Donnie Darko turned 20 earlier this year—a fact that feels particularly shocking. Wasn’t it just yesterday that baby-faced Jake Gyllenhaal was asking his onscreen and real-life sister Maggie Gyllenhaal “how does one suck a fuck?” Two decades later, the movie sticks vividly in fans’ minds; both because of its memeable lines and because of its complex ending that perhaps rivals only Christopher Nolan’s Inception. At the very least, Donnie Darko’s probably gotten just as many people searching Google for an explanation of the ending as Inception.
In a new interview with Donnie Darko’s writer and director Richard Kelly for Rolling Stone, the filmmaker doesn’t clarify what actually happened in the bizarre ending, but he does seemingly hint that there’s opportunity to explore more of the Donnie Darko universe.
“There’s so much information in Donnie Darko, I’ve been processing it for two decades. But I think really in the past five years or so, since Trump was elected, I’ve been really digging into it and working to see what the bigger world of the film could look like,” he reveals.
As for the ending, he says that in his mind, “the last 10 percent of the movie is the reality of what carried forward. But there’s plenty more to discuss.”
Not much makes sense in the Donnie Darko universe, but it looks like Kelly’s confirming Donnie actually died, since that’s where the movie caps off. So, even though there’s plenty room for Kelly to expand on the Darko world, it looks like there’s a slim chance of seeing us Jake Gyllenhaal don the iconic skeleton suit again.
And speaking of the skeleton suit, Kelly says that yes, he does know who Phoebe Bridgers is. The indie powerhouse has made the outfit part of her persona, and she even went as far as wearing a gray hoodie over the suit in her video for “I Know The End,” replicating Donnie’s look.
“I hadn’t seen her wearing that costume, but I think that’s great,” Kelly says. “When I wrote that costume into the screenplay, I never thought it would ever become anything iconic because to me it was just a simple idea—one of those costumes that you buy at Kmart or something.”