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Jordan Peele’s ‘NOPE’ Is A Horror Film About Black Joy

Jordan Peele, the genius behind Universal Pictures’ Us and Get Out, is prepared to stun fans once again. In his initial announcement about his new movie NOPE on July 22, 2021, no information was provided regarding the plot of his new film, leaving fans to anxiously await more details.

The first teaser for the film was released February 8, but gained widespread attention when it debuted as a Superbowl commercial on February 13. Based on the first 30-second look of the trailer, it’s strikingly clear that Peele is doing what he does best: horror, with a touch of comedy. Shown in the teaser, the film is set out west, on a ranch-like landscape (California, as some of us call it, but ranch-like appears much more dire). In the teaser, the characters are shown slowly looking up towards the sky, as suspenseful music hallows in. Back in February, details regarding the film were pretty inconspicuous. But by now, two trailers have been released, as well as a more detailed plot summary. 

Here is everything you need to know about Peele’s new movie NOPE, which is set to release on July 22. Be there or be scared!

The Trailer: Horses, Cameras, & UFOs, Oh My!

The first official trailer for NOPE was released on February 13, but like the Superbowl teaser, left fans confused, yet curious. The final trailer, which was released on June 9, provides more context about the film and has quickly accumulated over 13 million views on YouTube.

The trailer, which seems to depict more sci-fi scenes than horror, leaves the door open with just enough room for mystery. Still classified in the horror genre — and knowing Peele doesn’t typically show all of his cards at once — rest assured there will be plenty of plot twists and jaw drops in typical Monkeypaw (Peele’s production company) fashion.

The plot and cast

NOPE stars Daniel Kaluuya as OJ Haywood — who is no stranger to Peele’s direction, as he starred in Get Out — and Keke Palmer as Emerald Haywood. The two are siblings who notice a strange presence in the sky — potentially a responsible force in their father’s death — and they embark on a journey to determine just what this force may be. In typical horror film-fashion, when the protagonists discover there is an ominous and aggressive force in the sky in their desolate ranch town, they don’t pack their bags and run for the hills — instead, they head to their local Best Buy (or their townie equivalent) and purchase surveillance equipment to capture this strange phantom. Because what could go wrong, right? 

Black representation in Peele’s films

Peele made his solo-directorial debut in 2017 with the release of Get Out, and just two years later, he turned around and directed Us. Peele’s films are known for being scattered with allegories, leading viewers to frantically Google the symbolism in the films after watching. There are often underlying themes to his films — sometimes regarding race, sometimes regarding socioeconomic status. 

In Hollywood, Peele is known for embodying Black representation in his films and for always casting a diverse group of actors. As a Black man himself, Peele relishes the opportunity to cast Black actors in leading roles, as shown through his work with actors such as Lupita N’yongo, Daniel Kalyuua, Keke Palmer, LaKieth Stanfield, and many others. By casting these actors, Peele is able to give the Black community some much-needed representation in the film industry, and the chance to thoughtfully portray certain traumas the community has undergone. According to an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Peele said, “I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a Black family.’ And they say yes.” 

In the process of creating NOPE, Peele found one thing different from his creative process for Get Out and Us — Peele quickly realized that NOPE should not only focus on Black horror, but Black joy as well. He initially pitched the movie to actors such as Daniel Kaluuya by telling them, “We can be the leads not only of a horror movie but also action, adventure, comedy, etc.” Based on the trailers, it appears that Peele pushes this notion of Black joy by sending his NOPE protagonists on an adventure and mission — not just a death chase — and focusing on the unbreakable bond between siblings. 

Given what we know about NOPE so far, this may be Peele’s best — and certainly most highly anticipated — film yet. Spooky girl summer is officially here.

Hi there! My name is Sydney & I am the Senior Editor for the University of Arizona's Her Campus chapter. I am a Marketing Major & Fashion Minor, hoping to work for a fashion magazine in the future! I am originally from Woodbury, Minnesota and I love traveling, writing, and taking photos!