Looper Beat Sheet

Looper Beat Sheet


Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
Running time: 111 minutes
Year: 2012

Click here to download the Looper script

Lessons From Looper: The Difference Between World-Building and Story


Looper Basic Story Map

PROTAGONIST: Joe, mid-20s, a specialized assassin for the mob known as a Looper
EXTERNAL GOAL: To close his loop
INTERNAL GOAL: To do what’s in his best interest
THEME(S): Selflessness / Sacrifice
CENTRAL DRAMATIC QUESTION: Will Joe protect Cid and kill Old Joe?
ENDING: Joe kills himself, erasing the existence of Old Joe and saving Cid.
ARC: Joe goes from a selfish man to a man who sacrifices himself to save a little boy.

Looper Story Map Free Download


Looper Story Engines

Seth comes to Joe’s apartment desperate for help after failing to close his loop. Joe hides Seth, but gives him up when Abe threatens to take half of his money. Later, Joe’s loop, Old Joe, the future version of himself, overcomes him and escapes. Joe goes back to his apartment for supplies, but stumbles upon Kid Blue and his men. Attempting to flee, Joe falls off the fire escape.

After Joe falls of the fire escape, he reappears in the field, and this time, kills Old Joe. The next thirty years play out. Moments before Old Joe’s forcibly sent back in time, he kills his captors and goes back on his own free will. The scene with Joe and Old Joe plays out as it did the first time with Old Joe escaping. Later, Joe and Old Joe meet at a diner. Old Joe explains that their wife was killed by The Rainmaker’s men and reveals his plan to kill The Rainmaker, the boss closing all the loops in the future. But Joe doesn’t care: He’s planning on taking-in Old Joe to save the next thirty years of his life. As they begin to fight, Gat Men infiltrate the diner, but both are able to escape.

In an effort to catch Old Joe, Joe heads to a location on Old Joe’s map and grows close to its residents, Sara and her son Cid. Back in the city, Old Joe executes a child that may be The Rainmaker. Later, Joe wakes to find one of Abe’s Gat Men holding Sara captive. Cid appears and is scared. He accidentally falls down the stairs and erupts into a TK rage, killing the Gat Man. Back in the city, Old Joe attempts to take out his next target, but is captured by Kid Blue.

Sara reveals Cid accidentally killed her sister. Though Joe realizes Cid is The Rainmaker, he decides to help Sara and Cid. Old Joe is brought to Abe’s hideout and breaks free, killing Abe and all of Abe’s men. Back at the farm, Joe faces off against Old Joe: He will protect Cid and Sara from him at all costs. Moments before Old Joe can kill Cid, Joe kills himself to save Cid.



Looper Beat Sheet Act I Joe
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
~Burnt Norton


Sequence I: Standing on the edge of a cornfield, Joe kills a man who appears out of thin air. The man was time traveler sent from the future, killed in the present so there’s no evidence of his death in the future. Joe is a specialized assassin for the mob known as a looper.

Looper Beat Sheet Opening Image

1 – OPENING IMAGE: A pocket watch.

2 – Waiting on the edge of a cornfield, JOE listens to French lessons though ear buds.

2 – Joe points his blunderbuss toward an empty tarp. A man appears out of thin air, hands and feet tied with a burlap sack over his head. Joe fires a blunderbuss round through the man’s chest.


Massive, in the middle of nowhere. Black smoke.

JOE (V.O.)

Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now it will be. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by the largest criminal organizations.

Joe drives up and parks his truck, removes the wrapped corpse from the flatbed.

JOE (V.O.)

It’s nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future. I’m told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present, called loopers.


Cavernous and empty. Joe carries the body to an iron hatch, opens it, and dumps him in.

JOE (V.O.)

And so. My employers in the future nab the target, they zap him back to me, their looper. He appears hands tied and head sacked. And I do the necessaries, collect my silver. So the target has vanished from the future, and I’ve just disposed of a body that technically does not exist. Clean.

The body slides down a long chute. Vanishes in a little flare of angry red fire.


Sequence II: One of the loopers closes his loop. Each looper’s contract involves them killing their future self like it was any other job. They then receive a huge payday and live the next thirty years as they want. Sometime in the thirtieth year, their employer will kidnap and send them back to the past to be killed by their past self.

4 – BEATRIX SETUP: Joe makes small talk in French with Beatrix, a waitress at the diner.

6 – TK SETUP: Joe picks up SETH for a night out. Seth floats a quarter in his palm. Joe calls it “tacky.”

JOE (V.O.)

About ten percent of the population has this T.K. mutation. When it first appeared, everyone thought we were gonna get superheroes, but it turns out, this was it. Now its just a bunch of assholes thinking they’re blowing your mind by floating quarters.

7 – Joe and Seth make their way into La Belle. Backstage, Joe asks one of the showgirls, SUZIE, if she’s working a shift later. Flirtatiously, she tells him a gat man bought her for the night. Joe’s disappointed.

8 – CLOSED LOOP SETUP: The loopers discuss a closed loop. ZACH comes out of an office and shakes hands with ABE.

JOE (V.O.)

There’s a reason we’re called loopers.


Zach stands waiting, checking his wristwatch, gun in hand. Obviously performing a similar ritual to Joe’s.

JOE (V.O.)

Time travel in the future is so illegal that when we sign up for this job we agree to a very specific proviso.

Zach raises his gun.

JOE (V.O.)

If our employers in the future get busted up by the law, their first priority is going to be erasing any trace of their relationship with us ever existing.

A flash of light, and a HOG TIED MAN with a sack over his head kneels in front of Zach.

Zach fires and the man’s chest explodes.

JOE (V.O.)

So. If they’ve busted, and if we’re still alive 30 years from now, they’ll find our older self and zap him back to us, like any other job.

Zach rips open the back of the corpse’s jacket, revealing several dozen gold bars taped to his back.

JOE (V.O.)

This is called closing your loop.

Zach freezes. Looks at the shape of the corpse’s face through the sack.

JOE (V.O.)

And you get a golden payday, and you get a handshake and get released from your contract. Enjoy the next 30 years.

9 – Joe and the rest of the Loopers celebrate. They pass around their drug of choice that’s administered with an eyedropper. Everyone’s high.


Sequence III: Seth comes to Joe’s apartment desperate for help after failing to close his loop. They are interrupted by Kid Blue, a Gat Man (enforcer) for the big boss, Abe. Joe lets Seth hide in his safe. When Kid Blue can’t find Seth, he takes Joe in for questioning. Face to face with Abe, Joe gives up Seth when Abe threatens to take half of his silver.

10-11 – Joe goes through the motions: closes loops; French with Beatrix at the diner; money (silver); drugs; showgirls at La Belle.

Looper Beat Sheet Inciting Incident

12 – INCITING INCIDENT: Joe wakes to the sound of Seth frantically knocking on his window. Joe soon discovers Seth let his loop run and has come for help.

13 – THE RAINMAKER SETUP: Seth explains that his older self told him of a “new holy-terror boss-man in the future” closing all the loops. They call him The Rainmaker.

15 – KID BLUE, a Gat Man, bangs on Joe’s door. Seth pleads with Joe to help him. Joe’s angry with Seth for putting him in such a position, but ultimately decides to him hide in the floor safe.

17-19 – Joe chats with ABE, the boss, the man sent from the future to run the loopers. Abe knows Seth paid Joe a visit. When Joe denies the allegation, Abe is quick to point out he was the one who took Joe off the streets as a kid and gave him his job as a looper.


Show you how much I know you, I’m not even gonna break you, I’m just gonna set you back a ways. We know you’ve been stashing half your bars. Which is smart, no law against it. You’re gonna get out, you’re gonna go overseas, right? Studying up your Mandarin?






You him give up, or you give us half your stash. You willing to dump your silver in the dirt for Seth?

Joe holds Abe’s gaze for a moment, then his eyes drop and it’s over.

Looper Beat Sheet Strong Movement Forward Abe

21 – STRONG MOVEMENT FORWARD: Torn over the decision, Joe gives up Seth.


Sequence IV: The dangers of letting your loop run are played out. Attempting to skip town, Seth discovers scars on his forearm spelling out a location and a time. He then begins losing body parts as he races to his destination. He arrives without arms, legs, nose, or tongue, banging on a door and begging for death. Kid Blue obliges.

Looper Screenplay Old Seth Wire Street Scar

22 – OLD SETH makes his way to the rail yard and notices a scar on his forearm…

The scar spells out clearly: “BE AT 75 WIRE STREET IN 15 MINUTES”

23 – Halfway up a fence, Seth notices fingers disappear from his hand. His nose disappears next.

24 – CLOSED LOOP PAYOFF: Old Seth makes it to 75 Wire Street without arms or legs. He bangs on the door with the stumps he used to call arms, his frantic words unclear, we assume, because he has no tongue. The door flings open and Kid Blue shoots him dead. Inside, a doctor backs away from a table where Seth was butchered.


Sequence V: Joe spends the night with Suzie, a showgirl/prostitute. Guilty over Seth, Joe attempts to give half of his money to help Suzie and her child. She declines, preferring to keep their relationship strictly business.

25 – CHARITY SETUP: Complements of Abe, Joe spends the night with Suzie. Joe offers to give her half his sliver so she can get out and raise her kid right. She declines, saying, “Silver has strings.”

27 – Back at his apartment, Joe inspects his silver and finds Seth’s blood on one of the bars.


Sequence VI: Joe’s loop overcomes him and escapes. Joe goes back to his apartment to load up on cash and weapons, but stumbles across Kid Blue and the Gat Men. Attempting to flee, Joe falls off the fire escape and dies.

28 – Joe waits in the cornfield for his next target to arrive. It’s uncharacteristically late.

Looper Beat Sheet End of Act One Turn

28 – END OF ACT ONE TURN: OLD JOE appears arms free, no sack around his head. Shocked being face-to-face with his future self, Joe hesitates before pulling the trigger, allowing Old Joe the time to spin around. Joe’s blunderbuss round hits the gold bars strapped to Old Joe’s back, shielding Old Joe from the blast. Old Joe throws a gold bar, hindering Joe’s reload, allowing him the time to rush and knock out Joe.

29 – At dusk, Joe regains consciousness. A note tells him to “hop a train out of town” and “RUN.” With no truck, Joe makes his way back to town on foot.

30 – Back at his apartment, Joe finds his sliver stash ransacked. Quickly loading up on cash and weapons, he discovers a burning cigarette on a pile of his silver. At that moment, the GAT MEN, led by Kid Blue, come back to pick up the last of Joe’s stash. Joe hides, narrowly avoiding detection.

31 – With the rest of the Gat Men outside the apartment, Joe rushes Kid Blue and knocks him inside the safe. Gat Men pour in and exchange gunfire with Joe. Joe makes a dash for the window. Outside, he falls off the fire escape and the screen goes BLACK.


Looper Beat Sheet Act II-A Old Joe
Old Joe
In my beginning is my end.
In my end is my beginning.
~East Coker


Sequence I: Joe appears on the edge of the cornfield again, moments before Old Joe has shown up. When Old Joe appears, Joe kills him.

32 – Joe appears back on the edge of the cornfield again, waiting for his target. When the target appears, Joe blasts him in the chest. Joe rolls the man over and discovers gold bars. He takes the sack off the man’s head: It’s Old Joe. Joe has closed his loop.


Sequence II: The next twenty-plus years play out with Joe living as an addict and criminal until he meets his wife. They live happily until the gangsters come. Moments before he’s forcibly sent back in time, he kills his captors and goes back on his own free will.

32 – TITLE CARD: Year 1. Joe unloads his sliver and hops a ship to Shanghai.

33 – TITLE CARD: Year 3. Joe’s drug use continues. He dances drugged out of his skull.

33 – TITLE CARD: Year 6. Joe begins intravenous drug use. He’s running low on money.

33 – TITLE CARD: Year 10. Joe works as muscle for the mob to support his drug habit.

34 – TITLE CARD: Year 23. Joe’s now Old Joe. He still lives a violent, drug-fueled life. He gets into a bar fight and sees a WOMAN. Transfixed, he follows her and eventually, they make eye contact. She flips him off.

34 – TITLE CARD: Year 25. Joe marries his WIFE, the woman in the previous scene. They live a good life.

35 – TITLE CARD: Year 30. The front door’s kicked open. Joe bursts into the living room to find GANGSTERS with their guns drawn. Accepting his fate, Joe puts his hands behind his head.

35 – Old Joe’s house burns as they take him away.

36 – A warehouse. As the gangsters prepare Old Joe for his journey, he slips from his constraints and kills them.

37 – Old Joe looks at a picture of his wife in his pocket watch and climbs inside the time machine.


Sequence III: The scene with Joe and Old Joe plays out as it did the first time with Old Joe escaping. When Joe goes back to his apartment, Old Joe saves him from the Gat Men.

37 – Old Joe appears in front of his younger self again. This time, the scene plays out as it did the first time with Old Joe escaping.

37 – Old Joe escapes into the city, robs a bodega for first aid supplies.

38 – Old Joe remembers his actions from 30 years ago and tracks himself down outside his apartment. He watches Joe enter as Kid Blue and his Gat Men exit.

39 – Old Joe intervenes; takes out a Gat Man with his blunderbuss.

Looper Beat Sheet First Trial

40 – FIRST TRIAL: The Gat Man shoots at Joe on the fire escape as Joe descends on the ladder. Old Joe shoots the Gat Man as Joe slips from the ladder and crashes onto a car below, knocking himself out cold.


Sequence IV: Abe leads the effort to capture Joe and Old Joe. Old Joe breaks into a library and looks up the birth records of three people.

40 – With the cooperation of the police, Abe leads the effort to apprehend Joe and Old Joe.

41 – Joe regains consciousness in a rail yard. He goes back in the city, intent on finding Old Joe.

42 – Old Joe breaks into a library. Reading from a tattoo of numbers on his hand, Joe finds three birth records and prints maps. Leaving, he notices a scar on his forearm. He slowly pulls back his shirt and reveals the letters “BE”, echoing the scar we saw on Old Seth’s arm.


Sequence V: Joe and Old Joe meet at a diner. Old Joe explains that their wife was killed by The Rainmaker’s men, reveals his plan to kill The Rainmaker, but Joe doesn’t care: He’s planning on taking-in Old Joe to save the next thirty years of his life. Gat Men burst into the diner, forcing them both to flee.

Looper Screenplay Beatrix Payoff

43 – BEATRIX PAYOFF: Old Joe walks into the diner and spots Joe sitting in a booth. Old Joe pulls back his sleeve and reveals the scarred name of Beatrix on his forearm. Under Joe’s jacket, we see his arm is wrapped in bloody gauze. Old Joe takes a seat at the booth.

44 – Joe lets his intentions be known…


Alright, listen. I know this is a hard situation for you, but we both know how this is gonna go down. I can’t let you walk away from this diner alive. This is my life now, I earned it, and you’ve had yours, so why don’t you do what old men do and die. Get the fuck out of my way.


Why don’t you just take your little gun out from between your legs and do it...boy.

46 – MEMORY SETUP & RAINMAKER COORDINATES SETUP: Old Joe explains his memory is a like a cloud that clears and immediately clouds over again if the memory becomes nonexistent. He can remember what Joe does after he does it.

47 – Old Joe says he knows only two things: What’s happening inside his head and that Joe will eventually meet the woman who saves his life.

47 – BABY SETUP: Old Joe explains they wanted to have a baby and that she would have been a great mother.

48 – Old Joe remembers his yesterday; a day 30 years into the future. He explains what happens to the woman who saves “his worthless little life.”

Looper Screenplay Old Joe's Wife

49 – 30 Year Later: As The Rainmaker’s Men apprehend him, Old Joe’s wife startles one of them and is shot.

49 – THE RAINMAKER SETUP 2: Old Joe talks about The Rainmaker. Joe remembers that Old Seth mentioned him.


The Rainmaker came out of nowhere and in the span of six months took total control of the five major syndicates.


That would take an army.


But he didn’t have an army. Legend is he did it alone. Alone alone.

50 – Old Joe explains that The Rainmaker began closing all the loops once he gained power.

51 – Old Joe states The Rainmaker lives in their county right now. He’s going to kill him before The Rainmaker can kill his wife, but Joe ain’t having it: He demands to see the picture of his future wife so he won’t marry her and spare her life.

Looper Beat Sheet Midpoint

52 – MIDPOINT: Joe pulls his gun, but Old Joe kicks Joe’s groin from under the table before he can shoot. After subduing his younger self, Old Joe notices the diner has cleared out.

52 – Gat Men burst in shooting. Old Joe lets go of Joe and takes one out. Joe manages to rip a piece of Old Joe’s map as he flees. More Gat Men appear and Joe joins them in shooting at Old Joe. Old Joe makes his escape through a shattered window.

53 – Old Joe flees into the cornfield behind the diner. Joe escapes on Seth’s slat bike seconds before Kid Blue can get his hands on him.

53 – Joe jumps off the moving bike as to avoid being tracked. He pulls the piece he ripped from Old Joe’s map and notices coordinates; one of Old Joe’s Rainmaker targets.


Looper Beat Sheet Act II-B Sara
Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint–
~The Dry Savages


Sequence I: Joe arrives at a farm; the location from Old Joe’s map. Sara lives there with her little boy, Cid. When she spots Joe, she chases him off with her shotgun.

53 – Sunrise on a farm. SARA chops at the base of broken tree trunk with an ax. Her hands are bloody.

55 – Sara wakes her six year old boy, CID. She’s making breakfast when she spots Joe in her cornfield.

56 – Sara takes a shotgun and screams at Joe, hidden in the cornrows, to stay away or she’ll kill him.

56 – The sun beats down on Joe. Something’s wrong: He’s pale, sweaty, wincing as if he has a terrible headache.


Sequence II: When Joe begins having severe drug withdrawal, Sara and Cid both come to his aid.

56-57 – Abe berates Kid Blue for losing Joe a second time. He makes Kid give up his gun and then takes a hammer to Kid’s broken hand.

59 – Night on the farm. Sara goes to shut off a barn floodlight when someone begins approaching her from the darkness. Joe hears her scream. In terrible discomfort, he grabs his blunderbuss and runs to help.

59 – Sara fires off a warning shot and trips, dropping her shotgun in the process. Joe intervenes, stepping between her and her pursuer, a homeless man with Down syndrome. As the man runs off, Joe curls over in pain and vomits.

60 – Sara pulls Joe up on the porch and immediately recognizes his symptoms. Joe begs for water and Sara, showing little sympathy, heads inside to get him some.

60 – Cid appears on the porch and gives Joe water. Sara appears and pulls Cid away.

61 – Sara puts Cid back in bed. She tries to kiss him, but he pulls away. He calls her Sara and it pains her.

62 – MEMORY PAYOFF: Old Joe hides in a drainage tunnel. He remembers Sara slapping him. He struggles to remember the first time his saw his wife’s face, but it eventually comes to him.


Sequence III: After discovering Cid’s birthdate on Old Joe’s map, Sara blasts Joe with rock salt from her shotgun, fearing Joe is there to hurt Cid. Joe realizes that the numbers on the map are all the locations of children born the same day as The Rainmaker. Old Joe kills a young boy, one step closer to taking out The Rainmaker and saving his wife. Joe explains to Sara that a loop he failed to close is coming to their farm for Cid. He assures her that he’s only there to kill the man.

63-65 – Joe wakes up handcuffed to a cot inside the barn. Sara appears and tells him to leave. Joe hands her Old Joe’s map to have her confirm it’s her place.


That’s my house. Why is it marked?


Doesn’t matter. Ok. I’ll be out of the barn in an hour, if you can spare it I’ll take the water jug with me. Does that well have water? I’ll fill it from there.

Sara turns the map over. Sees the NUMBER that Old Joe wrote on the back. 07153902935.

And everything changes.


What is this?

She shows him the number. She is not asking what the number is -- she knows. Joe is suddenly not so relaxed.


What is this?


Does that mean something to you?

For the first time in their conversation, Joe looks in her eyes. Sara stares daggers, searching. Very different than she was ten seconds ago.

Joe scoots back.



And without hesitating Sara hefts the shotgun and SHOOTS HIM.

BLAST! Rips his shirt open bloody, blows him back screaming.

65 – Old Joe remembers Sara blasting him. He feels his chest — scars are now there.

65-66 – Though painful, it’s just a blast of rock salt. Joe tells Sara a loop he failed to close is coming to her farm to kill Cid because he believes her son may be The Rainmaker.

66 – Sara reveals the numbers are Cid’s birthday (07/15/39) and the med-code to the hospital where he was born (02935).

Looper Beat Sheet Assumption of Power

67 – ASSUMPTION OF POWER: Joe realizes that the three numbers relate to the three kids born the same day. Process of elimination: Old Joe intends to kill them all.

Is Cid The Rainmaker?

Looper Beat Sheet Baby

67 – BABY PAYOFF: Old Joe approaches a YOUNG BOY outside the boy’s home and shoots him dead. Outside the home, Old Joe breaks into tears, but has a new memory of a child crying in the home he made with his wife.

69 – Sara wants to know if Joe can stop the man from killing Cid…


If he comes here, will you stop him? I’m asking, “Can I trust you?”


I don’t care if you trust me. I don’t care about your son. I lost my life. If I kill this man, I get it back.

70 – Sara removes the salt chunks from Joe’s upper body with tweezers. She allows him to stay, but he must agree to stay away from Cid. Joe agrees.


Sequence IV: Cid claims Sara is not his real mother. Later, Sara reveals that her sister raised Cid because she was a drug addict.

72 – Cid wakes Joe up on the porch and invites him into the kitchen. Cid appears to be a genius: He takes apart some toys and creates a communication device for Joe and Sara.

Looper Script Cid's Power Setup

73 – CID’S POWER SETUP: Cid tells Joe Sara’s not his mother, that his real mother was killed, and that he wasn’t powerful enough to stop it.


Sara doesn’t know, but I remember my real mom. When I was a baby I couldn’t stop it.


Couldn’t stop what?


I couldn’t stop her from getting killed. I saw it. But I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t strong enough.


You should talk to your mom about this.


She’s not my mom. She’s a liar.

Is Sara Cid’s real mother?

74 – Gat Men chase Old Joe through the city.

Looper Beat Sheet Joe & Sara

75 – Joe approaches Sara as she chops away at her tree stump. Joe gives her the communication device Cid designed, which Sara quickly surmises is Cid’s invention. Sara opens up about her past after Joe reveals Cid told him she wasn’t his mother…



He’s my son.


I had Cid when I was twenty two. But I didn’t want to give up my life. In the city. So I dropped him here with my sister. And she saw how I was living and they took him. My sister raised him here, she loved him. He called her mom.


How’d she get killed?

When Sara’s eyes hit him they’re daggers.


Cid told me. You have to talk to him about it.

Icy silence from Sara, and an odd stare.


I told you one thing, I told you to stay away from my son.


Sequence V: Sara attempts to discipline Cid. When he loses his temper, she runs from him and hides in a safe.

77 – While playing a numbers game, Cid asks Sara to help Joe. When Sara refuses to talk about it, Cid gets angry, screaming that Sara can’t protect them.


You can’t tell me what to do you’re not my mom.

(a deadly beat)

You’re not my mom! You’re a liar and you’re gonna get killed and you won’t stop lying!

Looper Script Angry Cid

78 – Then shit gets real…

Cid stands, balls his fists, SCREAMING at her. Sara pushes back away from him.

Maybe a cloud passed over the sun. The room darkens.

And we see it now, in her eyes: Sara is afraid. She bolts out of the room.


Sara walks fast down the hall


Not slowing, through her bedroom


Into her walk-in closet, to a huge steel safe tucked in back. She opens the safe with trembling hands. And climbs inside.


Closes the heavy door. Turns on a small LED light.

And waits. Cid’s screams distant but not lessening.

78 – Joe hears Cid’s screams from outside.

79 – Later, Sara finds Cid in his bedroom, passed out from exhaustion. She wakes him and brings him into her arms. He apologizes and she assures him everything is okay.


Sequence VI: Jesse, a Gat Man searching for Joe and Old Joe, stops by the farm. Both Joe and Cid narrowly avoid detection. While hiding, Joe reveals how his drug addict mother sold him, leading him to life of crime.

80 – Staking out the next target, Old Joe discovers Suzie is the mother of the child he must kill.

80 – Still with Cid in his bed, Sara wakes to a knock at the door. Downstairs, she passes the toy frog croaking, Joe’s warning signal.

81 – At the door is JESSE, a Gat Man presumably looking for Joe. Though he is polite, he forces his way into the house, saying he must look around. Jesse comes inside, asks a few questions.

82 – Joe sneaks into the house.

84 – Jesse and Sara take a seat in the living room. Jesse doesn’t see Joe hidden behind the couch. Neither does Sara, but she does see Cid sneak past and into the kitchen. Cid makes a noise, alerting Jesse, who draws his gun to investigate. Cid manages to sneak back into the living room where he finds Joe. They quickly hide in the basement without detection.

85-86 – Cid and Joe pop up in a crawl space outside the barn, hidden from view.

Looper Script Cid's Destiny

86 – CID’S DESTINY SETUP: Cid asks Joe about his mother…


My mom gave me up. I was younger than you. We were vagrants and she was alone, for a long time I though she was stupid for getting on the drug she was on, but now I see she was so alone. It was what she had. She sold me. To a panhandle gang. But I got away and I ran and ended on this train. I remember sitting there in an empty cart and I saw myself, over and over again, killing those men who bought me and who got my mom on what she was on. Finding them and tearing them apart. Saving my mom.


But you didn’t.


A man in the city found me, put a gun in my hand, and gave me something that was mine.


There’s just men figuring out what they’d do to keep what’s theirs, what they got. That’s the only man there is.


I’m not gonna let Sara get killed.

Joe looks at him. Wants to put his hand on his shoulder, but doesn’t.


Sequence VII: Joe and Sara make love. After, Sara reveals the guilt she felt abandoning Cid. Her time away made her realize how important her role of mother was.

87 – Kid Blue locates surveillance footage of Old Joe staking out Suzie’s apartment.

88 – Alone in her bed at night, Sara uses the toy frog and calls for Joe.

89 – Joe arrives in her bedroom and Sara kisses him. They make love.

Looper Screenplay Sara TK Lighter

90 – Later, Sara smokes a cigarette and levitates her lighter as Joe puts his clothes back on. She knows that the man he’s trying to protect them from is him, his loop, but she’s not angry. She knows he’s not lying when he says he’s gonna kill him.

91-92 – Sara tells the story of reuniting with Cid after her sister’s death, after she abandoned him for two years.


I’ve seen so many men in the city, who I look in their eyes and they’re just lost. So whether he loves me back or not, as long as I’m there to raise him, he’s gonna be taken care of. He’s gonna be safe. He’s never gonna get lost.


Sequence VIII: Joe wakes to find Jesse holding Sara captive. Cid appears and erupts into a TK rage. Sara forces Joe out of the house as the living room explodes, killing Jesse. Back in the city, Old Joe attempts to take out his next target, but is captured by Kid Blue.

93 – Morning. Joe walks downstairs and finds Jesse with a gun to Sara’s head. Doing his best to ease the tension, Joe puts his blunderbuss on the stairs and approaches Jesse with his hands up. He attempts to negotiate, but Jesse won’t have it: He’s there to turn Joe in.

94 – Jesse spots Cid on the stairs. He raises his gun, but realizes Cid is just a child and does not fire. Cid is startled and begins to fall down the stairs…

94 – Old Joe bursts into Suzie’s apartment. He knocks Suzie to the ground, apologizes for what he must do…

Looper Beat Sheet End of Act Two Turn

94 – END OF ACT TWO TURN: CID’S POWER PAYOFF & TK PAYOFF & THE RAINMAKER PAYOFF: Joe runs to catch Cid, but Sara shoves Joe out the front door…

Cid hits the hardwood floor of the foyer, face contorted with rage now, hand raises to Jess, palm outstretched. Screaming. His scream is louder than it should be.

Bigger things in the living room RISE OFF THE GROUND. Chairs. The couch. And Jesse. He rises five feet in the air, terrified.

Sara pulls Joe through the front door, and he looks back and sees Jesse suspended in the air and Cid on the ground screaming like an animal, and just as they cross the threshold, Jesse explodes in a bright red fan of blood.

95 – MEMORY PAYOFF: Back at Suzie’s apartment, Old Joe now knows Cid is The Rainmaker, but Kid Blue, hidden in Suzie’s child’s room, shoots him from the shadows with a taser.


Looper Beat Sheet Act III Cid
And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
~Little Gidding


Sequence I: Sara reveals Cid accidentally killed her sister. Though Joe realizes Cid is The Rainmaker and will become the powerful crime lord who kills his future wife, he decides to help Sara and Cid.

96 – CONTROL SETUP: After the TK explosion, Joe and Sara are outside the house, surrounded by debris. They run back through the house but don’t find Cid. Sara reveals Cid accidentally killed her sister.


How did your sister die?

Sara holds his gaze. Then everything breaks inside her and she collapses in sobs. Heaving.


That happened to her. Cid.


Jesus. Jesus he killed her.

This breaks Sara out of her sobs.


No! No he was climbing a bookshelf, it fell back on him. He has no control, he gets scared, it explodes.


What is it a TK mutation?


Joe someday he’ll learn to control it.


Yeah I know he will. Imagine what he could do.


If he did good with it! If he grew with me raising him. If he grew up good!


He doesn’t.

96 – Joe charges into the corn with Sara close behind, warning Cid to stay away from Joe.

97 – Joe finds Cid before Sara, but can’t bring himself to kill him.


Joe emerges from the corn.

Cid crouches at one end of the small clearing. He looks at Joe. Terrified. Half covered in blood. Hair matted over one eye.

Joe looks back at him. Approaches him, gun not raised, but in hand. Cid, like a frightened animal. A long moment.

And just like that, Joe puts his hand on Cid’s head. Cid leans against his legs, crying.

Sara bursts into the clearing, sees this. Runs to Cid and embraces him, wiping the blood from his face. Joe steps back.

98 – RAINMAKER COORDINATES PAYOFF: Joe briefs Sara on the new situation: Old Joe now has the memory, Abe knows he’s at the farm, and both will soon be coming for them. He instructs them to pack everything they can in Jesse’s truck and leave.


Sequence II: Old Joe is brought to Abe’s hideout and breaks free of his captors, wounding Kid Blue and killing Abe, as well as all his men.

98 – Gat Men assemble for Sara’s farm as Abe spots Kid Blue and his prize, Old Joe, on a surveillance monitor.

99 – Old Joe opens up a can of whoop-ass and takes out a room of Gat Men, including Kid Blue. Conveniently positioned near the armory, Old Joe stocks up on weapons…

Looper Script Bloody Old Joe

100 – Old Joe makes his way through the club, killing all Gat Men he comes across. He stops outside Abe’s office.

101 – Kid Blue regains consciousness after being shot in the leg. He makes his way through the carnage, finds Abe dead and Sara’s farm located on a map pinned to the wall.


Sequence III: Joe faces off against Old Joe, but is interrupted by Kid Blue. Joe is able to kill him, but their confrontation allows Old Joe the opportunity to go after Cid and Sara.

Looper Beat Sheet Point of No Return

102 – POINT OF NO RETURN: Joe makes his way through the corn to the highway where he finds Old Joe approaching in an armored truck. From a distance, Old Joe tosses Joe a gold brick: the truck is filled with them. He tells Joe to take the gold and go live his life, but Joe’s got other plans. He raises his blunderbuss and fires at Old Joe.

Joe will die to save Cid.

103 – Before Joe can get close enough to kill Old Joe, Kid Blue comes flying in on a slat bike and knocks Joe on his ass. Kid Blue spins the slat bike around and comes back toward Joe firing his gat…

103 – Ineffective for long range targets, Joe fires blunderbuss into the ground, creating a dust cloud for cover as Kid Blue blindly fires his gat. The moment he’s close enough, Joe blasts him with the blunderbuss. After the dust clears, Joe realizes Old Joe is on his way to kill Cid.


Sequence IV: Moments before Old Joe can kill Cid, Joe kills himself to save Cid.

104 – Sara and Cid speed away from the farm in Jesse’s truck, but find Old Joe blocking their path. Sara speeds toward him. Old Joe begins shooting and the stress sets Cid off: The truck flips, crashes on the road.

1105 – Sara and Cid escape the wreckage, run for the corn. As they run, Old Joe shoots Cid. Sara screams, believing Cid to be dead, but dirt and grass begin to rise around her. The bullet only grazed Cid’s cheek: He’s seriously pissed now.

106 – Before Sara can get to him, a giant shockwave knocks both her and Old Joe back.

106 – The shockwave rolls the truck Joe drives as he closes in to help.

Looper Beat Sheet Control Payoff

107 – CONTROL PAYOFF: Cid levitates Sara and Old Joe in a tornado of debris. Sara talks calmly to Cid and he’s able to control his anger for the first time.

107 – Old Joe grabs the gat from the dirt and rushes toward Sara and Cid.

107 – With Old Joe on them, Sara screams at Cid to run into the fields and stands in Old Joe’s line of fire.

Looper Beat Sheet Cid's Destiny

108 – CID’S DESTINY PAYOFF: Joe gets out of his truck, blunderbuss in hand, limping, barely able to run. As the scenario unfolds in front of him, he theorizes on how everything will play out for Cid…

JOE (V.O.)

Then I saw it. I saw a mom who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, a boy angry and alone. Laid out in front of him, the bad path. I saw it. And the path was a circle. Round and round. So I changed it.

Looper Script Climax

109 – CLIMAX: A second before Old Joe can shoot and kill Cid, Joe fires his blunderbuss into his own chest, killing himself and erasing Old Joe from existence. Cid and Sara are safe.

109 – Sara screams for Cid and he emerges from the corn field. In the comfort of her arms, Cid asks what happened to Joe. Sara tells him that he had to go away.


Sequence V: Sara finds Joe’s gold. She now has an opportunity to give her son a better life.

110 – Sara carries Cid back to the house and tends to his wounds.

Looper Screenplay Charity Payoff

110 – CHARITY PAYOFF: Sara walks back to the truck and discovers all of Joe’s gold.

111 – Sara approaches Joe’s body. She finds his watch and runs her fingers through his hair.

Looper Closing Image

111 – CLOSING IMAGE: Cid sleeps peacefully in his bed.

111 – THE END.

William Robert Rich
William Robert Rich

William Robert Rich is a story analyst, screenwriter, and co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He's currently based in Austin, Texas.

Articles: 120


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