Don’t Look Up's Ending Explained: Does Everyone Die?

L to R: Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, and Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay's Don't Look Up (2021).
L to R: Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, and Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay's Don't Look Up (2021). / NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

Adam's McKay's star-studded Don’t Look Up, one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, arrived on Netflix on Christmas Eve. The end-of-the-world satire was released in theaters earlier this month, but now we can all watch it from the comfort of our homes.

The dramedy follows a professor named Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his graduate student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), who discover that a huge comet is headed straight toward Earth at a dangerously alarming speed. With the help of a scientist named Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), they attempt to alert U.S. President Orlean (Meryl Streep) of the impending danger, which turns out to be a much more difficult task than they had anticipated.

President Orlean cares more about her upcoming campaign than the future of the planet, and we learn pretty quickly that most of the movie's characters choose to prioritize their own lives over humankind. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Don’t Look Up is a metaphor for the climate change crisis.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Don’t Look Up.

Does the comet hit Earth in Don’t Look Up?

Though Dr. Mindy and Kate pull out all the stops in order to warn people about the comet coming toward Earth, the people in charge simply don’t care.

President Orlean eventually teams up with a tech billionaire named Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) after realizing the comet is made of valuable minerals. The two hatch up a plan that would stop the comet but preserve the expensive goods. That plan, ultimately, fails.

The United States turns to chaos as people prepare for the end of the world. Though some people realize they're headed toward a certain death, there are also comet deniers who follow President Orlean and refuse to believe the Earth is about to be decimated. While this is meant to represent climate change deniers, it’s also strikingly similar to those who believe that the COVID-19 pandemic—and the vaccines to help stop it—are a hoax.

In the end, Dr. Mindy, his family, Kate, and her new love interest Yule (Timothée Chalamet) all get together to have a nice dinner as they wait for the comet to hit. The house starts shaking and coming down as everything blows up and Earth is destroyed. Almost everyone on the planet dies instantly.

Don’t Look Up's Mid-Credits Scene, Explained

President Orlean and the passengers on her ship manage to get away from Earth, flying to another planet. But during the mid-credits scene of Don’t Look Up, we see that they can’t save themselves after all.

The group awakens from cryogenic sleep and walks off the ship onto a beautiful planet. But before they can truly enjoy their new reality, a huge bird-like creature attacks the president, and more emerge. It’s assumed they’re all killed by these creatures.

Don’t Look Up's Post-Credits Scene, Explained

Before the movie is truly over, viewers are treated to one last scene. President Orlean’s son Jason (Jonah Hill) emerges from the rubble after the comet hits Earth, calling for his mom. He takes out his phone and starts recording himself, telling his followers he’s the last man on Earth and asking for people to like and subscribe. Of course, with everyone else on Earth presumably dead, no one will see his video.