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Will There Be An Ex Machina 2?

2014's Ex Machina is one of the best science fiction films of its decade, not to mention a slow-burn psychological thriller with more than one trick up its sleeve. It was the directorial debut of Alex Garland, a novelist-turned-filmmaker who had previously penned the scripts for the well-received flicks 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd. He proved to have a sure directorial hand, turning in a picture long on claustrophobic vibes and provocative imagery. The film tells the story of Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson), a programmer for a search engine company who is invited for a week-long stay at the home of the eccentric CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). When Smith arrives, Bateman informs him of the purpose behind the visit: He wants the young programmer to assess Ava (Alicia Vikander), a humanoid android he's built, which appears to have true artificial intelligence. Smith's interactions both with Ava and her creator, however, begin to edge into disturbing territory as it becomes clear that someone isn't telling him the whole story.

The final act of Ex Machina is full of twists, but its conclusion (spoiler alert) seemed like it would be the perfect setup for a sequel. The film ends with Ava, having successfully manipulated Caleb into helping her escape (and kill Nathan in the process), being whisked away from her creator's home by the helicopter intended to transport Caleb at the end of his stay. With the assistance of a wig and some clothes that sufficiently cover her mechanical parts, she's able to pass as human — and as the film ends, she disappears into a crowd, heading off toward an unknown destination.

It doesn't look like Ex Machina 2 is in the cards

It's certainly tough to picture a sequel to Ex Machina without Garland as its driving creative force, and in a January 2015 interview with Digital Spy, the director revealed that he has a slight aversion not just to the idea of continuing his breakout film's story, but to sequels in general. "I actually find it quite hard to imagine going back to any story I've worked on in the past, personally," the director said. "I worked on 28 Days Later ... and then there was a sequel to it, and broadly speaking that was made by another group of people, and I didn't really personally want to be too involved."

Okay, but what about that ending? It certainly seemed pretty clear that it was setting up a new avenue for Ava's story to continue, and it's not like fans didn't notice. In a chat later in 2015 with Deadline, Garland acknowledged this, while throwing an entire bucket of cold water on the notion of Ex Machina 2. "I imagined it as a completely self-contained story, and I still feel that way about it," he explained. "It has become reflexive for people to imagine [that] this movie was made to set up a sequel, and that the plan was built into the structure of the film. But it was not that way, at all."

Indeed, if Garland has had any second thoughts about the matter since then, he hasn't made them apparent. He followed up Ex Machina with the similarly critically adored Annihilation in 2018 (which Garland has also said will not be getting the sequel treatment), jumped right from that into writing and directing the acclaimed Hulu original series Devs, and according to his IMDb page, he's currently attached to a pair of feature film projects — neither of which is Ex Machina 2

It looks like that flick will remain a singularly unique one, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing.