Ad Astra Ending explanation: Lima Project, Roy’s true mission

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Ad Astra is available on Amazon Prime Video! If you want to know the explanation of the ending, keep reading! Most of the duration of Ad Astra is dedicated to Pitt’s character, Roy McBride, as he tries to fulfill the task set by the United States Space Command: send a message to the far reaches of the Milky Way in an attempt to lure his father, Clifford McBride, for him to come home.

Clifford left Roy at age 29, before the film begins, to lead the Lima Project, a project to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. All communications between Earth and the Lima Project, whose crew stationed near Neptune to carry out their research, ceased 16 years after the mission began. For all Amazon Prime releases, it’s here.

When SpaceCom thinks Clifford might be alive, they recruit Roy, who has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a model astronaut, to essentially serve as bait to get Daddy McBride back to Earth. Here is the explanation of the end of Ad Astra!


Understanding the complex journeys of Roy and Clifford is essential to understanding the ad astra ending. Simply, father and son reunite, fulfilling their common goal of saving humanity. The older McBride goes missing and the young men return home changed. It’s a pretty standard ending, one that many probably wanted from a more metaphysical sci-fi like Interstellar.

Except, as we know, neither man is really himself. Roy begins to lose himself in the loneliness of traveling billions of miles through the solar system. Constantly reflecting on his father and coming out of his shell.

And though Clifford, by his own admission, has never really cared for his loved ones. Isolation has alienated him from the member of society that he once seemed to be. This distinction is crucial. They are in a similar situation because of similar experiences.

But the son is only there to follow his father. He has tried to be the best he can be even if he isn’t. When he sees his father, a man who has suffered and fought and who is a far cry from the hero he has been indoctrinated to believe with his dogmatic approach to the alien paradox. Roy is able to quantify his losses and understand them.

At the end of Ad Astra, Clifford also acknowledges his woes in his own way, being comforted by his son about the supposed failure of the Lima Project, before literally letting himself go. He recognizes that there is nothing for him on Earth and seems to have at least some conscious acceptance of the ill effects of his actions, thus freeing himself from his son.

It is a symbolic detachment, a cutting of the invisible cord that has kept Roy totally dependent on his father. Of course, at this point the son has already come out of that shadow, it is pure imagery.

Finally, Ad Astra it ends with one last twist of fatherly trust, with Roy using a lock on his father’s ship to protect him as he escapes to Cepheus through Neptune’s rings. And use the subsequent explosion as propulsion to return to Earth. He returns home with a newfound respect for the world around him, accepting his place in the universe and reuniting with his ex-wife.

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