MBTI: Interstellar Cast
Having just about reached the 600 million mark at the box office by the time this was written, We’ve got another Nolan hit on our hands. It’s not surprising though, seeing as how hungry the Nolanites were for something new, and even those that would hate the idea of being labeled anything other than what they choose have to admit that he can get their attention.
So do we have another cast of well-rounded, obsessed individuals flipping around on a psychological jungle gym? You betcha.
Though his love of space and theory, NASA piloting credentials, and optimistic outlook on the dismal may seem to be the preferences of INTP, Cooper is an example of how the Artisan and the Rational can be confused. Cooper’s specialist as a pilot shine through as the mission goes on and though he’s certainly competent in his role on board a ship of scientists, his real abilities lie in the immediately analyzed as ISTP types are known for. Not to mention the Artisan trademark of optimism on the future, for as Keirsey puts it, “they expect all the brakes.”
Cooper’s Ti/Se preferences become especially apparent when he immediately makes the decision to attach their shuttle to the Endurance, even with the latter spinning out of control. While Brands remarks that it’s impossible to do so, Cooper acknowledges but also says that it’s necessary, as ISTPs appreciate their own ability to take the next correct and logical step.
It only furthers the idea of him being an ISTP in that their expertise is usually of the technical variety, with their preferences for analytical thinking create a type that likes to take information in for the appropriate dissection.
Much of Cooper’s priorities lie with getting back to his family as quickly as possible and ISTPs are known for their inattentiveness to their own feelings though this doesn’t make them a cold shell. If there is a problem with the ISTPs and their connection to their loved ones, it can often be found in the idea that ISTPs often only seem to show interest in their own loved ones and interests, something Cooper is accused of on several occasions by his team during the mission…as well as by his daughter to the mission.
Daughter of our man Cooper, Murph’s dedication to completing her father’s work on the earth side of things while simultaneously resenting him calls to mind the deeply complicated inner workings of a strong Fi user. With Introverted Feeling users (Especially strong ones) having a hard time putting their feelings into words, much of their ideas and values go unnoticed and misunderstood. Murph is definitely a character that has much more going on in her own head than she dares share with the rest of the world as evidenced by her first time sending a transmission to her father (or at least, starting one) after twenty three years.
It’s been said by a few that while Murph’s type seemed difficult, it’s the complexity of a stronger Fi user that seems to make more sense applied to Murph than say, an INFJ- who also carries a certain emotional weight with them but not the same “friction” that conflicted INFP users seem to have.
Murph, as an INFP would also use Ne (Extroverted Intuition) as an auxiliary function and this would make sense in her interpretation of her “ghost.” While Ni users (such as an INFJ) prefer to wait for something a bit more palpable crosses their mind to make any sort of move, Ne users are content in seeing meaning in everything, which also makes for a sort of “grass is greener” personality. But in Murph’s case, her interpretations allowed her to (eventually) understand exactly what her ghost was trying to tell her and save us all.
Amelia Brand- ESTJ
Though ESTJ seems a strange fit, Amelia’s following in her father’s footsteps as a professor speak to Si and her commitment to the mission even after the team learning of it’s supposed futility suggest that same function- doing what she knows. But it’s the determined resolve of Te that drives the ESTJ as with Brand and her desire to not only finish what they started but also creates a bit of back and forth between her and Cooper that the other team members don’t necessarily have. Other than TARS, of course.
While ESTJs aren’t necessarily known for being witty, any ESTJ that has a questioning personality in their midst as the team does with Cooper, can often be the one to “show them the light” as it were. Brand and Cooper are the two whose chemistry leans toward the tense more so than the other crew members and not in the way a hard headed ISTJ’s beliefs would display themselves but from a perspective that doesn’t mind explaining why their dissenter is wrong. ESTJs are, of course, known for being hard head as well but explaining their ideas to others are a part of their mindset. It’s not enough for them to know it and live it, but the same goes for you as well.
Amelia’s thoughts on love were also particularly interesting. ESTJs are known for their hot-and-cold personality as we’ve often gone over on this site. While a stronger Fi user may seem fitting for Amelia, it may sooner be her inferior Fi as an ESTJ that goes from “Mission first” to explaining love as an actual “thing.” While a stronger feeler may have looked at this as a solution originally, Brand proposes this later on during the mission, attempting to explain why she’s feeling what she is as though she hadn’t given it much thought before. She does seem surprised herself. This brings to mind an inferior feeler’s way (extroverted or introverted) of generally being unaware of their own feelings.
The character that really helped define Cooper’s strength on the Endurance, Romilly’s preference for Ti shows through in his explanation of the wormhole to Cooper. His excitement at seeing it is something akin to Grant’s first view of a living dinosaur in Jurassic Park. It’s one thing to read about it, study it, talk about it, etc…but to see it? As amazing a phenomenon as a wormhole could be, seeing it is something only the “enlightened” would care about. “Enlightened,” meaning “nerd.”
But in all seriousness, the INTP’s preference for Ti wouldn’t make them who they are if not for their auxiliary Ne (Extroverted Intuition) that sees possibilities everywhere with Ti having narrowed their possibilities down to what works in the first place.
And it’s a good thing Romilly is an INTP too, because he was left on the station for twenty-three years by himself. Seeing people again for the first time in more than two decades didn’t result in excitement, hugs, and crying as it did with the more extroverted Dr. Mann, but with something parallel to a “Hey.” Very few types love solitude the way INTPs do and for many, if not most nowadays, their computer is their best friend. Some time alone with their own ideas, floating in space while waiting for their astronaut compatriots to come back sounds almost like an INTP vacation.
John Brand- INTJ
The long range planner, Dr. Brand is the head of the Lazarus Project and mentor to Murph. While there’s only so much to go off with Professor Brand, we do know he had the vision to get things going in the first place, as well as a “contingency” plan suggesting heavy Ni, which sees multiple outcomes from one source. And as it turned out, there really was only one plan, which involved everyone on earth dying. In a more fantastical film, the typing of Brand as an INTJ may have involved him cackling in the dark over this but in Interstellar, it wasn’t what Brand wanted, he just didn’t see any other way.
INTJs themselves are known not only for their long-range thinking, but for keeping quiet where they really should involve others, believing their way to be the right way. The auxiliary Te keeps their plans moving forward and though Brand doesn’t seem to be the hardened backstabber INTJs often are in fiction, anything would be reaching. This guy had a plan, and as cold as it may have seemed, he was taking the best course of action he believed he could.
Even still, the first half of his plan helped Murph solve the second half so it’s not as though he was just wasting time but doing what he could to follow through.
How can a robot be typed?! When it comes to science-fiction, it seems we get a nice variety of androids, robots, and automatons that often times have more personality than the human cast members (No, I’m not talking about Bicentennial Man). And while the human cast members were intriguing, this blandly shaped talking block seemed to be the English-speaking version of R2-D2 through most of the movie.
If he was programmed with someone’s personality or not wasn’t made clear but what we do know is that TARS humor setting (Originally 90%) fits an ENTP by making too many jokes that aren’t funny to the people around them and making them at the wrong time.
Cooper: [When Cooper tries to reconfigure TARS] Humour 75%.
TARS: 75%. Self destruct sequence in T minus 10, 9, 8…
Cooper: Let’s make it 65%.
TARS: Knock, knock.
It seems regardless of who his personality is modeled after, or what his humor setting is, bad jokes are bound to come with it. Real life ENTPs often find solace in making incisive observations about the world around them, as if laughing about it brings some levity to the situation.
TARS himself (or itself) also has a unique role in the world of robots, real or fictitious, in that he doesn’t seem at all unaware of his place on the ship, even after Cooper and Brand separately show attention to TARS’ seemingly selfless ways- though TARS reminds Cooper that he’s a robot and is wired to obey them.