Nope Explained (Plot, Ending, Every Question Answered)

Nope is the third film directed by Jordan Peele after Get Out and Us and falls into the science fiction horror genre. The Nope cast has Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun (of the Burning fame) in the leading roles. Unlike the previous two films, this one is much more straightforward and doesn’t need re-watching. That said, the big question is, “What was the point of the movie Nope?”. So let’s try and answer that. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie Nope explained; spoilers ahead.

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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Nope: What happened to Jupe?

Ricky Jupe Park: What was the point of the monkey in Nope?

Jupe is the sole survivor on the sets of a sitcom where everyone is killed by a chimp that is triggered by the sounds of popping balloons. The film’s central character is one who doesn’t receive enough screen time, Ricky “Jupe” Park. The popping sound of balloons triggers the chimpanzee actor causing it to lash out violently and kill people on the sets (no, this was not a real-life incident). There were clearly some safety regulations violated on set, causing the incident. Perhaps the balloons were planned but not informed to the animal trainers. I say this because we’re shown a scene later in Nope where the folks on the sets refuse to pay any heed to security measures around a horse.

Why does the chimp spare Jupe?

Jupe looks at the chimp through the tablecloth. Typically, one can trigger aggression by looking a wild animal in the eyes. And here, the chimp was already agitated. The filtered gaze through the tablecloth and Jupe’s stillness caused the chimp to regard Jupe as not hostile and gave him a fist bump, what it had been trained to do.

Nope: What does the shoe mean?

Jupe’s gaze is focused on a shoe that happens to be standing vertical. There is no antigravity aspect here. Either the shoe just happened to land and stay up like that, or Jupe simply remembers a vertical shoe. Think about it, this event for a child would have been so traumatic, it’s likely that Jupe remembers a few details in an altered manner. Whatever the reason, Jupe was absolutely still, and his gaze was not directly at the chimp.

What does Jupe believe is the reason the chimp spared him?

It appears Jupe believes that the chimp spares him because he’s special; someone “chosen” that connected with the chimp uniquely. Jupe remembers the incident through the eyes of an SNL skit which was a humourous version of the events where the chimp (played by an actor) is angered every time the jungle is mentioned.

Over the years, Jupe has never really had a chance to deal with this trauma; he has found the SNL sketch as a way out. He also grows up with a deep-rooted belief that he’s chosen and will one day be able to wield his powers on wild animals.

Jupe’s family and kids

It looks like Jupe’s family and kids are aware of the alien creature, but it feels like their portions were edited out from the film. One of the kids even gets punched by OJ when they scare him, wearing alien masks; miraculously, the kid giggles his way out of the place. Their role in the film feels incomplete.

Nope: What was the point of the monkey?

The chimp is Jupe’s backstory. He was the only one spared on a set where a chimp went on a rampage which made Jupe believe he was special. Years later when it came to dealing with the alien creature, Jupe continued to believe that he was special. He set up a show and thought he could connect with the creature. We’ll get into the details as we move along.

Nope: On SNL

SNL is not the one to poke fun at an event with gruesome deaths and belittle it. I’m curious why in Nope, they do. Do let me know your thoughts on this matter in the comments below.

Nope: Wild Animals and Humans

horse commercial nope

We’re repeatedly shown in the film that humans consider the animals on set to be a lowly form of existence; this sadly goes for the trainers too.

When OJ is at the shoot with his horse, no one on the set pays any attention to him. He asks the makeup artist not to stand behind the horse for her own safety. She replies saying, “They told me to come here”. When OJ suggests the horse needs a break, they ignore it, saying, “Tell the horse we’re ready to do a rehearsal”. Finally, a person on the set holds a convex mirror right in front of the horse which agitates it and reacts by kicking. Nobody is harmed, but the blame goes to the horse and the trainers, not the people who disregarded every safety instruction Em and OJ gave. Em and OJ are fired.

In the past, we can assume that the chimp situation was also caused by gross neglect by the folks on the set. Humans tend to attribute rules from our existence to domesticated wild animals. While babies, dogs and horses can’t be handled the same way, many are oblivious to this.

Nope: Monster Explained: What’s the monster in Nope?

The UFO-shaped monster in Nope, its origins, and how it can fly around like that are not part of this film’s focus; we’re just going to have to assume something there. That said, the Nope monster is a wild alien animal that has somehow found its way to our world and hides in plain sight behind an artificial cloud, its camouflage. The creature has EMP-like properties, which makes electrical equipment power down in its vicinity.

What does the monster in Nope look like?

The monster in Nope is designed to look like a flying saucer to give the audience the feeling that it is a spaceship looking to abduct and conduct experiments on people. Like the puffer fish, the alien can open out to a much larger size to become more intimidating.

Jupe is the first one to notice the UFO monster in Nope. His sense of being special makes him start luring out the alien using horses. Across 6 months, Jupe has been training with the beast by offering it horses. He plans to monetize this by making a show out of it.

How does the alien in Nope eat?

The alien has an orifice at the centre of its base. It has powerful suction to gobble up everything in an area. It feeds on organic matter like horses and people and excretes the rest. The structure of its organ is such that it amplifies the screaming beings inside it as it digests them. The alien does not like plastics; it gets digestion issues.

Jupiter’s Claim

Nope Jupiter's claim

Jupe is the first one to notice the UFO beast. His sense of being special makes him start luring out the alien using horses. Across 6 months, Jupe has been training with the beast by offering it horses. He plans to monetize this by making a show out of it.

Jupe’s show is called Jupiter’s Claim. Much like the Titanic, it all goes down in its maiden voyage. On the day of the show, he seats his audience hoping to give them the thrill of a lifetime as he unveils his UFO. He’s even invited the child actor who was beaten up badly by the chimp, perhaps to show her his unique control over the alien.

Jupe mistakes himself for being “chosen” because Gordy, the violent chimp, gave him a fist bump back in the day. His 6-month interaction with the beast further fortifies his beliefs. Jupe plans to use a horse to lure out the alien as always, but the seated audience and music trigger the beast, and it consumes Jupe and his entire audience.

Sadly for Jupe, though he survives Gordy, he ends up doing the same thing that the people on his set did back then – assume on behalf of a wild animal, ignore safety, and finally trigger the animal thanks to ignorance.

Nope: The Haywoods

Movie Nope Haywoods OJ and Emerald

The Haywoods family claims to be the oldest African-American-owned horse ranch. When Jupe first begins interacting with the alien, the beast excretes inorganic belongings over the Haywoods. Unfortunately, a nickel from this debris cuts through the ranch owner Otis’ head, killing him.

OJ and Em inherit the ranch and a few debts from Otis. OJ has been selling his horses to Jupe to make ends meet. Jupe has been using those horses to lure the beast. This goes on for 6 months until OJ spots the UFO creature one day.

With Em’s help, they buy surveillance cameras to capture the money shot of the alien. Angel, a tech salesman and UFO enthusiast, offers to help. Electric equipment fails, and they are unable to capture the beast on film. 

They finally seek the help of cinematographer Antlers Holst, who also appears to be a UFO enthusiast and lands up with a manually operated camera.

Nope Movie: Ending Explained: Why did the alien blow up?

The ending of the movie Nope has Em tricking the UFO beast into swallowing a giant air balloon that causes the creature to explode as it shrinks from its fanned-out form to its compact structure and Em gets a perfect photo of the alien moments before.

All About the Characters in the Nope

OJ  – His training and working with wild animals gives him enough insights on how to deal with the UFO creature. He lures the beast while on a horse with eyes on his hood. He then draws the now fully expanded alien far enough for Em to start the electric bike and make a run for it.

Angel – Gets saved as he gets wrapped in plastic that happens to be flying around.

Holst – Successfully captures video footage of the beast; after that, he takes the camera in his hand and heads into the open. He’s eaten by the alien as he shoots a video while being gobbled up. We do see the reel falling back down. He does the impossible but dies doing it.

Em – Thanks to OJ’s assistance, she releases the balloon and uses the wishing well to snap a perfect shot of the UFO beast. After this, a bunch of news crews come in to get their own scoop on the story.

In the end, they own various media of the UFO creature – a perfect photo, high-definition cinematic footage and first-person footage (of being eaten alive).

Open Question in Nope: Why did the alien change shape?

Throughout the film Nope, the alien has a UFO shape, but it takes on a giant jellyfish-like structure in the end. A possible theory it that that it perceived Haywoods as a more significant threat and scaled up like a puffer fish to be more intimidating.

I didn’t see any point in this structural change. Thoughts?

Frequently Asked Questions

Nope: What is the meaning?

“Caution is crucial with wild animals” is a message, but if you are looking for a deeper meaning, you are not going to find one. Nope is a simple summer blockbuster that offers a fun-filled escape from heavy-handed lessons. It embraces the thrilling tradition of heroes battling formidable monsters, reminiscent of iconic creature features.

Nope: What happened to Oj?

Oj and his sister survive after taking down the UFO monster. They also manage to get that money shot of the creature before it explodes and we can assume they have the knack to sell it for a lot of money and upgrade their life. They are ranch people so it’s unlikely Oj changes his lifestyle after the events of Nope.

Nope: Why was the shoe standing up?

Jupe believes that he witnessed and maybe even caused the shoe to stand vertically like that. But in reality, it’s just the way the shoe landed and it had nothing to do with Jupe. It was no divine moment. Jupe just got lucky that his eyes were on the shoe and he saw the chimp through the cloth so he was spared.

Where is Nope based?

The movie Nope takes place in Agua Dulce, California, where the Haywood family trains and works with horses for film and TV. The majority of the filming occurred in Santa Clarita, California, USA. The primary location used was Firestone Ranch in Santa Clarita, which served as Haywood Ranch in the film.

Was Nope based on a true story?

Nope is based on the stories of those who claim to have seen UFOs in sparsely populated locations in the United States of America. UFO sightings have long fascinated Americans, with numerous reports and accounts documenting unexplained aerial phenomena across the country. From Roswell to Area 51, UFOs’ mystery and intrigue continue to captivate imaginations and fuel various movie scripts.

Is Nope Scary?

Unlike Us, Nope is not designed as a horror film that’s meant to scare you. It’s a slow yet gripping mystery thriller that pays homage to Hitchcock’s suspenseful style, offering a unique cinematic experience. A few moments provide some jump scares, but you’ll definitely not categorize this a scary movie.

What were your thoughts on the plot and ending of the movie Nope? Some like it more than Peele’s earlier films, and some hate it. Do drop your comments in the section below.