The Janus by Dawn Johnston | Script Revolution

The Janus

During a one-way mission to explore a habitable planet a scientist suspects she didn't start this trip alone, and must rely on the ship's overprotective AI for answers.

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98pp

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DR. RUTH PATEL (mid-30s) wakes on a spaceship called The Janus, her memory impaired by long-term suspended animation and 47 years travelling frozen in a medpod. Accompanied only by an artificial intelligence named FELIX, which controls every machine, computer and device on the ship, they’re on a one-way mission to explore a potentially habitable planet called Eos.

Felix is friendly, though more overprotective than suits Ruth's self-sufficient nature. It makes no sense that he’s started studying the planet without her, but she doesn't trust her foggy mind enough to question it. And why hasn't anyone contacted her from earth in all this time?

When Ruth starts having mild hallucinations she chalks them up to the effects of stasis. But one vision keeps repeating, stronger each time—a man on the ship with her, a stranger named BAZ. She knows their growing friendship is irrational, even as it begins to break through her well-constructed defenses, but the lack of control over her own mind is unsettling. But is he a hallucination or a memory? She has to rely on Felix for answers, and he finds nothing.

Ruth secretly searches for answers herself and finds an actual photo that Baz had shown her of his baby. Felix’s betrayal hits her hard and stirs up real memories, like giving up her own baby on overpopulated Earth and running nineteen light years from home, away from everyone and everything she cared for. Spiraling into paranoia, regretting her decision, and fearful of Felix, she resolves to take down the ship.

But she’s no match for an AI who controls even the oxygen. Felix finally reveals the truth. This had all happened before and her broken mind had tangled her past and present memories. Felix had talked her back into stasis so she could try again. He has been lying, to protect her.

Re-examining events from her past, Ruth finds connection again: in her friendship with an AI, and with friends from a different time and place but still present her thoughts. Those bonds connect her to the awe and challenge of her purpose, exploring this planet Eos.

ABOUT: The Janus is the result of my own love of sci-fi, and a recent preoccupation with more contemplative, character-focused films in the genre. Examples include Arrival, The Midnight Sky, Moon, Suspiria, and Ad Astra, all delving into deeper human struggles while using sci-fi as the means to consider them. The Janus explores how we find meaning in a disconnected world, and does it from the female perspective, one not often represented in this genre.

Submitted: October 14, 2021
Last Updated: May 6, 2022

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This Script Is Loved By 2 Readers

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The Writer: Dawn Johnston

I'm a Canadian screenwriter who specializes in drama, dramedy and elevated sci-fi exploring contemporary themes. My short script GOODBYE TODAY was produced and another short, LET’S TALK ABOUT KANT, (found on Script Revolution) is currently in post-production in the UK with director Michael Das. My feature script MOTHER was a Nicholl Fellowship quarter-finalist and I am developing a modern adaptation of a classic book with director/producer Barnet Bain (WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, MILTON'S SECRET). My most recent script is the sci-fi dramatic thriller THE JANUS. I'm repped by John Ferraro. Check out my website for more info. I also welcome feedback on my scripts. Feel free to DM. Thanks! Go to bio
Manager: John Ferraro

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