What Jordan Peele’s Nope Actually Means (& It Isn’t an Acronym)

Jordan Peele's highly anticipated sci-fi horror Nope is coming to the theater on July 22, 2022. The official trailer teases viewers with plenty of alien-themed elements that have their imagination running wild about the theme of the Oscar-winning writer/director's upcoming installment. One of the most famous fan theories speculated that "NOPE," as it was written on the official poster, was an acronym for Not Of Planet Earth or Not Our Planet Earth. However, Peele recently gave an official answer regarding his intention behind the title.

"Nope!" speaks to the kind of reaction the Peele envisioned viewers to have for an in-theater experience. Films in the horror genre are known for their rollercoaster effect, taking the audiences on a sensational ride of thrill and horror. However, Peele seeks to go beyond the obvious, creating a deeper connection and multi-faceted interaction with the audience that has them laughing, crying and shouting out "Nope!" while fearing for the characters.

"I love a rapt audience, whatever it is. I love an audience that's cringing or cowering or laughing," Peele said on CinemaCon, "Roller coasters aren't fun alone. Laughing isn't fun alone. Being scared isn't fun alone. You need that energy and it heightens the ride."

Interestingly, the director also has a history of fashioning audience reactions into his work. His debut release, Get Out, sets an example of the crawling-under-your-skin type of experience at the core of Peele's taste. "I like the titles that are in tune with how the audiences are feeling and reflect on what they're thinking and feeling in the theater," he added, clearing the rumors about the upcoming film's title.

When we look closer at Jordan Peele's previous titles, Get Out and Us are both efficient in capturing great dramatic contrast. The phrase "get out" can be used in various social situations, providing vast creative liberty in the horror genre and social commentary. "Us" also contains a level of underlying obscurity that fit seamlessly with the work.

On the other hand, Nope implies a darker and more intense tone since the phrase is commonly used to express denial and disagreement. Connecting to the film's synopsis that confirms a mysterious force in play, "What is it that we're not seeing?" seems like a question that audiences will need answers to when watching Nope.

There's always the element of surprise in Jordan Peele's work, even when the official trailer has already created awe among fans of the horror genre. "I've always been attracted by the prospect of my favorite movie I haven't seen before and what that could possibly be," Peele said, "and that to me is in the spirit of movie-making."

Nope hits theaters on July 22.

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