The Creator IMAX Preview Delivers An Action-Packed, Thrilling Look At The Upcoming Sci-Fi Blockbuster

John David Washington in The Creator
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios )

The summer of 2023 may be coming to an end, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we are done this year seeing large scale blockbusters grace the silver screen. There are plenty of spectacle-driven titles set to be released between September and December, and one of them is now only a month away. The Creator has been stunning us for months now with epic trailers and eye-popping footage – and tonight the film offered up its best sneak peek yet with special IMAX preview events that were hosted around the country.

Over the course of an hour, writer/director Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Godzilla) provided an early look at three separate scenes from his upcoming movie – which centers on a soldier who finds himself in an extreme moral quandary when he becomes the world's most powerful artificial intelligence becomes his ward. The footage provided a special glimpse at the sci-fi action that he’ll be delivering to the big screen, with each of the sequences ending with a nice, big explosion. If you were unable to make it to one of the events yourself this evening, you're in luck, as I’ve broken down everything that was shown for you below:

Gemma Chan as Maya in The Creator

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

An Undercover Mission Is Exposed

Taking place toward the beginning of the film, the first scene shown from The Creator opens on a serene beach at dawn in the fictional nation of New Asia – though the serenity doesn’t last long. Slowly a group of figures emerge from the rolling water, and each of them stands out thanks to the flashlight mounted on their guns. As they start to walk to the sand in formation and we hear light radio chatter, it becomes clear that they are some kind of military unit, and far behind them in the sky is a massive ship hovering in space that is casting streams of blue light down to the water. As the mysterious group of characters move, we see that their target is a house.

Inside said house are Joshua (John David Washington) and Maya (Gemma Chan) – a couple that seems blissfully happy as they together admire Maya’s pregnant belly. As they romantically banter, there is a sound of breaking glass and shouting that interrupts them, and they quickly become serious and curious. As Maya observes people outside, we see that Joshua is outfitted with a high tech prosthetic leg and arm.

When Joshua and Maya exit their bedroom to see what the commotion is, they find that it’s not the military personnel we saw coming out of the water, but instead a group of friends (including Ken Watanabe’s character) who have captured an American soldier. There is a consensus among the group that they all must evacuate, and Maya leaves the room thinking that Joshua is going to kill the American… but he doesn’t. As it turns out, Joshua is on some kind of undercover mission, and he is all kinds of angry and concerned that his cover is going to be blown. He insists that one of the key leaders of New Asia – known as Nirmātā (Nepalese for “The Creator”) – is not around.

Concern makes way for real trouble when Maya comes back into the room and overhears what Joshua is saying. Through tears, she admonishes him and pulls out a gun, and they have an emotion-heavy debate about artificial intelligence. She says that she must protect the members of her society, but he refuses to acknowledge them as people and begs her to consider the life of their unborn human child. Joshua is taken by soldiers and Maya runs away to the beach through gunfire, getting on a boat with others. Getting free, Joshua chases after her, but it’s too late; the ship that was floating in space at the beginning of the scene drops a bomb directly down, and the explosion that erupts seems to annihilate everything on the water.

Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alfie in The Creator

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Joshua Meets Alfie

The second scene that was shown picks up a fair amount of time after the first, and Gareth Edwards provided a bit of context. The filmmaker explained that Joshua ends up getting sent back to New Asia on a mission to help find and destroy a weapon that could potentially wipe out humanity, but the reality is that his main priority is finding Maya, who he believes may still be alive.

Joshua is featured as part of a group that is working to get into a high tech lab facility, and while things start off ok – with an access keypad being discovered and a hack initiated – things quickly go sideways as security forces roll in to stop the effort. As members of the team are called to back up others and some are killed, our protagonist is left watching the main door that the mission says to open, and he is the only one around when the aforementioned hack is successful and entry is granted.

Going into the secure area, Joshua finds a large space behind another massive door, and he walks to a platform where a chair is situated in front of a blaring television. With his gun raised, Joshua looks to see who is sitting in the chair, and this is how he meets the artificial intelligence known as Alfie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). The child-like A.I. briefly looks at the hero and then looks away, and when a woman in a lab coat enters the room, Joshua thinks it’s Maya. It’s actually another woman, who proceeds to shoot at our main character and tell Alfie to utilize a ladder and escape hatch.

Outside, Joshua’s American colleagues try to escape in a futuristic airship, but they end up being killed when it’s discovered that one of the soldiers has been tagged with an explosive that goes boom and kills everyone. Joshua follows Alfie outside, calling Maya’s name in desperation, and once again the ship in the sky makes another devastating appearance. Another missile is launched from the sky and when it hits the ground it causes a massive shockwave that first hits Joshua and then Alfie.

Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alfie in The Creator

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Alfie Saves A Village

Once again jumping ahead, the third IMAX scene shown from The Creator features Joshua and Alfie together in the aftermath of their time in an artificial intelligence village. Forces from the United States have begun to invade, and their might is serious – with massive, building-sized tanks rolling in and crushing houses. Members of the A.I. community try and fight back, but their weapons are essentially useless. Joshua tries to get Alfie to escape with him on a boat, but Alfie evades him and runs back to try and help in the fight against the American military.

In addition to the tanks and military personnel, Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) also begins to employ the use of explosive, trashcan-like suicide robots that are armed and sent charging into populated areas. A first is deployed successfully, sent across a bridge and into a stronghold before blowing up, but a second one doesn’t work as well. Before it can get to its target, Alfie gets in its way and stops it in its tracks. It eventually kneels down, and Alfie puts a hand on it. (It's unclear exactly what he is doing, but you get the sense that Alfie is somehow reprogramming its robotic brethren)

Seeing that the suicide bomber bot is stopped, Howell sends in a human soldier named McBride (Marc Menchaca) to interfere and finish the job. Charging on to the scene, he is able to shoot Alfie, but Joshua jumps in at just the right moment to shoot and then kill McBride and protect the A.I. in his care. When this chaos is settled, the timer on the bomb robot reactivates and continues its countdown to detonation– leading Joshua to try and grab Alfie and run. They sprint away from the fire and concussive force as the third clip, like its two predecessors, ends with an shocking and violent explosion.

While not much was previewed as far as story and character (with the exception of the brief romantic bits between Joshua and Maya), The Creator certainly looks like visual spectacle built on intense and detailed world-building. The action showcased in the footage is thrilling and unique, propelled by cool and creative sci-fi ideas, and the effects work is seamless (not only do the robots look entirely real, but the visual effects on the A.I. characters are remarkable). If the Lone Wolf And Cub-inspired plotting and compelling protagonists can effectively make us deeply care about it all when it comes time to see the full movie, we may be on the verge of seeing one of the best films of 2023.

It will not be long until audiences everywhere get to see the original genre blockbuster, as The Creator will be released in theaters across the country on September 29. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more about the film, and head over to our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the features set to be released between now and the end of the year.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.