Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… with his kids Tom and Cooper and his father-in-law Donald on their farm somewhere in the American heartland. The blight that wiped out all crops except okra and corn has been a trial unlike anything mankind has yet seen on Earth. For Cooper, the only thing to do is be a strong father to his children, go to bat for them with their teachers, and instruct them to batten down the hatches when a dust storm heads for their town. Earth is rapidly becoming a wasteland, but Cooper is careful to instill a sense of normalcy – the only way to go is forward.

Profession… farmer. A former NASA pilot and engineer, Cooper is the last person on Earth with experience flying spacecraft. Some say he was the best pilot NASA ever had.

Interests… spending time with his kids around the house, or taking them to see the local major league team play the New York Yankees. Alas, big league stadiums are drastically downsized in an era in which life on Earth is such a struggle.

Relationship Status… widower. With no functional MRI machines or advanced medical equipment left available to the public, the cyst in Cooper’s wife’s brain went unnoticed until it killed her.

Challenge… saving humanity. NASA, now operating in secret and on a smaller scale, is conducting research on three planets on the other side of a wormhole. Its director asks Cooper to pilot a trip through the wormhole to retrieve the research and determine whether any of the planets is equipped to sustain human life. Due to both the inherent dangers and time-bending nature of interstellar travel, Cooper must weigh the future of humanity against the possibility of never again seeing his children. But then again, are his children not a part of humanity? A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.

Personality… humble, gentle, and deeply optimistic. As far as Cooper is concerned, an optimistic mindset is the most effective counter to the despairing psychological effects of the crop blight. As he puts it, “We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible.” His aw-shucks persona veils the great intellect and intense idealism that live inside him.


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