Louise's mind's perception of time is altered and she can see into her own past/future, but she is not immortal (as per this Q&A) and can't see beyond her own death.

The Heptapods state that 3000 years into the future they will need humanity's help.

Keeping the above statements in mind, does it mean that at least one Heptapod lives to be more than 3000 years old and has 'seen' the need for humanity's help?

Do Heptapods have a life expectancy of more than 3000 years?
If not, then how do the Heptapods know that they will need help? Please explain.

  • 6
    I don't know how long heptapods live. I don't even know what they are — seven-legged critters from some sci-fi story? But, if each individual heptapod can see the future up to the time of its own death, then no single heptapod has to live for thousands of years in order to know what's going to happen thousands of years in the future. Old heptapods can find out about events after their deaths, by talking to younger heptapods.
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 8:27
  • 6
    Maybe the backwards-in-time thing is confusing the issue. Let's leave precognition out of it. Let's say that octapods remember everything that happened in their lifetimes, but nothing before their birth. And yet, through oral tradition — young octapods listening to tales told by old octapods — they know about events that happened thousands of years ago! How does this work, and what is the minimum life expectancy for this to happen>?
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 8:47
  • 3
    @tobiasvl Why would anyone have to live 3000 years? Why couldn't they transmit it in relays, one year at a time?
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 9:05
  • 2
    @user14111 Ah, I understand now. The story is passed down orally from the future to the present. Interesting. Yeah, absolutely, why not?
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 9:23
  • 2
    @tobiasvl There is something like that in Hogan's Thrice Upon a Time. Quoting the Wikipedia summary: "While the rest of the team is away, Murdoch finds that the machine is about to be swamped with interference, and may soon be unusable. He decides to take matters into his own hands and transmit a message far back into the past to remedy the situation. To get around the 24-hour limit of the machine, he asks Anne, who had learned machine code programming at her university, to write a program that would repeatedly bootstrap itself back in time until it reached the date desired."
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 10:16

1 Answer 1


We have no way to know the heptapods life expectancy from the movie. There might be many reasons why they know 3000 years into the future.

  • Their language might confer them more powers than Louise herself experiences. They might be able to see events into the future past their deaths.

  • They might live to be 3000 years old.

  • They might estimate it'd need humanity roughly 3000 years of evolution with their language to reach a state they could help them.

  • As user14111 pointed out, the story can be passed on backwards from younger heptapods 3000 years in the future to elder heptapods reaching the present that way.

Both the movie and the book don't hint at any more of their origin, biology, purpose, etc, so all we could do was guess.

  • Reminds me of slaughter house five. Could these beings exist in all times? So many similarities, perhaps that book was an inspiration to the writer? Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 13:57
  • @FrankCedeno So then it were Heptapods who destroyed the Universe while testing their flying saucers. I knew they're not to be trusted.
    – void_ptr
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:49
  • @void_ptr...lol, love it Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 20:24

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