Filmmaker Terrence Malick doesn’t strike one as the type to traffic in sequels and spinoffs, especially for his little-seen Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams/Olga Kurylenko drama To the Wonder, but that’s exactly what’s happening. A trailer for a short film called Thy Kingdom Come has landed online, which effectively serves as a spinoff of the 2012 film and is made up of unused footage. Per The New Yorker (via The Playlist), photojournalist Eugene Richards was hired by Malick to join him on the Bartlesville, Oklahoma set of To the Wonder, where Richards was tasked with filming scenes in which Javier Bardem’s priest character would interview actual residents of the town.
Somewhat surprisingly, the residents acted as if Bardem was a real priest (even though they knew he wasn’t), and opened up, revealing painful and emotional true stories. That footage never made it into To the Wonder, but it’s been cut together for a 43-minute short film called Thy Kingdom Come which will debut at the SXSW Film Festival next month. Richards got permission from Malick to use the footage, and while it’s unclear how or when this might get a release, a trailer showcases some really gorgeous and emotional stuff.
To the Wonder was part of a surprisingly prolific period for Malick, who broke out with Badlands and Days of Heaven in the 1970s then disappeared until 1998’s The Thin Red Line. After 2011’s The Tree of Life, Malick went on a tear and shot three new films back-to-back: To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and Song to Song. Given his lengthy editing process these films saw a staggered release schedule, but the footage for them was captured in short order.
To the Wonder is a bit underrated, and while I can understand some folks’ frustration with the poetic nature of the movie—including from Affleck, who was surprised to find all his lines had been cut out—I think it’s an effective and moving portrait of love and a crumbling marriage. But again, it’s not a film for everyone, and if folks thought To the Wonder was shapeless they had no idea what was coming with Knight of Cups and Song to Song.
But this To the Wonder spinoff Thy Kingdom Come looks kind of terrific, and I’m curious to see if it’ll get a wider release. Check out the trailer below.