8

Early on in the Interstellar film, Dr. Brand says that the corn crop will die out in a years time, yet later on when Murphy burns the crop, the corn is still growing despite being decades after the prediction.

Have I misunderstood or is that a slip-up on the film-maker's part?

  • 5
    From what I remember he was saying that everything but corn will die out in a year's time and it's only a matter of time until the corn's gone too. But then it's like a hundred years later and it's all fine, which still doesn't make sense. – PointlessSpike Nov 10 '14 at 11:27
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    @PointlessSpike To be fair, at the hundred years point where it's all fine they are on a space station orbiting Saturn, and we are probably intended to assume there is no blight on the space station. – SethMMorton Nov 11 '14 at 6:16
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    But by that time they should have run out of food. That begs the question, if they can do it on the space station, why not on Earth? Screw it, new question time. – PointlessSpike Nov 11 '14 at 8:41
  • They launched into space after around 25 years, and not 100. – Petersaber Jun 21 '15 at 15:51
18

It is entirely possible that Dr. Brand is just estimating or using hyperbole to make his point. However, it is also possible

that this is a deliberate lie to get Coop on the mission, just like Plan A.

5

Massive monocultures are ecologically unstable. If the entire world's population is actually feeding off of one species of corn, it really is a matter of time before it falls victim to a plant virius, or an ecological change, or something. The fact that we still have Idaho russet potatoes, though, should show us that you can't predict whether this will happen in 5 years, 20 years or 100 years. You just know it's a vulnerability.

3

23 years later (after Millers planet, Murph is now grown), Tom is already regulary losing 1/3 of his corn harvest yearly (it's mentioned in the film, dialogue between Tom and Murph at the beginning of her visit at his farm). And as predicted by Prof Brand (Amelias father), Murphs generation will be indeed the last one surviving on Earth, Toms second child is also ill already, his son will not survive on the surface.

I don't see a slip-up here.

1

This was addressed in the film's script (and novel). Over time, the Blight adapts to a species, then begins to destroy it. Luckily for humanity, the crop that seems hardiest is corn. In the years since Coop flew away, the Blight has begun attacking corn, taking about a third of the Tom's crop around twenty years later.

Then the stalks came apart like paper, the updraft shredding some into rising shards, others slumping and crumbling into glowing piles; then that illusion faded, too. Soon there would be no corn, no field. Only carbon and dust, inseparable in their lifelessness.
“We lost about a third this season,” Tom said. “But next year… I’m gonna start working Nelson’s fields. Should make it up.”
Murph wanted to shake him, to make him understand that it would never be “made up.”
But what was the point?
“What happened to Nelson?” she asked.
The expression on his face suggested she probably didn’t want to know, so she didn’t press it.

Interstellar - Official novelisation

The implication seems to be that they're barely staying ahead of the Blight by reducing the world's population, by switching to a high-intensity agrarian economy, by breeding hardier and hardier strains (with the help of the sort of genetic engineering and selective breeding we see at NASA HQ) and yet they're still well on track to lose 100% of their crops, and by extension all plant life in less than fifty years.


For the record, he didn't say that the Blight would destroy the corn within a year, just at some undefined point in the medium future

“Blight,” the professor said. “Wheat seven years ago, okra this year. **Now there’s just corn.” ** Something about that stung a little. He was, after all, a farmer.

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