Content warning: This post contains spoilers for “They Cloned Tyrone.”
Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone” has us seeing double, triple, and even quadruple in the freaky conspiracy-theory film. John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris star in the sci-fi comedy that uncovers a sinister cloning experiment happening right underneath their rundown, inner-city neighborhood, The Glen. While the bulk of the movie focuses on the trio finding out how clones are being made under their noses, the climax and conclusion reveal why the nefarious study is even happening in the first place.
“They Cloned Tyrone” starts off with Boyega’s character, Fontaine, a stoic hustler who spends his free time lifting weights, buying scratch-offs, and drinking malt liquor. Oh, and also beating up other local hustlers who mess with his cashflow. One unlucky encounter leads Fontaine to a shootout that kills him — or so everyone thinks. When he miraculously shows up at Slick Charles’s (Foxx) motel door unharmed the next day, the fast-talking pimp informs him that he just saw Fontaine get shot in the parking lot the night before. His working girl Yo-Yo (Parris) confirms the story, too, which leads Fontaine to suspect something strange is afoot.
His suspicions lead the trio to an unsuspecting abandoned house, where they stumble upon an elevator that unveils a “freaky laboratory.” It’s there that they discover a dead clone of Fontaine and, soon thereafter, other clones of familiar faces from their neighborhood being stored in gas chambers, including Slick Charles.
After uncovering several hidden locations that lead back down to the lab, the trio attempt to expose it publicly, but not before their investigation summons the bad guy in charge. Well, almost in charge. There’s a scientist who’s the real mastermind behind the clones, but more on that later.
Halfway through the movie, when Fontaine, Slick Charles, and Yo-Yo get cornered by hypnotized club patrons in the street, a man named Nixon (Kiefer Sutherland) pulls up with another Fontaine clone and finally clues them in on what’s really been going on. Turns out, the cloning experiment is actually part of a bigger scheme to, as Nixon says, “keep the United States united.” In order to do so, they need clones of hustlers and pimps like Fontaine and Slick Charles as “a control setting” to, in short, keep run-down neighborhoods as they are, undisturbed without the interference of gentrification.
When an angered Fontaine tries to attack Nixon over the revelation, he’s halted by a code word that places him under hypnosis: “Olympia Black.” Then and there, Fontaine realizes the real truth: he’s been a clone all along, because the command only works on clones.
Feeling powerless after their standoff, Fontaine’s left with no other option but to accept his fate, however, Slick Charles and Yo-Yo have other plans — especially when the latter gets kidnapped back to the cloning lab. So Slick Charles teams up with Fontaine to dream up a scheme to shut down the harmful cloning operation once and for all.
Ahead, we break down the mind-blowing ending to “They Cloned Tyrone,” plus an end-credits scene that hints at a potential sequel.
“They Cloned Tyrone” Ending Explained
In order to get back down to the lab undetected, Slick Charles suggests a plan where Fontaine gets shot, like at the beginning of the movie, but this time, he plays dead. Once his “dead” body is picked up off the street by the cloning agents and taken to the lab, Fontaine sets out to find Yo-Yo and release the other clones. In the meantime, Slick Charles rounds up folks from the neighborhood to lead a revolt and rescue mission for Yo-Yo and the clones. Once everyone gets underground, they destroy the lab while Slick Charles and Yo-Yo take out Nixon. But he’s not the only villain who needs defeating.
When Fontaine comes face to face with one of his more dangerous clones, he’s beaten to a pulp and dragged down to an office that finally reveals the mad cloning scientist. And, surprise, it’s Fontaine! But this version of him is the actual original, who’s much older. When the two meet, the original Fontaine shares more background behind the cloning experiment and why there are multiple clones of him. As he explains, it all stems from the death of his little brother, Ronnie, whom we see glimpses of in photos throughout the movie. It’s the one memory that all the Fontaine clones have. Per the scientist, Ronnie’s death is the reason he “made a deal with the devil” to start the whole operation: to prevent instances like that tragedy from happening.
According to the scientist’s side of the story, the “invisible powers that be” above him had already tried torturous research experiments on Black communities before he came along — these included hair products, fried chicken, songs on the radio, etc. And they used clones to maintain the charade to try to keep the peace in America. But the scientist points out that it wasn’t enough just for clones to all think the same; they have to be the same, too. And because of his research, he tracked hundreds of unique genes in the Black clones that separate “the ghettos” from other communities. So the plan is to eventually turn them all, even across the country, into other races in years to come. Because “assimilation is better than annihilation.”
Before the original Fontaine can kill off his clone (the protagonist we know), the latter strains to utter the magic command “Olympia Black.” This activates his dangerous clone, whom our Fontaine instructs to shoot and kill the original. Down the hall, Slick Charles shoots and kills Nixon, too. Free from the experiment, the movie’s trio and all the clones (who also happen to be naked) return back to The Glen, where news crews swarm to cover the peculiar, shocking discovery. But that’s not the end of the story.
“They Cloned Tyrone” End-Credits Scene Explained
Way across the country, in Los Angeles, we meet another Fontaine clone, whose name is, of course, Tyrone. He has a similar routine to his counterpart: he lifts weights outside, buys scratch-offs, and drinks 40 oz. In the “They Cloned Tyrone” end-credits scene, Tyrone and his friends watch the news to see more reports about clones being found. And interestingly enough, Tyrone sees his own clone on TV, which makes one of his friends turn and ask, “Ain’t that you, Tyrone?”
An updated version of Erykah Badu’s 1997 hit “Tyrone” then plays as the film’s credits roll, with lyrics like: “Them motherf*ckers cloned Tyrone (Cloned him) / So tell him come on,” and “Every time we go somewhere / they gotta search down in my purse / And scan your waves, and your homeboy’s waves / And sometimes your cousin’s waves.”
The movie’s ending doesn’t seem to suggest a continuation with a second film, but it certainly leaves the door open to possibilities.
“They Cloned Tyrone” is now streaming on Netflix.