*SPOILER WARNING* Inception was brilliant. It’s definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and buy the Inception DVD immediately. If you have seen Inception, you may have been confused by the ending, no matter how impressed you were with the film. So I created an infographic with a theory about the ending of Inception.

Since infographics big in social media for visualizing information, this Inception Ending Explained Infographic is still somewhat on-topic. And as a disclaimer, yes, I am fully aware that I am a dork.

Download the Inception Ending Explained Infographic PDF

Inception Ending Infographic

You’ll notice that there is a two distinct levels: Cobb’s Dream and Limbo. My theory on this stems from the fact that at the very end (and beginning) of the movie, Saito is old while Cobb is still the same age. Many people guess that it’s because Saito loses grip on what’s really reality while Cobb realizes that limbo is a dream so he doesn’t age, but I don’t buy that. I think a more reasonable explanation is that Saito dies in Eames’ dream from the gunshot wound before Cobb dies of the stab wound from Mal in Cobb’s dream, so Saito spends more “time” in limbo before Cobb dies and gets to limbo.

Backing this theory up is the fact that Ariadne “kicks” herself from Cobb’s dream by jumping off the building. If Cobb’s dream really was limbo, that kick would have been unsuccessful, as the only way out of limbo is to kill oneself. If Ariadne’s fall had killed her, she would have gone directly to reality (the plane). Instead, she joins the rest of the team and swims out the van in Yusuf’s dream.

Oh, and as for the question if the VERY ending is a dream or reality for Cobb? It’s reality. The top gets wobbly, and supposedly you can hear the thud of the fall a few seconds into the ending credits (though I admit I have to go see the movie again to verify). Also, throughout the movie Cobb wears his wedding rings in all dreams, and not in reality. At the very end, he is not wearing the ring, and therefore is in reality. His wedding ring may have been another totem. If you argue that the children are the same age at the end as throughout his memories, I have this question for you: do we know how long ago Mal died before the Inception mission takes place?

And to give credit where it’s due, this infographic was inspired by the awesome infographic by DeviantART. I wanted to see one with more visualizations, such as the cast and the imagery of the levels, and I thought the timeline element was a bit confusing, so I wanted to make one of my own!

EDIT: To answer the emails I’ve been getting asking how I made this infographic: PowerPoint is more awesome than you think. Also made some minor tweaks in Photoshop (image sizing and white silhouettes). Also, I respect all other theories out there; that’s the beauty of this movie, there are so many ways to interpret it.

Get Email Updates
Off The Trail - A Short Story;

You’ll be the first to know about new books, sneak peeks, the behind-the-scenes scoop, and more. PLUS get community access and a free short story right away!

Get Email Updates

You’ll be the first to know about new books, sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes scoop, and more. PLUS get community access and a free short story right away!

Send this to a friend