Hulu's Palm Springs Ending Is Pretty Trippy — Let's Break Down What Happened
Hulu's Palm Springs is a wacky comedy filled with hilarious adventures, but we wouldn't expect anything less from a Lonely Island production. The film stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as two wedding guests named Nyles and Sarah who accidentally get stuck in a time loop when they happen upon a mysterious cave. As they're forced to live the same day over and over again, they wind up falling for each other in the process. Despite all the crazy situations they get themselves into, the most intriguing part of the film happens at the end.
After studying quantum physics, Sarah comes up with a plan that may or may not get them out of the time loop for good: they have to blow themselves up in the mysterious cave before the day resets. Although Nyles isn't convinced at first, having grown content with the time loop, he decides to jump all in with Sarah . . . literally. At the end of the film, it appears that Sarah and Nyles have successfully made their way out of the time loop as the owners of the vacant pool they were hanging out at finally return home. However, as the shot pulls out, we get a glimpse of dinosaurs walking around in the distance, just like the ones Sarah and Nyles saw earlier in the film.
So, what really happened at the end of the movie? Well, unfortunately, there isn't a clear-cut answer. "The intention was always to create an ending that was open to interpretation, where you could arrive at different conclusions about what had happened depending on how you were looking at the world, whether that was in a more optimistic or a more cynical light," director Max Barbakow told Los Angeles Times. "I think we all think different things happen after we pull away from that pool. That's the fun of it. Whatever you wanted to get out of an ending, you can get out of it."
"We definitely talked about the ending a lot," Samberg added. "There were many iterations written and even many iterations shot and cut together and screened for small friends-and-family screenings. We didn't want the ending to feel saccharine, like, 'Yay, everything works out!' That felt untrue to the tone of the movie and the promise you had made with the characters. But at the same time you don't want to end on a note that's bitter and depressing. It was a delicate balance."
Though the cast and creators won't reveal what actually happened, we certainly have a few theories. Read ahead for our thoughts on that intriguing ending.
Did Nyles and Sarah Break the Time Loop?
As the owners of the vacant pool return home, Nyles looks at Sarah and says, "I guess they come back November 10," leading fans to believe they were able to make it to the next day. Though it's definitely a happy ending, something about the scene seems a little too perfect. After all the crazy adventures Nyles and Sarah got themselves into trying to get out of the time loop, was the answer really as simple as learning quantum physics? We're not buying it.
Did Nyles and Sarah Get Stuck in Another Time Loop?
Perhaps instead of making it out of the time loop, Nyles and Sarah accidentally put themselves in a new one. We know that the day is now Nov. 10, but we don't really know what happens after they get caught hanging out in someone else's pool. Maybe the dinosaurs in the distance signify that no matter what, Nyles and Sarah are destined to live out their lives together in a weird circle of time.
Did Nyles and Sarah Create an Alternate Dimension?
As if the ending wasn't confusing enough, there is a midcredits scene with Roy (J. K. Simmons) that has us questioning everything. After receiving a voicemail from Sarah, Roy makes his way back to the wedding and asks Nyles if he thinks her theory about the cave would actually work. However, Nyles has no idea who he is. Does this mean Nyles made his way back to reality and is now an interchangeable part of Roy's time loop or does Nyles now exist in some alternate dimension? We're not quite sure, but we wouldn't be opposed to a sequel to see how it all plays out.