We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

The Adam Project ending explained

Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy are back together for Netflix movie The Adam Project - how does it end, and how does time-travel work?

How does The Adam Project end? In the Netflix movie, Ryan Reynolds plays Adam Reed, a time-travelling pilot form 2050 who crash lands back in 2022, and meets his younger self. He’s on a mission in the science fiction movie to find his lost lover, and prevent his dark future from happening.

Directed by Shawn Levy, with whom Reynolds worked with on action movie Free Guy, The Adam Project is all about facing yourself, and changing what you can while accepting the inevitable. Some deep themes are included in all the fun fight scenes and cool set-pieces that you’d expect from a Ryan Reynolds-led adventure movie.

Considering all the timey-wimey stuff, and the heartfelt familial drama, you might have some questions over what happens in the final act of The Adam Project. What gets destroyed in the big showdown? How, exactly, does time-travel work here? What becomes of our lead characters? Rest assured, we’re going to spell it all out for you, to prevent you from needing to take any physics lectures of your own.

What happens in The Adam Project ending?

The last half hour or so involves Adam, his younger self, played by Walker Scobell, and their dad Louis (Mark Ruffalo), facing Maya (Catherine Keener) over the Sorian Industry’s accelerator that allows them to open wormholes in time and space. Before this, two key events happened: Adam’s partner Laura (Zoe Saldana) sacrificed herself to distract Maya while the Adams escaped, and they found and convinced Louis that Maya was planning to betray him.

Louis created an algorithm that’s key to the accelerator, and without it Sorian can no longer monopolise time travel and contribute to whatever dystopia older Adam comes from. The struggle with Maya involves a number of her future henchmen, and her own younger self, before it all goes pear-shaped. Hardly surprising since it’s a Ryan Reynolds film, but he and those around him come out victorious, even if it was a close call.

What follows is a reconciliation with Louis. The two Adams embrace their father as they finally share in the negative feelings they’ve held for so long. Unfortunately, Louis can’t know how he dies, but he and Adam share a heartfelt moment that gives them all closure. Afterwards, they play catch, before the changes to the timeline cause the Adams to disappear.

Young Adam hugs his mother, Ellie (Jennifer Garner), changing his ways from being mean or cold towards her. Meanwhile, older Adam meets Laura in college, while training to be a pilot, just as normal. Some things may be different, but what matters, what’s meant to be, will always find a way.

The Adam Project ending explained: Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell in The Adam Project

How does time-travel work in The Adam Project?

The family movie doesn’t get too specific with the mechanics of its time portals. The long and short of it is that an algorithm based on work by Adam’s father can open worm-holes in space that could be used to jump through time. Sorian, led by Maya Sorian, bankrolls his work to create a powerful engine that she eventually wields to essentially turn Earth into a technocratic hellhole (more so than usual).

Louis dubs his work The Adam Project. Laura had already tried to alter the course of history, but overshot, hence waiting around for Adam for four years. A basic tenet of these jumps backwards is that once the future is changed, anyone from that future disappears. Older Adam is gone, and younger Adam resets back to his original time pre-meeting his older self.

SPACE! The best sci-fi series

Alas, the effects of their journey reverberate in unseen ways through the universe, and they remember the lessons learned, even if they’re not quite the same people. A neat conclusion on a heady concept.

The Adam Project ending explained: Zoe Saldana and Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project

Will The Adam Project 2 happen?

Incredibly unlikely. The ending here leaves no real room for a natural follow-up, and Levy rarely does sequels. Right now, he and Reynolds are busy with Free Guy 2. But you never know – the future is still unwritten, and given the success of Red Notice, Netflix will likely want more from the pairing.

That’s everything on The Adam Project’s ending. If you’d like more strange quests, check out our list of the best alien movies.