What, exactly, is going on in Janelle Monáe’s new film? Another trailer for Antebellum just dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and while it offers no clear answers, it does give us a slightly better idea of what the characters are dealing with.
As in previous clips, this trailer flits between author Veronica Henley’s (Monáe) life in the present and a setting that certainly looks like the Antebellum South, in which slavery is legal. But is it an alternate timeline that Veronica has been transported to? Has she traveled back in time, à la Octavia Butler’s Kindred, as people have theorized? Or could this be a pocket universe or some kind of virtual reality that she’s stuck in? All of that remains unanswered. But what we do learn from this new trailer is that people trapped in the whatever it is appear to be aware that this isn’t the reality they know.
Once again, the tagline emphasizes that these individuals are “chosen” by an unknown institution or force, and we get an extended look at a scene in which Veronica appears to be kidnapped while in the back of a moving car. She then “glitches” into the Antebellum South reality, lending credibility to the virtual reality theory, and we also see a man dressed like a Confederate general saying, “Whereever you were before, that’s over.” So if it is somehow time-travel that’s going on, all the time-travelers seem to be at the very least conscious of the fact that they have gone back in time.
We’ll find out for sure when Antebellum arrives in theaters August 21, 2020.