Who is the Gemini Man? It’s a question that the film Gemini Man doesn’t really concern itself with.
In the new retro-action Will Smith vehicle, the plot revolves around an assassin who’s pursued by his own clone, brought to life by the most up-to-date visual effects (and a lot of scenes set in dark rooms), so the title seems appropriate – but the more I’ve thought about it, the less it makes sense.
- When is Gemini Man released in cinemas?
- The biggest movie releases of 2019
What the hell is a Gemini Man? Who is the title referring to? And why does this film so firmly dodge these crucial questions?
But now after months of research and debate a solution has been found, and the one true Gemini Man can be revealed – so let’s take a look at the likely candidates. Though if you haven’t seen the film, watch out, as we will be dealing in spoiler territory…
Will Smith 1, aka Henry Brogan
From the outside, I’d bet you anything that almost 95% of audience members queuing up would have named Henry Brogan, aka Will Smith Prime, as the titular Gemini Man based on the posters and his starring role.
But when you drill down into the film’s plot, you have to paraphrase Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle to ask yourself – what is it specifically that’s makin’ him a Gemini?
Sure, he has a clone, so there’s two of him – but is someone with a clone automatically called a Gemini Man? What even does that mean? Gemini as a Zodiac sign refers to twins, so together they could maybe be a Gemini symbol – but to divide that two to designate a singular Gemini man? It’s oxymoronic, with a shade less emphasis on the oxy.
Plus, we can’t ignore the fact that if the cloning plot of this film had never happened, Henry Brogan would be a singular man, clone-less. Personality, memory and experience-wise he’d be the same “Uno Man” (or just “man”) – so does his designation change based on an outside factor that has nothing to do with his personal physical being? Or is it more likely that he is, in fact, not the titular Gemini Man?
Complicating this issue is the fact that within the world of the film, Gemini is actually a separate entity, a corporation run by baddie Clay Varris (Clive Owen) that plays a very significant role in the plot. Henry has no direct involvement within the Gemini organisation – which might make you wonder if another Will Smith who is a part of it could be the Gemini Man instead…
Will Smith 2, aka Junior
Obviously, then, if Cool Original Will Smith isn’t the Gemini Man, it must be his clone – right? He wouldn’t exist except as a double of someone else, and has close ties to the Gemini corporation – while he might not know it, they actually created him! Clear as mustard.
And yet, the old issue of Junior’s essential singularity as a being vs the odd doubled “Gemini Man” term remains. Junior is a person, with autonomy and a different background to his elder clone. While physically they’re the same (and surprisingly, they have a very similar personality – director Ang Lee’s clearly a nature over nurture guy) Junior’s not part of a clear duo with Henry, with different wants, needs and memories and obviously a different age.
Another clone, though, could be a different story.
Will Smith 3, aka that other clone at the end (SPOILERS!!!)
I’d argue that of the three Will Smiths present, the unnamed second clone is the most Gemini-est Man in Gemini Man. He’s a clone, obviously, and this time he’s scrubbed of his own feelings, wants and desires. He’s essentially a shadow, not a real person at all, only relevant in his status as a copy of the OG Henry Brogan and a dark image of the more thoughtful clone Junior.
The trouble is that this also makes him less than an equal or double to the original Henry. He’s like Coke Zero – great Will Smith taste/action skills, zero emotional connection, inner life or pain receptors – so it seems odd to class him as part of a “Gemini” set with someone, especially when he’s technically the third Will Smith there. Triumvirate Man doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Plus, I still maintain that the term “Gemini Man” as applying to cloning is nonsensical – crucially, it’s never used in the film – which means we have to look at the terminology as more metaphorical, and possibly leaving the clone pool altogether.
Yes that’s right – what if the real Gemini Man isn’t a clone at all?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, aka Danny Zakarweski
Yes, Danny has a certain duality of purpose – a secret identity, a clash between her interest in science and job as a spy/assassin – but there’s only one of her, she has no association with the Gemini company and based on her characterisation in the film, it’s unlikely she could be casually referred to as a man. A non-starter.
Benedict Wong, aka Baron
No. And they really missed out on doing a “Toucan play at that game!” joke involving his pet bird. That could have been the movie’s tagline!
Anyway, enough games. Because now we’re moving onto….
The actual Gemini Man: Clive Owen, aka baddie Clay Varris
I know, you’re shocked. Everything about this movie told you that the Gemini Man had to be a Will Smith, probably the proper one, maybe the slightly gormless CGI one, or at the very least the psychopathic one with indestructible armour (which Gemini should probably have given every soldier? Just a thought).
But approach this puzzle logically, and you’ll see that there’s only one true candidate for the one true Gemini Man – Clive Owen. Or at least his character Clay Varris.
As the founder of Gemini, Varris is unquestionably a company man – a Gemini man, you might say, or even the one, the original, Gemini Man given that the company is his and his alone.
It’s also a company that (oddly, given the name) does plenty of things outside of cloning, meaning that the term Gemini in this film can only apply to the company – as I’ve said, the term Gemini Man never crops up in relation to cloning, or at all in film. And if Gemini is just the company, not the cloning, Clay Varris is its man.
Maybe you’re not convinced. The cloning is central to the story, the title is clearly a play on that – OK. Then I put it to you that Clay Varris brought all these clones to life. He is behind their creation, the thematic doubling at the heart of the story – and while no one clone can be said to be a Gemini Man, a singular man who creates this doubled effect could be. That’s Clay Varris.
And is there any character in this film with more of a hidden duality? He’s a dastardly villain – and a caring father. He’s ruthless and vicious – but he genuinely loves Junior, and appears to have been a pretty decent parent until he was all murder-y at the end. Junior didn’t seem too scarred (apart from all the people he’d assassinated).
If Gemini Man as a title has a double meaning (and given the etymology, it would seem appropriate that it does), it’s a combination of that duality, and the contribution to the cloning storyline – and with his technical status as the only person you could legitimately in conversation refer to as “a Gemini Man”, Clay Varris’ candidacy looks all but assured.
In the end, history may not remember the truth. The shifting sands of time will bury the genuine nature of Gemini Man’s identity, and as the years slowly creep past it seems all but certain that thoughtless fans will refer in passing to Will Smith and Will Smith alone as the Gemini Man.
But here, on this digital page, between these pixels, we will know the truth. Gemini Man is Clive Owen – and he always will be.
Gemini Man (the title of which refers to Clive Owen’s character) is in UK cinemas now