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    Updated on 3 Sep 2020. Posted on 3 Sep 2020

    Here's Why Sam Neill Made Sure That His "Event Horizon" Character Had The Aboriginal Flag On His Uniform

    In the 1997 sci-fi movie, Neill's character has a uniform that includes the Australian flag without the Union Jack. Instead, it's been replaced with the Aboriginal flag.

    Throughout his career, Sam Neill has appeared in a number of major blockbusters and TV shows like Jurassic Park, The Piano, The Tudors and Peaky Blinders.

    Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

    The New Zealand actor has also gained a reputation for being an absolute gem of a person, who fills his social media accounts with gentle, soothing and wholesome imagery that I, quite frankly, adore.

    But just when I thought I couldn't love him anymore, Twitter user @Jayfuz pointed out an incredible detail about Neill's character in the 1997 sci-fi film Event Horizon.

    Sam Neill in "Event Horizon"
    Paramount Pictures

    Just in case you're not familiar with this movie, it follows a group of astronauts in the year 2047 who are sent to investigate and salvage a lost spaceship — the "Event Horizon" — after it suddenly reappears in orbit.

    A spaceship in outer space from "Event Horizon"
    Paramount Pictures

    Alongside Lawrence Fishburne and Jason Isaacs, Neill plays an Australian called Dr William "Billy" Weir, who is the designer of the Event Horizon spaceship.

    Sam Neill's character in "Event Horizon" leaning against the interior of a spaceship
    Paramount Pictures

    Now, what Jayfuz noticed was that Neill's character has an Australian flag on his uniform. While that is pretty standard, what's different about this particular flag is that the Union Flag that's usually located in the corner has been replaced with the Aboriginal flag.

    Today I learnt: For the Sci-Fi Horror film 'Event Horizon' Sam Neill requested that the Australian flag on his character's uniform remove the Union Flag from the corner & for it to be replacedwith the Aboriginal flag, the way he thought it should look in 2047.

    According to his tweet, Jayfuz said that Neill requested for the Union Flag to be replaced with the Aboriginal flag as he believed it should look that way in 2047.

    Sam Neill's character in "Event Horizon" holding a gun. You can see the Aboriginal flag on his uniform
    Paramount Pictures

    Neill later confirmed this, saying that he "wouldn't do it any differently today".

    This is indeed so. And I wouldn't do it any differently today . https://t.co/sz1guYVlM1

    For those reading this who are confused about why this is significant, let me give you a bit of context.

    CBS

    The Australian national flag — which was first flown in 1901 — has three main elements: The Union Jack, the Commonwealth star and the Southern Cross.

    The Australian flag
    Getty Images

    The Union Jack symbolises the history of British settlement in Australia, while the Commonwealth star, with its seven points, represents the unity of the six states of Australia and the territories of the Commonwealth of Australia. Lastly, the Southern Cross is a constellation of five stars, which can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

    Over time, there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the Australian flag, as it does not accurately represent the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who suffered greatly during Australia's British colonisation.

    A First Nations person holding up the Australian and Aboriginal flag
    Jenny Evans / Getty Images

    This has led to debate asking Australia to change or update its flag or adopt the Aboriginal flag.

    Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

    So, by Neill requesting this small but significant change to his character's uniform, he was acknowledging both Australia's colonial past, as well as the continued suffering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in this country.

    People protesting at a Black Lives Matter protest in Australia
    Trevor Collens / Getty Images

    This is an issue that has more recently been propelled into the spotlight during the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia.

    Considering this movie was released in 1997 as well, I take my hat off to Sam Neill for making this very important decision to acknowledge Australia's history (and hopefully, our future — without the whole lost in space part, of course!).

    If you want to do more reading on the Aboriginal flag, I would suggest looking up the "Free The Flag Movement", which details how the Aboriginal flag is currently protected under copyright law and is unable to be used freely by those it best represents. A good place to start is here!

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