Lars Ulrich on Mysterious 'Through the Never' Bag: 'It's Nice to Have a Cliffhanger'

Could the bag possibly contain Cliff Butron's spirit?

Ultimate Guitar

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recently discussed the content of mysterious "Through the Never" bag, the item which the film's main character Trip is sent to pick up, making it somewhat of the movie's focal point. Ulrich was mostly vague in his explanation, but possibly dropped a hint supporting the claim that the bag in fact contains the spirit of late bassist Cliff Burton. "I heard a lot of takes on what's in the bag, the leading contender of course being - it's the new album" Lars told Metal Hammer TV. "But there are other, even more clever answers than that. I don't know what's in the bag 'cause I never looked in there. But I think it's less important what's in the bag, I think it's more about the journey. I think it's nice to have a bit of a cliffhanger." The theory of Burton's spirit being in the bag is based around several facts, one being that the moment Trip brings the bag back in the film, the band is playing "Orion," a song commonly associated with Cliff, his style and playing. Secondly, the film was released on September 27, the same day Burton died in 1986. During the rest of the chat, Ulrich talked about his experience with Hollywood movie producers, essentially calling them highly superficial and attention-lacking. "In Hollywood - if you can't sell your idea in 12 seconds and if you don't have obvious references - 'It's 'Star Wars' meets 'Jaws'' - if you don't have these easy references, people can't comprehend it." So what do you think of the Cliff theory? And have you checked out the movie yet? Let us know in the comments.

51 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My theory was that it was just a six pack of some kind of Danish beer that Lars wants after every concert.
    link no1
    Yea I mean, why wouldn't Cliffs spirit be hanging around in a bag? It's everything I hoped the afterlife would be and more!
    Your right! Cliff, Dime Bag and Robert James Dio have a new single out....Wouldnt that EFFING blow minds!?
    A valid interpretation, but mine's was that the bag contains the band's future, hence why it was so important. Then again, they made the whole narrative purposely ambiguous...
    I was hoping it was going to be Cliff in some sort of form and during the credits when they play Orion he would appear and play Bass alongside Robert. I kind of got my hopes up when I watched the making of video when he said that he was told he couldn't do a hologram and they couldn't do the Tesla Coil thing which they ended up doing.
    Everybody thought it was Dave Mustaine's head.
    of all the theories, that's the worst one so far mate. It's safe to say you're an idiot. Furthermore I think you and possibly a friend thought the bag contained Dave's head, so not EVERYONE.
    -reads short article-description under title- "Could the bag possibly contain Cliff Butron's spirit?" ... "Possibly contain Cliff Butron's" ... "Cliff Butron's" ... "Butron" ...
    Who is Cliff Butron? I've heard of Cliff Burton but never this Butron guy you're talking about.
    I think the whole story is just a bad acid trip he roadie is having... if you remember, he takes a pill when he is in the van. Throughout the whole movie there is no other reference to any kind of disease he might have... this is why I think the movie makes no sense in some parts (buildings falling when he hits the hammer in the floor!!). Nevertheless the ideia of Cliff's spirit being in the bag is nice!
    The pill he took when he got in the van was lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)... an ADD medication. Not a hallucinogen. (he was probably taking it to stay awake)
    My take on the film is that the bag represents a member that never made it, kind of like a reminder of who was left behind. Little things like the music being played at certain parts of the film, the van being turned over, and of course the ending credits with Orion being played. We miss you Cliff.
    What about it possibly being a hologram of Cliff? They certainly have the resources and funding to pull it off. Could you all imagine how batshit crazy a crowd would go if they essentially got to see Cliff AND Robert on the same stage?
    The problem with that explanation is that it disregards definitions: a "cliffhanger" is using cuts in shots and narrative to build suspense. In film theory, the bag would be a "McGuffin," something which the audience feels is important and all the characters want but which is inherently irrelevant - it's only important as a symbol to move along the plot (think the disc in "Burn After Reading").
    i wanna burn your reply after reading... who takes this shit as literal film theory? IT WAS CLIFF!!
    I want to know what the bag meant, which is the only thing that I liked about the movie. I like Metallica. A lot. But this movie was .. bollocks in my opinion.
    What's in the bag is Metallica's past indifferences within the band and the partying. That why in the beginning of the film , Trip is delivering a " No Frills " bag of treats for the show. That's why when he is walking down the corridor and he sees the band members , they just shun him and go about their own business. In the bag is the truth that they are still the greatest ****in band that I've ever witnessed LIVE AND LOUD here in America.
    I always thought it was Cliff's travel bag. i mean its leather, it looks vintage, so maybe its where Cliff kept his underpants...
    I thought what's in the bag was the distortion pedal for the bass guitar to reproduce Cliff's sound. what do you think?
    The whole journey is literally a metaphor, Trip represents the soul of Cliff Burton, who died in that tragic accident so long ago. He loved the music with so much passion that not even the Devil himself could stop his spirit from returning to Earth and making sure that the band went on without him. He was literally in Hell because the band almost stopped playing after his loss. The bag contains Cliff's blessings and the story of his escape from the afterlife, which was delivered before the show took place and actually inspired both the set list and the cunning stunts (wink) they used for the performance. They literally couldn't have done it without him. The band isn't shunning him in the beginning, they're just seeing his ghost and mourning his loss every time they put on a show. In the end, after the band decides that the show must go on, because Cliff would've wanted it that way, he finally finds peace and after one last soundcheck with the band, Cliff can now move on to Heaven.
    Ok, here's version number two. Trip does not represent Cliff's soul, he's just a roadie and a fan like all of us. When he gets to the bag and opens it, he finds it empty, the contents of the bag have been taken by the looters already. Yet rather than return empty handed and be accused of shirking his duties and going for donuts, he takes the bag with him to prove that he tried. After he is beaten to the point of death by the rioters, he awakes in limbo, where the rider waits to claim his soul. However this does not happen, because the soul of Cliff Burton inhabits the puppet that he's been carrying around all movie and inspires him to fight for his life. When he returns to the arena the show is already over and he leaves the bag on stage with the puppet inside, proving to all that true Metallica fans will go through Hell and back to support the band. If you notice, he arrives with the puppet in hand, yet does not have it when he takes his seat for the final song. The band was supposed to be there for one night only, yet impressed by Trips dedication, they choose to honor him by returning to the stage for one last private performance in his and Cliff's honor.
    Version number three, merge the first and second story together. Because all of us fans have a little bit of Cliff's soul inside of us.
    ALSO, Mustain sounds like Mustang, and gas mask was riding a clydesdale.....BOOM..... Mind Blown
    jwhuffman74 has it. All the other crap aside, bringing cliff with them to every show. Orion playing as a dedication at the end. Lars saying, CLIFFhanger....I don't care what you think, but i got chills when i realized the facts. CLIFF EM ALL!
    ironguts 70
    it was a cliff hanger for the next awesome movie metallica is gonba make they still rock
    My take on it was that it was an empty bag. Because after he opens it he looks displeased n kinda jus sits there like what the ****?! Journey wasted. But what ever it was, hes a badass. He delivered. Loved the film.
    I just finished watching it on Netflix... over the years I've totally lost my fascination with most things Metallica so wasn't in a rush to see it. Thank God I got to see them live back in '91 before the major decline/sellout/commercialization/whatever you wanna call it. Still regret not seeing Cliff live. I'm impressed with myself though, because even before I googled "through the never whats in the damn bag", I thought to myself "I bet it's Cliff's soul, or maybe his Levi jacket and his bell bottoms... or even his severed head!" It just felt right, kinda like the brief case in Pulp Fiction. The whole end-credits Orion thing just sealed the deal. Remember what Cliff once said: "Die! Puss, fag, slut!"
    And just to clarify, the only reason I watched this was because the new season of Vikings isn't out on Netflix yet and I was board. After Load, then Reload, then St. Anger and Death Magnetic along with all the B-roll side shit in between those, I could really care less what they do anymore. They had a really good thing going for the first decade, then dropped the ball. Shame.
    I love metallica, but personally found the narrative a bit cheesy, still nice to see them willing to try anything! it was a good ***** show nonetheless!
    You guys probably won't know this but the bag that they use to film the movie is actually REAL CLIFF'S travelling bag