The whole solarpunk is clearly going mainstream when it ends up in Hollywood and with Disney:
It’s all about utopian visions:
Can We Have More Solarpunk Movies, Please?
Science fiction’s vision of the future is, on the whole, pretty bleak. Sand dunes that used to be oceans. Rotting skylines, affixed with salvaged neon billboards selling soft drinks. Underground bunkers hastily built to shield humanity from a toxic atmosphere. We’ve seen it before. We’ll probably see it again.
Indeed, the image of a deteriorating corporate dystopia has almost become ordinary. Which, consequently, defangs any purported “scare ’em straight” messaging. If the polluted worlds of Mad Max or The Matrix were powerful enough to prompt change, we wouldn’t be experiencing the hottest summer on record … every summer.
Solarpunk offers an alternative approach. Not quite a genre in its own right, but quickly making a name for itself across a variety of mediums, Solarpunk is an optimistic reaction to more cynical readings of the future. Maybe there’s a future where we can find a way to make sustainable urban living a possibility. Maybe the more radical thing is to envision a future where we aren’t living on a deteriorating planet.
Released in 2022, Strange World is thematically aligned with Solarpunk values. And while its Disney origins do have a certain greenwashing aftertaste, its keen interest in systemic change (rather than individual action) and its acknowledgment of Solarpunk’s debt to indigenous and afro- future-proofing is noteworthy.
Is Strange World an on-the-nose allegory? Yeah. But there’s also an argument to be made that its Solarpunk message has more bite than what the rest of the climate has been slinging for decades.