’s the easy way out! I want you to survive for me! I want you to suffer through this sh*t with me!”
Sci-fi fans will certainly be excited to go on that journey with them when IO premieres on Jan. 18.