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Director:Christopher Nolan
Production companies:Syncopy, Warner Bros
Release date:26 August 2020 (United Kingdom)
Genre:Scince fiction, action
Country:United Kingdom
United States
External links:Official website
at IMDb
at Wikipedia
at Science Fiction Encyclopedia
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TENET is a science fiction action thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Canon Overview

The film follows a secret agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time[note 1] to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to annihilate the present world.

Main Characters


Even before the film's release, there were already works listed in the AO3 dated June 2020.[2] The first of these being a RPF between actors Robert Pattison and John David Washignton followed by a work FPF of the respective characters of these actors.[2]

Even though it's a small fandom in relation to the amount of fanworks reported, it has grown exponentially since the movie's release. Most crossovers are with other works by Christopher Nolan: Inception, Batman Trilogy or Dunkirk.

Fan Theories

Spoiler Warning: This article or section contains spoilers about death characters and plot revelations. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Due to the lack of more information about the past, origin and fate of many of TENET's characters, some fans based on nolanverse have come up with their own theories that connect this movie with Inception, the director's previous work Christopher Nolan. The main speculations involve the Protagonist characters, Neil, Barbara, Ives and Max.

  • Barbara and Neil may be Dom Cobb's children
    • At the end of Inception, after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, Cobb passes the immigration checkpoint and Miles accompanies him to his home. Antes de se juntar a seus filhos, Cobb uses Mal's totem – a top that spins indefinitely in a dream – to test if he is indeed in the real world, but chooses not to observe the result. Some fans propose that without knowing, if the pawn falls or stays upright, Cobb has set precedents for distrust if he actually got custody of the children again. If the entire final scene was just a dream, it was likely that the children would be welcomed by different people, whether they were raised separately or not, and thus culminating in Barbara the scientist, and Neil the Protagonist handler were their adult versions.
  • Max and Neil are the same person
    • Neil carries a gold pendant - a holed coin - attached to a red chain. Max was with his mother in an area where such coins were gift from stores. Fans theorize that Neil is an adult Max, coming from the future and recruited by the Protagonist. This would explain why, before leaving, he indicates to the agent that they already know each other.
  • The Protagonist created TENET, recruited himself, creating a paradox of ouroboros
    • An action leads to a reaction, which leads to another action, and so on. Upon being recruited by the agency of this twilight world, the Protagonist discovers that at some point he will recruit other agents - Neil - as it was with him, which leads to the theory that TeNET is his work, which sets precedents for a second theory;
    • That somehow Neil survived, that it was Ives killed in the final scene when an agent with the gold pendant saves the Protagonist from dying in the cave and so he can be the white-haired man who recruits the Protagonist at the beginning of the movie and teaches him about TENET

Many of these and other theories are part of the most different types of fanworks produced by TENET fans.


Due to the interactions, chemistry and synchronization of the characters on screen many fans send Neil/Protagonist thus making it a juggernaut ship in the fandom.

It is quite popular among Chinese and Japanese fans, having a very wide range of fanfictions and pairing fanarts on sites like AO3, Twitter and Pixiv. Some fans tag the ship with the smushname protagoneil and/out other variations.

Example Fanworks

Empty: This section is missing. Please help us out by adding content to it.

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  • I Loved You First by ThirdActLove, John took him to the gardens at sunrise. They bundled up in quilts and drank coffee and sat on the stone walls, and John said, “Next week, eight years ago, you save my life at the National Opera House in Ukraine.”
  • May Contain Nuts by Laurie, They have time, Neil thinks desperately, willing himself to calm down. They have all the time in the world.
  • Rendezvous Zero a Sentinel AU by Knott with a [English Translation] by UncrownedWanderer, Strangely, as the scene from my memory melted away, I understood my feelings for him. It came at the wrong time and the wrong place, in a cramped hotel room, with half a bottle of cheap booze between us. If I told Neil that I had fallen in love with him, how would he have responded? That’s too bad for you, maybe he would say, because I’ve already burned out all my love on your future self.


Archives, Communities & Resources

Notes & References


  1. ^ The arrow of time, also called time's arrow, is the concept positing the "one-way direction" or "asymmetry" of time. It was developed in 1927 by the British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington,[1] and is an unsolved general physics question. This direction, according to Eddington, could be determined by studying the organization of atoms, molecules, and bodies, and might be drawn upon a four-dimensional relativistic map of the world ("a solid block of paper"). Physical processes at the microscopic level are believed to be either entirely or mostly time-symmetric: if the direction of time were to reverse, the theoretical statements that describe them would remain true. Yet at the macroscopic level it often appears that this is not the case: there is an obvious direction (or flow) of time.


  1. ^ Arrow of Time by Arthur Eddington, Archived version
  2. ^ a b a RPF John David Washington/Robert Pattinson fic, Restricted Benefits by AnotherHomosexualMale, dated from 06-10-2020 with 12,041 words