These First Images From ‘Ex Machina’ Director Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation’ Are Stunning

By July 7, 2016

Director Alex Garland released one of the best films of the decade in 2015 with Ex Machina, a sci-fi movie about artificial intelligence that not only brought together three of Hollywood’s most promising young actors in Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, and Domhnall Gleeson, but also announced Garland as a director that moviegoers should watch out for in the years to come. After already creating a successful screenwriting career for himself as well, it was only a matter of time, I suppose.

Already, his next film titled Annihilation is setting itself up to be a unique follow-up to Ex Machina as well, and a film that everyone should keep their eyes and ears open for next year when it’s likely going to be released.

Starring Gina Rodriguez, Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and more, the film is based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name and follows a team of four (made up of a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) sent into a place known only as Area X, a strange, and alien region of the planet that has been cut off all other civilization. The team marks the twelfth expedition into the area, with the previous expeditions being plagued by disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma.

While the movie remains a large mystery for the time being, some behind-the-scenes set photos from the movie have been released online fairly steadily over the past few weeks, and were recently spotted by The Film Stage, and while they’re not official photos they’re all taken by either Garland himself or the movie’s cinematographer, Rob Hardy (who also shot Ex Machina), and give an idea of the movie’s visual tone and color palette.

Lit with the magic of movie making, on Annihilation, with my sunshine @hereisgina . Photo by director Alex Garland

A photo posted by Tessa Thompson (@tessamaethompson) on

My boo. #annihilationFilm by director Alex Garland.

A photo posted by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on


A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on

Smoke study

A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on

Thursday afternoon.

A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on

Military grade surrealism

A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on


A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on

Relevant paraphernalia.

A photo posted by R o b H a r d y b s c (@rdhardy) on

From the photos alone, the movie seems like an stark, bright contrast to the cold, and man-made feel of Ex Machina, with a much heavier-focus on nature and organic light this time around rather than the closed off aesthetic that populated a majority of the scenes in Garland’s previous film.

It looks like the director is following up, what many would argue to be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, with an equally-intriguing sci-fi outing yet again, and one that feels much more organic and inviting than anything in Ex Machina… which could mean bad things for the team members of the 12th expedition.

Annihilation does not currently have a release date, but is expected to hit theatres sometime in 2017.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable
  • Prochor Aniszczuk

    Stalker, anyone? The premise is nearly identical to Roadside Picnic…