Stowaway has landed on Netflix but the sci-fi thriller’s ending has left fans with questions and needs to be explained. Does Anna Kendrick’s Zoe die?
If being stuck at home over the last year has felt claustrophobic, imagine how accidental stowaway Michael Adams felt when he woke up aboard a spaceship on a two-year mission to Mars.
That’s the plot of Netflix’s newest sci-fi thriller, Stowaway, which stars Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette as two of the film’s main protagonists.
Agonisingly, the fate of the film’s characters is left up in the air for much of its runtime meaning the ending of Stowaway needs to be explained.
*WARNING: Spoilers ahead*
Stowaway on Netflix
Stowaway arrived on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in Canada on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021.
Starring Anna Kendrick, Toni Collete, Daniel Dae Kim and Shamier Anderson, Stowaway tells the story of a space mission to Mars where an accidental stowaway (hence the title) is discovered aboard the ship several hours after takeoff.
However, there isn’t enough fuel for the crew to turn around and must continue their mission but it quickly becomes clear that there aren’t enough resources for everyone onboard.
Stowaway’s ending explained
Only a few hours into the Kingfisher rocket’s mission to Mars, the ship’s crew discovers an accidental stowaway aboard the ship.
Michael Adams is injured and unconscious and his discovery accidentally damages the ship’s CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) life support system and breaks the arm of ship commander Marina Barnett.
The damaged life support system means that there won’t be enough oxygen onboard the ship to last the two-year mission to Mars.
Faced with a fatal dilemma, Marina thinks the best action to take is to kill Michael so that there is enough oxygen but after learning that the stowaway has a dependent sister back on Earth, Anna Kendrick’s Zoe is not willing to let that happen.
A solution to the agonising problem presents itself in the external oxygen tank that was used to fire the ship into orbit during takeoff. The only issue is that it requires a perilous 450-meters along the tethers.
Zoe and David are eventually given the go-ahead to check the tank, Marina can’t due to her arm and Michael hasn’t had the correct training to perform an EVA spacewalk.
Miraculously, there’s over 500 litres of liquid oxygen left, more than enough to keep the crew topped up for the remainder of the mission.
However, as Zoe and David fill up a pair of oxygen canisters, a solar storm warning sounds and the two must return to the Kingfisher, bringing one full canister and abandoning the other while the hurried departure means the oxygen tank is now left with a leak.
On the journey back, however, Zoe loses control of the full canister and it floats off into space.
There is little choice left but for someone to go back out into the deadly solar radiation in order to fill another canister and while Michael and David volunteer, Zoe is the one elected to go.
Despite suffering heavily from the solar radiation, Zoe manages to fill up an oxygen canister and bring it back to the ship but in doing so, she’s sacrificed herself and shares a final look with Marina through the ship’s window just before the credits roll.
Does Anna Kendrick’s Zoe die?
- It’s not shown on screen but yes, Anna Kendrick’s Zoe almost certainly dies in Stowaway.
As Marina warns when the solar storm is about to hit, the radiation would be deadly for anyone caught in it.
Unfortunately, due to having to go back out into space to retrieve more oxygen, Anna Kendrick’s character Zoe receives a fatal dose of said solar radiation.
After lowering the full canister of oxygen into the airlock, Zoe sits on the Kingfisher’s hull and gazes off into space where a little orange spec can be seen in the distance, Mars.
As the film ends, we hear a clip from Zoe’s interview for the mission where she can be heard saying: “But now I realise that this is one of those rare opportunities that could truly give my life meaning beyond anything I could imagine.”
This plays at a poignant moment as Zoe has given up her life so that her crewmates and possibly humanity can have a chance at life on Mars.
However, the film ends before we see what fate befalls Zoe’s crewmates so we never actually know if Zoe’s sacrifice was worth it in the end.
Stowaway is available to stream now on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in Canada after releasing on April 22nd, 2021.