In Altered Carbon, mankind has found a way to cheat death, making life 300 years in the future very different. Thanks to technology, the human consciousness can be downloaded digitally to “stacks” which can then be transferred to a humanoid “sleeve,” or body, granting perpetual life. If a sleeve is damaged or destroyed, the consciousness is simply “spun-up” or revived in a new sleeve—if they have the means to obtain one.
Of course, there are tiers to this experience and the higher classes and government officials enjoy the spoils of this infinite existence, being “spun-up” repeatedly. But even in a world where death is delayed indefinitely, there is a human cost that is both physical and spiritual.
Anthony Mackie (Avengers: Endgame, Striking Vypers) stars in season two as Takeshi Kovacs, the lone surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors, continuing his centuries old quest to find his lost love Quellcrist Falconer, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry (Waves, Hamilton). After decades of planet-hopping and searching the galaxy, Kovacs finds himself recruited back to his home planet of Harlan’s World with the promise of finding Quell.
During his journey Takeshi is assisted by a bounty hunter named Trepp, played by Simone Missick (All Rise, Luke Cage) who is trying to secure a future for her family in a world that doesn’t care about them.
While living forever seems like a dream for most, in a conversation with BET, the cast shared what they felt was the downside to potentially living forever.
The pros of [immortality] is if you find that person, find that thing, you find true happiness, you can indulge in it until it’s no more. The cons [are] you have to live with your faults forever. Every shortcoming you have and every mistake you’ve made is with you for your entire life.
As a person who wants to live to be 106—that’s my goal—I look at the people who do live that long, they lose so many people around them. It’s a lonely place, it’s a lonely thing if the people around you aren’t also immortal, there to share your memories and remind you of who you are and where you came from. I think that with immortality, if all things are equal and everyone lives forever, you lose the feeling, I think, of passion to achieve, to love fiercely. To cherish each moment. To not know that they’re infinite. You don’t have forever. I think [that] is the way that we live our lives and we so greatly want to hold on to those close to us and believe and pray and walk with a certain purpose knowing that we’re here for a short amount of time. I think that if you don’t have that and you have nowhere else greater or better to go, once it’s all said and done, you create a future where nothing is valued. Life is not precious. And I could look at you and say ‘I like that, give it to me.’ And take your sleeve. And I think that is a disgusting devaluation of humanity.
Renee Elise Goldsberry:
This is one part of the journey, right? To think that our journey is about what our body is doing is really just because we are so small. We’re down here, we can’t get higher and see. Our soul is the span of a lifetime. And the idea that we would make this experience in one body—or many bodies—define who we are, probably cheats of the greatest things we will come to know as a spirit when we let this one go.
Season 2 of Altered Carbon premiers on February 28.
Photo Credit: Netflix