Iron Sky: The Coming Race is a 2019 Finnish-German comic science fiction action film directed by Timo Vuorensola.
The sequel to Vuorensola’s 2012 film Iron Sky, its production was crowdfunded through Indiegogo.
Like its predecessor, the film mixes political themes with repeated allusions to the popular culture and various conspiracy theories, but is generally more action-adventure oriented. A major inspiration of the content (and title) is the Vril conspiracy theory.
The year is 2047, 29 years after the nuclear war immediately following the battle between the Earth and Moon Nazis rendered the planet inhospitable. The last survivors have rallied together on “Neomenia”, the former Moon Nazi base on the far side of the moon, struggling to coexist with the former Moon Nazis who also live on the base. Over the years, the base has started to deteriorate, due to overpopulation and the damage on the moon caused by the battle. Meanwhile, Jobsism, a cult formed around the teachings of Steve Jobs and their leader, Donald, has become the moon base’s official religion.
Obi Washington, daughter of James Washington, who has since passed away, and Renate Richter, has spent her life keeping Neomenia’s life support systems functional. While examining a Russian refugee ship, she encounters Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, the long-presumed-dead former Moonführer, who gives her Vrilia, the cure to Renate’s terminal illness. When Renate’s health is restored, Kortzfleisch reveals to Obi that he is a Vril, a race of Reptilians that arrived on Earth during the age of the dinosaurs. While studying the primates that emerged during prehistory, Kortzfleisch created humankind by injecting Vrilia into an apple and feeding it to his monkeys, Adam and Eve. The Vril have since gone underground to the centre of the Earth once mankind had evolved. Kortzfleisch offers Obi a mission to travel to the subterranean city of Agartha and take the city’s Vrilia to ensure the survival of her colony. Obi, along with the refugee ship’s pilot, Sasha, security officer Malcolm, and the Jobsists, fly to Earth and crash in the Hollow Earth.
In Agartha, the Vril, who have been parading around as world leaders throughout history, kill the President of the United States for making the surface world uninhabitable. The Jobsists and Malcolm are captured by Steve Jobs and brought to Adolf Hitler, and Donald offers Hitler the whereabouts of Kortzfleisch in exchange for the Jobsists to live in Agartha, only for Hitler to betray them and have Jobs eat the Jobsists. Meanwhile, Obi and Sasha take the Holy Grail, the source of the Vrilia, but cause Agartha’s sun to collapse and destroy the city. Malcolm escapes from captivity and rejoins Obi and Sasha before they fly back to Neomenia. Hitler launches the Vril spaceship out of Antarctica to follow them. Upon the trio’s arrival, Kortzfleisch holds Renate hostage for Obi to surrender the Holy Grail, but Hitler and his tyrannosaurus, Blondi, invade the moon base. After drinking from the Holy Grail, a rejuvenated Renate confronts and kills Hitler, but is mortally wounded by Kortzfleisch. Obi, Sasha, Malcolm, and the surviving inhabitants escape in an old ship, but Kortzfleisch chases after them. Using Sasha’s old Nokia 3310, Obi hacks into Donald’s iPhone, triggering the self-destruct mechanism and destroying the Vril spaceship.
During dinner, Malcolm comes out as gay, but collapses and seemingly dies from allergens in the food. Both he and Renate are given a space funeral, but Malcolm suddenly gets out of his coffin, revealing that he only went into a short coma, a condition he has had since childhood. As the ship makes its long travel to Mars, Obi and Sasha express their love for each other.
In a mid-credit sequence, it is revealed that Mars has been colonised by the Soviet Union.
- Lara Rossi as Obianaju “Obi” Washington.
- Vladimir Burlakov as Sasha.
- Kit Dale as Malcolm.
- Julia Dietze as Renate Richter.
- Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States (a parody of Sarah Palin) who is secretly a Vril.
- Tom Green as Donald.
- Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch and Vril Adolf Hitler.
- John Flanders as Gary the Base Commander.
- James Quinn as Deputy Commander Johan.
- Emily Atack as Tyler.
- Martin Swabey as Ryan.
- Pierce Baechler as the Altar Boy.
- Christoph Drobig as the Guilty Jobsist.
- Edward Judge as Fat Tyler.
- Kari Berg as Lena the Jobsist.
- Victor Au as a Vril Officer.
- Vasco De Beukelaer as the Vril Chairman.
- Muya Lubambu Tshinioka as Vril Idi Amin.
- Antoine Plaisant as Vril Mark Zuckerberg.
- Amanda Wolzak as Vril Margaret Thatcher.
- Francesco Italiano as Vril Caligula.
- Duta Skhirtladze as Vril Joseph Stalin.
- Jukka Hilden as Vril Pope Urban II
- Abbas Shirafkan as Vril Osama bin Laden.
- Kari Ketonen as Vril Vladimir Putin.
- Hon Ping Tang as Vril Genghis Khan.
- Lloyd Lai as Vril Kim Jong-un.
- Tero Kaukomaa as Vril Urho Kekkonen.
- Gaëtan Wenders as Vril Steve Jobs.
- Alexander Moens as Vril Temple Guard.
- Alan Lumb as Vril Temple Guard and Moonbase Citizen.
On 20 May 2012, Tero Kaukomaa, producer of the first film, announced that there were plans for a prequel and a sequel but refused to disclose details. In May 2013, Vuorensola announced that Iron Sky would have a sequel titled Iron Sky The Coming Race. He also mentioned that unlike the first film, this instalment would be completely funded by fans via Indiegogo, with an estimated budget of US$15 million. A promo video was shot for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and the final draft of the script was scheduled to be published by the end of 2014. Filming was expected to begin in 2015.
In July 2013, Vuorensola revealed Croatia as one of the proposed shooting locations. In February 2014, Dalan Musson signed in to write the screenplay. The Finnish Film Foundation and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg had come on board to finance the US$13 million project. On 05 November 2014, Iron Sky Universe launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise US$500,000 before 20 December. At the closing of the campaign on 05 January, contributors pledged a grand total of US$560,949.
On 22 November 2014, Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment confirmed having a cameo role in the film.
On 18 September 2015, Vuorensola announced that filming would commence at AED Studios in Belgium.
In October 2016, Timo Vuorensola launched a new crowdfunding campaign to fund special effects for out-of-budget scenes that were in danger of being left out from the final cut of the movie. The scenes included the deaths of reptilian Margaret Thatcher and Pope Urban II.
In the summer of 2017 a number of original Iron Sky VFX artists filed a suit in Finland against Iron Sky Universe Oy and Blind Spot Pictures Oy. “The plaintiffs claim their creative contribution to the Iron Sky franchise is such that they should also be considered as joint copyright holders of the original movie.” In May 2018, the Finnish market court ruled that the artists have no copyright under sections 2, 6 and 46a of the Finnish copyright act in relation to Iron Sky and its material. The court awarded copyright to a single artist in the case of a Japanese ship design used in the film, but ruled that the copyright for only that ship had legally transferred to Blind Spot Pictures. In addition, the production companies filed a counterclaim asking the Finnish Market Courts to confirm that the VFX artists had no copyright in the films or in any material made by them and that the VFX artists had no right to use any material related to them. However, Finnish Market Courts rejected the production companies counterclaim.
Like its predecessor, the movie refers to several motifs of post-war Esoteric Nazism, such as the Hollow Earth theory. The movie’s title is most likely a reference to Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel The Coming Race (1871) that is commonly regarded as the origin of the so-called Vril myth. The film teaser features the Vril symbol that was designed by the Tempelhofgesellschaft in the 1990’s.
Release was originally announced for 14 February 2018, but had been postponed to 22 August 2018 in Finland followed by the rest of the world soon after, if not the same time. However, according to reports in the Finnish press, the release date of 22 August 2018 had been cancelled. It was later announced that the film was scheduled to be released on 16 January 2019 as the Fan World Premiere in Helsinki, Finland.
Following its premiere Iron Sky: The Coming Race attracted hostile reviews. Foreign reviews were generally negative as well.
The film did not do well in the box office. In Finland, it had close to 32,000 viewers, less than one-fifth of the previous film. International total box office (excluding Finland) by July 2019 was less than US$400,000.
Future of the Iron Sky Franchise
Before the film was released, a third film, called Iron Sky: The End Game (which would have made the Iron Sky films a trilogy) was in a planning stage.
During Autumn of 2019 there were many complaints from crowdfunding participants that Iron Sky Universe were not fulfilling their delivery of promised crowdfunding perks from the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
Eventually, on 05 November 2019, Iron Sky Universe placed an update citing, “very challenging financial situation for the company”, and saying that physical discs of the film may not actually be delivered at all. “However we can not make promises when the physical discs are coming, or if they’re coming at all.”
Blind Spot Pictures, the main production company for Iron Sky 2012 has been declared bankrupt since 17 September 2019.
- Produced on a budget of 17 million euros, The Coming Race is, as of 2019, the most expensive Finnish live-action picture ever made.
- The production suffered from repeated delays and a two-part copyright dispute, with a Finnish court denying that copyright even existed in the subject matter of the case apart from one 3D model, the Japanese Ship.
- The second half of the case was a counterclaim by the production companies to sue the original Iron Sky 3D artists for continued use of their work.
- The court ruled that the production companies had not shown any evidence of copyright ownership themselves and dismissed the counterclaim.
- The Coming Race was released on 16 January 2019 in Finland, but performed poorly in the box office.
- Most reviews were negative, citing problems such as unidimensional characters, low-quality CGI, dated jokes, and confused script.
- The self-conscious ludicrousness of the storyline divided critics, with some finding it amusing while others criticised it as disorienting and unfunny.
- Lara Rossi’s and Udo Kier’s performances received some praise.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Timo Vuorensola.
- Producer(s): Tero Kaukomaa, Oliver Damian, and Peter De Maegd.
- Writer(s): Dalan Musson, Johanna Sinisalo, Timo Vuorensola, Jarmo Puskala, Tero Kaukomaa, and Samuli Torssonen.
- Music: Laibach.
- Cinematography: Mika Orasmaa.
- Editor(s): Joona Louhivuori.
- Production: Iron Sky Universe amd 120db Film Finance.
- Distributor(s): 101 Films and Scoundrel Media.
- Release Date: 16 January 2019 (Finland).
- Running Time: 92 minutes.
- Rating: R.
- Country: Finland and Germany.
- Language: English and German.