Nope’s Alien Explained: What Is The Alien & What Does It Want?

Summary

  • Jean Jacket, the alien in Nope, takes on various forms throughout the movie and has mysterious origins, which adds to its uniqueness as a cinematic creation.
  • The alien in Nope doesn’t have a sinister motivation for preying on humanity. It is primarily territorial and driven by the need to eat and establish dominance over its territory.
  • The alien in Nope has impressive camouflaging abilities and a destructive feeding habit. It can’t digest inorganic matter and only attacks those who directly look at it, highlighting society’s obsession with spectacles and the consequences of seeking them.


The Nope alien, known only as “Jean Jacket” in Jordan Peele’s 2022 sci-fi horror, takes on several forms throughout the movie and has some of the most mysterious origins of any modern cinematic extra-terrestrial. As the socially aware director Jordan Peele’s third movie, Nope was a commentary on the widespread obsession with spectacles, which certainly applies to the unique nature of Nope’s alien. Jean Jacket in Nope is an antagonist with many thematic layers that can be unpacked by analyzing the various forms it takes.

Jean Jacket is central to the plot of the movie, with the Nope alien being the catalyst for the many strange events throughout. Nope‘s main characters, siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) begin to suspect a UFO is hovering over their ranch, which they manage to locate with the help of Angel (Brandon Perea). However, they learn that what they initially believe to be a flying saucer is something much more complex, and what they come to learn about Jean Jacket by the end makes the alien in Nope a unique cinematic creation.

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What Are The Aliens In Nope?

Jean Jacket’s Origins Are Left A Mystery

While the creature is nicknamed “Jean Jacket,” Nope never explains exactly what the alien is or the nature of its origins. The alien in Nope at first takes on the form of a saucer reminiscent of stereotypical UFOs. However, it later shifts into its true form — a more parachute-like, flowing being, evoking the imagery of biblical angels. It’s typically seen as dark gray at night but has a lighter appearance when attacking OJ and Emerald during the day.

The alien in Nope also has an impressive camouflaging ability, as it remains in the sky disguised behind a cloud that never moves. When feeding, the alien in Nope opens its “mouth” and sucks up horses, people, and any object in its path through a large area that reflects the design of very early cameras. The alien also has a great impact on electricity and technology when nearby, making them inoperable when in the alien’s path.

Ultimately, Jean Jacket was killed by Emerald when she untied the giant helium balloon mascot from Jupiter’s Claim, which exploded inside the alien’s mouth and ripped it apart at the end of Nope. It’s unclear whether there are more aliens like Jean Jacket or if it’s a unique being. It’s likely the movie also leaves certain details of the alien ambiguous intentionally, as introducing multiple aliens in Nope would have allowed audiences to potentially fill in more details about them, sabotaging some of the mystery.

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What Does The Alien Want In Nope?

Jean Jacket Is Simply Following Its Natural Instincts

A storm cloud with a string in Nope

The alien in Nope doesn’t necessarily seem to have a sinister motivation for preying on humanity like the villains in various other sci-fi films.

The main characters in Nope suggest that Jean Jacket is extremely territorial, which is part of why the alien has remained around Jupiter’s Claim and Haywood Ranch. While its primary motivation is likely to establish dominance over the area, it also has the primal need to eat, which is why it moves from Jupiter’s Claim over to Haywood Ranch to feed on the horses. OJ describes the alien in Nope as a “bad miracle,” but doesn’t seem to believe that it had any other purpose on Earth than to eat and claim its own territory.

The alien in Nope doesn’t necessarily seem to have a sinister motivation for preying on humanity like the villains in various other sci-fi films, as it appears to just be an unidentified predatory entity that settles on Earth in order to feed. However, While its original motivations for landing on Earth aren’t explained, Nope’s alien seemed to have become angrier and more predatory after Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) tried to tame it.

This seems like a minor detail when it comes to the shape-changing alien, but it has significant thematic importance. Jean Jacket becoming enraged after attempts to contain it connect to Nope’s scenes with Gordy the Chimp, who went on a murderous rampage on the set of a 1990s sitcom. As OJ and Emerald’s father had said, some things aren’t meant to be tamed, so the alien may have lashed back at Jupe and humanity’s attempt to control it.

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The Feeding Habits Of The Alien In Nope Explained

Jean Jacket Cannot Digest Inorganic Matter

Jupe leads a horse to be eaten by the alien in Nope

The alien in Nope is frequently seen eating horses and humans, and perhaps any organic matter that is found near Jupiter’s Claim and Haywood Ranch. Nope makes it clear that the alien cannot digest anything inorganic, which is why it spits out metals, fake horses, and coins, such as the nickel that killed OJ and Emerald’s father.

Connecting to the movie’s core theme of spectacles, Nope‘s mysterious alien doesn’t feed on those who don’t look directly at it. Society has an obsession with needing to see and understand every moment, especially those that are particularly bizarre, but only those that can manage to ignore the spectacle are the ones that survive in Nope.

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Why Does Nope’s Alien Stay Near The Haywood Ranch?

Jupe Ensured Jean Jacket Knew Where To Find A Steady Food Supply

Split image of Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun in Nope

Nope’s alien would have found far more food closer to the heart of Los Angeles, but chose to stay in the remote area near Jupiter’s Claim and Haywood Ranch. The reason for this seems to be that Jupe had been regularly feeding the alien for months in an attempt to tame it as a spectacle for his theme park show, “Star Lasso Experience,” with the horses at the nearby Haywood Ranch in offering plenty of food.

Since the alien in the Nope had already eaten Jupe, his family, and all of the audience members at the theme park before the film’s ending, it had to move over to Haywood Ranch where it knew there would still be food. Had the Nope movie protagonists been unsuccessful in killing it, the alien likely would have moved into more populous areas to feed on other humans and wildlife.

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Jean Jacket Is A Movie Villain Rich In Thematic Depth

Jupe waiting for the alien in Nope

On the surface, the Nope alien could be written off as yet another sci-fi movie invader. However, director Joran Peele is known for insert underlining social commentary in his horror movies — as seen with previous hits Get Out and Us — and various aspects of Jean Jack are also hints about what the true meaning of Nope is. What is very evident in Nope is that the story is about the obsession with spectacle and the need for society to seek it without care for the consequences. The alien in Nope is directly tied to this idea.

In Nope, Jordan Peele flips the alien invasion movie trope of characters looking toward the sky, instead presenting Jean Jacket as the much bigger threat that is looking down on them. Just as OJ and Emerald set up cameras to spot the alien, the alien itself looks like a camera staring right back at them. Even more eerie, there are times when the alien takes flight when it looks like a giant eye, hovering over the characters and daring them to meet its gaze. Such details are part of the fun of revisiting Nope and seeing that every decision Peele makes is part of the bigger picture.

Nope

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Nope follows the owners of a family-run Hollywood horse ranch whose lives are changed by extraterrestrial phenomena. Siblings Otis (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) scramble to understand events that seem to defy all explanation, even as their neighbor (Steven Yeun) tries to turn the strange occurrences into a alien tourist attraction.

Release Date
July 22, 2022

Cast
Steven Yeun , Michael Wincott , Daniel Kaluuya , Brandon Perea , Keke Palmer , Barbie Ferreira

Runtime
131 minutes

Studio(s)
Universal Pictures