In the several years since Jordan Peele released his second directorial effort, the twisty and wicked Us, the marketplace has been inundated with more than a few imitators of Peele’s unique blend of socially conscious horror and seemingly contradictory bleak humor—essentially inserted nervous laughter. Yet even after multiple other films and projects on that wavelength, no one has been able to replicate the unique blend which won Peele on a Oscar for the screenplay of his first movie, Get Out, and which made Us one of only a handful of original 2019 efforts to be among the highest grossing of that year.
So news about his third movie was exciting even before we knew anything about it beyond its cast, which includes Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yeun. But now we at least know the title: Nope.
Revealed alongside its poster and release date by Peele on social media (which you can see below), the title is a cheeky and amusing nod which follows in the tradition of 1960s and ‘70s horror movies like Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now. Edgar Wright famously homaged that style of horror titling as well in his fake trailer for a Grindhouse movie that doesn’t exist: Don’t.
Nope of course updates the gag by framing itself around a popular phrase and meme, often used to characterize Black audiences reacting to movies where on-screen characters make questionable if not outright stupid decisions in horror movies—like, say, petting the sexual snake-dragon in Prometheus.
Nope also marks Peele’s first collaboration with Kaluuya since Get Out, which netted Kaluuya his first Oscar nomination alongside Peele, who picked up nods for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. Kaluuya of course went on to win an Oscar earlier this year for Judas and the Black Messiah. Yeun, meanwhile, has also seen his clout rise recently after producing and starring in Minari, the unexpected VOD sleeper success of early 2021, which generated critical raves and gradual enthusiastic word-of-mouth despite opening during the COVID-19 pandemic’s award season. Yeun also received an Oscar nomination for his starring role in that movie.
Not much else is currently known about Nope other than its July 22, 2022 release date. However, judging by the trailer there appears to be something faintly alien about its image which involves a giant cloud and a streamer that could signal it’s either attached to a kite, a car dealership, or some type of holiday decorations. Could Santa be a UFO? Probably nope! But who really knows at this point?