The Map of ‘Cloud Atlas’ [INFOGRAPHIC]

by Eric Melin on November 20, 2012

in Blogs

infographic-map-of-cloud-atlasThe collaboration of Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and thousands of top-flight actors and film craftsmen produced Cloud Atlas, an adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel that is among the most adventurous and awe-inspiring movies of the year. Not only are there hundreds of characters and plot threads, but they are stretched across time and space to form not one linear story, but a greater understanding of human nature.

Immediately after seeing the movie, we thought it would be a blast to try to delve into the intricate plot and theme structure of Cloud Atlas and try to map it all out. After graphic designers Tom Morse-Brown and Lyn Brown saw it, we knew we had some excited and willing collaborators. What they came up with was an infographic that clearly maps out genre, location, date, story, theme, characters, actors, archetypes, conflicts, turning points, a linking “comet” birthmark/tattoo, and actual artifacts passed down from generation to generation in the sprawling story.

It was a blast putting this together. Thanks again to Tom, Lyn, and Scene-Stealers contributor Trey Hock for making this happen.

Click here to see the full-sized version and download it or click on the Cloud Atlas infographic itself. Share away! If you are re-posting, please link back.

 the-infographic-of-cloud-atlas

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Bruce Murray November 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I wish I could have seen something like this poster before seeing the film.

Nice work!

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2 Eric Melin November 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Thanks, David!!! It was exhaustive, but Tom and Lyn did almost all of the work!

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3 Morgan November 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

WOW. I would totally buy a print poster of this. Amazing work!

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4 Trey Hock November 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I’ll look into cost to print and ship, and let you know.

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5 Sean Aikins January 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

I would actually like a printed copy too for my office. The movie left a profound impression and I can’t wait to dive into the book soon.

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6 Lisa November 21, 2012 at 2:24 am

This is awesome! except that in the final story (Zachary the goat herder) Sonmi 451 appears as his sister. The chart says she is a silent soul in this story.

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7 Eric Melin November 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

Lisa- I think you are referring to Xun Zhou as Rose http://blackcatmedia.com/images/cloudatlas2.jpg We just didn’t have space for all the minor characters!

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8 elektrahendrickson November 22, 2012 at 8:59 am

This would help me go into a movie and not feel lost half the time! That is why I don’t go as much because if I miss something I can rewind at home. What a fun info-graphic!

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9 DerMoment1608 November 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!!!

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10 FMM November 24, 2012 at 4:41 am

Wasn’t Donna Bay Zachry’s wife in the last timeline thing? :D

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11 Eric Melin November 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Nope. That was Xun Zhou, the rebellious fabricant!

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12 Zach November 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

There’s one that you’re missing: Donna Bae as the Mexican sweatshop worker in the thriller.

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13 Trey Hock November 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

We couldn’t find a photo for that character. We did note her though.

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14 sunsnapper December 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I did not see the Cloud Atlas symphony as an artifact… but, I would think it would be.
Very useful graphic, though.

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15 Eric Melin December 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Yep. I thought of that too–so it would go from the 30s story to the 70s, but was it technically passed down beyond that?

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16 Tina December 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi! Really nice work. But, there is some things that are wrong. Cavendish does not escape from gangsters. He is locked in by his brother in a nursing home for elders, and try to save and escape other elders. And Sonmi story is not in 2044, it’s in 2144. The last story is ca 2350.

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17 Eric Melin December 19, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks! Cavendish definitely escapes from the nursing home, but his “flight,” as we worded it, was from the gangsters. Thanks for the tip on the dates!

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18 Tina December 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I think you should have included Doona Bae’s Mexican woman in the 70′s story because that person is very important. Sonmi is the soul of the Mexican woman, and she is the ONE who SAVES Luisa Ray and that man, from Hugo Weaving who is her father in the first story, and who is the Korean man who killes her in the fith story. So he sort of got revenge on her.

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19 Eric Melin December 19, 2012 at 8:53 am

She’s in there, Tina — we just didn’t have an image for her. We’ll remedy that soon!

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20 Bailey May 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I’m sorry but this chart infuriates me.

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21 Avalon June 29, 2013 at 1:43 am

“Hugo Weaving who is her father in the first story”

Wait, what? That would mean he was all the time on the journey on the ship, too. *confused*

I think the chart is a bit confusing. It looks more like it depicts the roles that actors played, instead of the intended reincarnations. Doona Bae is shown as both the Mexican woman and Megan’s mom. That doesn’t make any sense! She would be reincarnated as two persons at the same era. Also Luisa Rey and the Indian part guest … Their times would overlay each other, even if Luisa Rey died sometime between 1975 and 2012.

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22 Christina October 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Doona Appears in the post-fall story line as Zachry’s sister. She IS incarnate.

http://www.zimbio.com/Actors+Who've+Played+Multiple+Roles+in+the+Same+Film/articles/ots3kGUsrsg/Doona+Bae+Cloud+Atlas

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23 Christina October 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Doona Bae appears as Zachry’s sister in the post-fall storyline. She IS incarnate. Your poster is wrong.

http://www.zimbio.com/Actors+Who%27ve+Played+Multiple+Roles+in+the+Same+Film/articles/ots3kGUsrsg/Doona+Bae+Cloud+Atlas

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24 Allen February 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Great chart! However, I think you haven’t paid enough attention to the character of Sixsmith. He’s another idealist, perhaps best described as “The Confidant/Informer”. His role revolves around being the receiver of critically important information that speaks to injustice, and what he chooses to do with that information has huge ramifications.

In 1931, he was too late to effect much change except to help Robert’s name from being completely forgotten by helping to publish the Cloud Atlas Sextet.

In 1973, he leaks the report that eventually leads Luisa to bring down the nuclear and oil company executives, but at the cost of his own life.

In 2144, as the Archivist, he takes Sonmi’s statement and indicates it would be digitally stored only for corporate historians (re: his employer’s PR people) to study. Instead, as Somni intuits at the end of the interview, he is strongly moved. And — as we see 106 years after the Fall — this had to have resulted in taking her story public, fomenting a huge social justice movement that makes her a world-wide icon.

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