‘The Wandering Earth’ (2019) Story Recap And Ending, Explained

Imagine a world on the brink of total annihilation, where all resources have been depleted, and the sun’s imminent death has plunged the planet into an endless ice age. In Frant Gwo’s awe-inspiring masterpiece, we are presented with a chilling situation where a simple wildfire and dropping sea levels spark a chain of events that leads to the collapse of entire cities and the loss of countless lives. In the face of such disaster, the United Earth government enacts a bold and daring plan: the construction of massive thrusters, or Earth Engines, capable of propelling the entire planet out of the solar system in quest of finding a new home. This monumental undertaking is known as The Wandering Earth project, and it represents humanity’s last hope for survival. To ensure the safety of those left behind, underground cities are built beneath each Earth Engine, while powerful satellites in space provide vital information and warnings during the difficult journey. 

The movie features a star-studded ensemble including the likes of Jing Wu as Liu Peiqiang, Chuxiao Qu as Liu Qi, Gunagije Li as Wang Lei, Man-Tat Ng as Han Ziang, Jinmai Zhao as Han Duoduo, MIke Kai Sui, as Tim, and more.

Spoilers Ahead

The Failing World Engines

Liu Qi and Han Duoduo are two siblings who often find themselves on the other end of the trouble due to their rebellious attitude. Liu somehow managed to secure the two highly-rare thermal suits, so he could take his sister outside for the first time. Unfortunately, the duo was caught and detained for stealing a UGC transporter. In the detainment center, the duo strikes an unusual friendship with Tim (played by Mike Kai Sui), a fellow convict who was detained for making fake vehicle passes. Furthermore, Han Ziang (played Man-Tat Ng), the sibling’s grandfather, was also detained for bribing an on-duty police officer. Liu and Han’s father, Liu Peiqiang, is an astronaut who was sent to the International Space Station 17 years ago and is scheduled to return soon and reunite with his family. After 17 years, the Earth is finally entering Jupiter’s orbit, and scientists intend to utilize Jupiter’s gravitational pull to break free of the solar system. Unfortunately, just a day before his flight back to Earth, it was revealed that the Earth had shifted off its trajectory due to a sudden increase in Jupiter’s gravitation spike and was on the course of collision. The fallout was massive, rendering multiple Earth Engines out of commission. Due to the failure, Earth’s propulsions were also cut in half, sending it straight to Jupiter for collision. Back on Earth, the siblings, Han Ziang and Tim, somehow managed to avoid being crushed under the collapsing Earth Engine. In the aftermath, the UGC dispatched rescue units to manually restart Earth Engines to save everyone from complete annihilation. While escaping, the group is met with unit 171-11, which is heading toward Shanghai to install a new Lighter Core and restart the Earth Engine.   

The Death Of Wandering Earth Project

As Han Ziang trudged through the frozen wasteland that was once his hometown, his heart sank at the sight of the frozen remnants of his past life. The streets he used to roam now lay empty, the buildings he once called home now frozen tombs. It was as if the very spirit of life had been sucked out of this place, leaving behind only a bleak and barren wasteland. The memories of his childhood flooded back to him, bittersweet and poignant, as he struggled to come to terms with the fact that he would never be able to return to the place that once brought him so much joy. Liu Peiqiang, after learning about their mission, manages to establish a connection with his father, begging them to get out to the nearest underground city, but to his dismay, Liu Qi decides to stay back and help. In reality, Liu Qi hates his father and blames him for his mother’s death. Liu Peiqiang’s wife was gravely ill, and Liu decided to stop treatment, so his father could accompany Liu Qi, and Han Duoduo, to the underground city. The Earth trembled and shook as if the very foundations of the world were being ripped apart. The group found themselves stumbling and falling as they desperately sought shelter in the nearest structure – an old, abandoned building. But even as they huddled together, trying to ride out the tremors, tragedy struck. Gang Zi, one of the brave soldiers of unit 171-11, and Han Ziang, the transporter and trusted ally, were taken from them, leaving the survivors to mourn their loss and carry on without them. Meanwhile, at the space station, MOSS, the AI, takes matters into his own hands and sends a message informing everyone that the Wandering Earth project has failed, and in less than three hours, Earth will be disintegrated. MOSS initiated the Helios Project to sustain human civilization. The space station is equipped with the resources to sustain human life, including 300 embryos, a wide variety of seeds, and animal life. Additionally, it has a digital library that contains all kinds of knowledge available to mankind. 

‘The Wandering Earth’ Ending

Li refuses to let his grandfather’s death be meaningless. Driven by desperation, he draws upon the lessons his father taught him and concocts a brilliant, albeit perilous, scheme to set the hydrogen within Jupiter’s atmosphere ablaze. With Earth’s survival hanging in the balance, all that stands between them, and success is finding a big matchstick that can ignite the fire. As the clock ticks down, the group desperately sends out transmissions seeking aid. However, MOSS’s earlier transmission had already drained hope from all who received it, rendering their efforts fruitless. Despite the dire circumstances and the overwhelming odds, the group of survivors refused to give up. They knew that the odds were against them, but they were determined to do everything in their power to save themselves and the rest of humanity. They pooled their knowledge and expertise, drawing on their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses. But even with all their efforts, they came up short. The energy needed to ignite the Jovian Engine was scarce, and they were left with no other option but to face their fate. As the clock ticks down, Liu Peiqiang knows that time is running out and that there’s no other option. He takes a deep breath and makes the difficult decision to lock MOSS out of the system, taking control of the space shuttle himself. He knows that this will be a one-way trip, but he’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the survival of humanity. As he guides the shuttle towards the plasma beam, Liu Peiqiang reflects on his life and the mistakes he’s made, especially in his relationship with his son. In his final moments, he speaks to his son through a video message, apologizing for not being there for him and expressing his pride in him. With tears in his eyes, Liu Peiqiang presses forward, and the space shuttle collides with the plasma beam, setting off a massive explosion that ignites the Jovian Engine and propels Earth away from Jupiter’s orbit, saving everyone. 

In the movie’s closing scenes, we see the siblings working together as a transporter while the Earth continues to propel toward their new home. 

Must Read

‘Love Village’ Season 1 Recap: Episodes 17 And 18

The voyage of Love Village has been reminiscent of...

Top 5 Spy-Espionage Movies That You Can Add To Your Watchlist

There exists a hidden corner where secrets lurk, and...

‘Mumbaikar’ (2023) Summary And Ending, Explained

Mumbaikar, directed by Santosh Sivan and released on June...

‘A Beautiful Life’ (2023) Summary And Ending, Explained

If you've previously seen A Star is Born, you...
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments