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What Altered Carbon's Joel Kinnaman Really Thinks About Resleeving

Netflix's sci-fi series Altered Carbon had a brief but solid run, lasting for two seasons and inspiring a spin-off anime film that premiered just after the series was canceled in 2020. While the show may not have covered as much ground as the trilogy of books that inspired it, Altered Carbon did demonstrate that Netflix had the tools to develop a complex, high concept sci-fi world.

At the center of Altered Carbon's story was a mechanic called resleeving. In the show's dystopian future, the world's elite store their memories and personalities on devices called cortical stacks. Once an individual's consciousness is stored on a cortical stack, it can be inserted into a sleeve, either another human being or an artificial cyborg construct. Once the cortical stack is attached to the sleeve, an individual is resleeved and takes complete control over the entity.

Resleeving is both the story device that sends main character Takeshi Kovacs into Altered Carbon's world to investigate an attempted murder and the source of the massive wealth disparity that drives conflict in the show's dystopian future. Joel Kinnaman, who played Takeshi Kovacs before leaving ahead of the second season of Altered Carbon, shared his real thoughts on resleeving.

Joel Kinnaman thinks he would have a hard time saying no to resleeving

In the run-up to the release of Altered Carbon's first season, Joel Kinnaman hit the press circuit to promote the series and explain the show's premise. While fielding questions about Altered Carbon, Kinnaman didn't shy away from sharing his thoughts about what he would do if he were given the opportunity to be resleeved.

In an interview with NME, Kinnaman said, "if you asked me if would I do it, like, resleeve myself and get to continue to live – I think I would have a really hard time saying no." In a separate interview with Ahlan Live, Kinnaman even elaborated on how he would spend that extra time, explaining, "I would put almost all of it into saving the oceans." However, Kinnaman stated that he was well aware of the stakes that resleeving represents, saying, "But I really do think that it would be bad for society: it's a world where Donald Trump would live forever, and if that ain't a nightmare then I don't know what is." Beyond that, Kinnaman states that resleeving in Altered Carbon represents "an exaggeration of the problems we have in society today, where there's an extreme wealth inequality" (via NME).

Ultimately, Kinnaman seems to appreciate the appeal of the hypothetical immortality that resleeving could offer while keeping in mind the dark parts of the process that Altered Carbon explores.