Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 American-Australian space opera film written, produced, and directed by The Wachowskis and marks their return to original screenplays and the genre of science fiction since the conclusion of The Matrix trilogy. The film's plot centers on Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a lowly, down on her luck janitor who learns that her great genetic destiny has far-reaching implications that extend beyond Earth. Supporting cast member Douglas Booth has described the film's universe as a cross between The Matrix and Star Wars while lead actress Kunis named its underlying themes as indulgence "the human desire to constantly indulge in everything" and "consume more than you can provide", whether that is "food and nourishment – or [...] information and superficial items".
The film is co-produced by Grant Hill, who acted as executive producer on The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and as producer on V for Vendetta, Speed Racer, Ninja Assassin and Cloud Atlas, making Jupiter Ascending his seventh collaboration with the Wachowskis. Several more longstanding Wachowski collaborators since the creation of The Matrix films have contributed to the picture, including production designer Hugh Bateup, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, visual effects designer John Gaeta, supervising sound editor Dane Davis and costume designer Kym Barrett. Other notable past collaborators include Speed Racers composer Michael Giacchino, Cloud Atlas director of photography John Toll along with its editor Alexander Berner and finally hair and make-up designer Jeremy Woodhead, who worked on both.
Set in a future where, unbeknownst to Earth's residents, families of alien royalty own planets for business purposes, the House of Abrasax has been ruling all known life in the Universe for millennia. When the matriarch of the Abrasax family dies, her children Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) and Titus (Douglas Booth) are at war over the heir. Eventually a new heir comes to their attention; Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an unsuspecting Earth-living, unlucky caretaker of other people's homes. Jupiter encounters Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered interplanetary warrior, who came to Earth to reveal that her genetic signature makes Jones royalty and heir to Earth. Meanwhile, he has to protect her from Balem, who put a bounty on her head and would rather harvest Earth than lose it to Jones.
- Channing Tatum as Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter. Caine is a defective genetic splice, half-albino and with both wolf and human DNA. He has a tremendously powerful sense of smell that allows him to track a gene through the Universe. Tatum had to wear a mouthpiece to change the shape of his lower jaw, which prevented him from closing his mouth and gave him trouble when he had to talk. Before casting Tatum the directors queried him not only about whether he was up to the challenge physically but also about his personal belief and life experience with what love is.
- Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, an unsuspecting, unlucky, Earth-born janitor whose genetic structure marks her as royalty and the heir to Earth. Kunis describes her character as unhappy with her job and life, but also lazy and with no aspirations to do anything about it, until Caine finds her.
- Sean Bean as Stinger, a "Han Solo-type character". Stinger is spliced with bee DNA which gives him some of their characteristics: wings, speed, special vision and a sense of loyalty. Stinger was in the military with Caine but when Caine got into trouble and Stinger stood up for him, his wings were removed and he was exiled to Earth. He lives a normal life in Earth along with his daughter, who he describes as the only good thing he's done in life, until she falls ill and in need of a special nectar.
- Eddie Redmayne as Balem Abrasax, alien royalty whose family engages in the planetary business, trading in youth serum. He is the elder of the three Abrasax siblings and serves as the main antagonist of the film because he wants Earth for himself.
- Douglas Booth as Titus Abrasax, Balem's brother. Booth describes his character as "a bit of a playboy" mentioning his spaceship, as described in the script, is a cross between a Gothic cathedral and the Playboy Mansion.
- Tuppence Middleton as Kalique Abrasax, Balem's sister. She approaches Jupiter and befriends her, but like her brothers she has ulterior motives.
- Bae Doona in a small role as a bounty hunter.
- James D'Arcy in a small role shot in three days.
- Tim Pigott-Smith
- David Ajala as Ibis, the leader of the cyber hunters pursuing Jupiter and Caine.
- Charlotte Beaumont in a small part as Stinger's daughter.
- Terry Gilliam in "a small but vital part" in a scene that is an homage to Gilliam's Brazil.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a half-human, half-deer genetic splice.
- Sarah Campbell as Jupiter's gynecological nurse.
- Kick Gurry
- Edward Hogg
- Nikki Amuka-Bird
- Luke Neal