DeviantArt – TaylorHolmes – Inception Dream Layer Map

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by InceptionEnding

in Inception Ending

“1. The TRUE awake reality where Mol does everything she can to get Cobb back.
2. The movie’s “awake” state reality where Cobb is unrealistically an international dream thief.
3. The first Inception dream layer – where the van is attacked and eventually goes off the bridge.
4. The second Inception dream layer – where they go to the hotel and convince the mark he needs protection.
5. The third inception dream layer – the Alps, where they attack the fortress in order to get what is in the vault.
6. Mol & Cobb’s semi limbo world – where they lived for many years and grew old together.
7. Saito’s Limbo World – where Cobb goes after him and ultimately convinces Saito to follow him back up to dream world 2….”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 11, 2010 at 2:48 am

While I understand the reasoning behind the layers of the argument, I do bring into question one major flaw:

-to be killed or kicked in a dream makes you rise one level closer to consciousness, or if only one layer into dreaming, to reality itself.

This is apparent when Arthur is killed by Cobb during the opening sequence of the film. Arthur is shot and then “wakes up” one layer higher in a room with Cobb there too who is over a tub of water.

Using this fact, when Cobb and his wife commit suicide in what would be your level 6, they would have to be woken up in the 5th level. This would ruin your layer argument as in level 2 when Cobb tells Ariadne of his wife and his suicide, the event happens before the inception dreams take place. Cobb and his wife clearly committed the suicide by the train before Cobb told Ariadne about how they did it. Cobb would not be able to tell Ariadne of this if it had to happen another 4 layers down, and hence, in the future.


Reese August 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

You’re pretty much right, and I see what you’re getting at but I think you’re simply confusing two different scenes with this artist’s interpretation of the film’s dream levels.

The “pre-limbo” world Mal and Cobb commit suicide by train isn’t actually tied to any of the dream levels present in the rest of the film. They reached limbo through some other process not at all connected to the 7 layer’s depicted in that image. So when they died in their limbo, it brought them back to their real world.

The “pre-limbo” world seen closer to the end of the film (Where Ariadne and Cobb confront Mal), was reached during the multi-tiered con being pulled on Fischer.

In summation, Cobb and Mal committing suicide in their limbo will bring them back to wherever they started.

Ariadne jumping from the building in the latter venture into limbo, kept her in line with the synchronized kicks to bring her back to the rainy Yusuf’s dream


taylor August 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Reese & Mr. Anonymous,
This is my diagram – not really sure how it landed here… but regardless if you’d like to dismantle this argument the best place to do it is probably out at We’ve been having a great time tearing this idea apart and debating pros and cons of whether Cobb is dreaming or not at the end.

To your specific point – you have the rules of the dreams off a little bit. When you die in Limbo you wake up at the “top” layer. If you die when not under deep sedation, ie lower down the dream layer food chain, you go back up one layer. So when Mal & Cobb kicked out of Limbo they leaped all the way back up to the surface (layer two in my map.) WHY LAYER 2 – I hear you yelling. Great question, because the dream layer rules and the dream sharing concept is all just a dream created in layer two by Cobb while dreaming. Its complicated. Come join the dialogue.


InceptionEnding August 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The diagram and 7 points were referenced from a DeviantArt posting. I’ve updated the attribution and title to also acknowledge and would definitely encourage people to join the dialogue at for this theory.


kay August 24, 2010 at 2:14 am

me and my co-worker had a argument… remember the first layer of dream where mol got shot and suddenly there is a train, what exactly happen there? why is there a train ? and all those ppl chasing them and trying to attack them..why is that? cause it was unexpected right?


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