By Joey Nolfi
July 18, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT

In space, no one can hear you scream. But, as Brad Pitt faces a “crisis of unknown magnitude” in the new, gripping trailer for James Gray’s upcoming sci-fi drama Ad Astra, he’s hoping his long-lost father hears his galaxy-wide pleas for a safe return home.

The Oscar winner leads the aesthetically arresting preview as astronaut Roy McBride, a committed space traveler hunting for his dad (Tommy Lee Jones), who went missing two decades prior in the middle of an interplanetary excursion in search of alien life on Neptune. The clip opens as McBride sends a message through the stars, pleading for his father to make his presence known.

Amid his quest, McBride becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery that threatens the survival of the solar system. And his dad may or may not have instigated it.

“We believe your father may be involved,” an off-screen figure tells McBride, while another character (played by Donald Sutherland) tells him: “Exploration isn’t always a noble venture. We have to hold out the possibility that your father may be hiding from us.”

Liv Tyler, Jamie Kennedy, and Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga also have roles in the film, which Gray (who’s helmed acclaimed works like Two Lovers, The Immigrant, and The Lost City of Z) has frequently compared to Joseph Conrad’s renowned novella Heart of Darkness.

“I’m terrified by it. The science-fiction genre is so tricky because there are elements of fantasy usually involved, and there are also fantastical elements,” Gray told Collider in a 2017 interview, before the film was shot. “What I’m trying to do is the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ It’s kind of a Heart of Darkness story about traveling to the outer edge of our solar system. I have a lot of hopes for it but it is certainly ambitious.”

Ad Astra launches theatrically on Sept. 20. Watch the new trailer above, and see the new poster below.

20th Century Fox

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