The death of teenage missionary John Allen Chau will be the subject of a new National Geographic documentary.

John embarked on a journey to North Sentinel Island, a far-off region of India, in 2018.

The young missionary set out on a one-man mission to the island, home to a group of isolated Indigenous peoples, with the intention of converting them to Christianity.

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However, the group did not greet John with open arms, as on his third attempt to enter the island, they killed him.

Just 26 years old was he.

According to legend, the Sentinelese warned him off with arrows during his earlier attempts, but John disregarded their warning, even though they had “a history going back tens of thousands of years of violently repelling anyone who steps on their island.”

When discussing John’s passing in 2019, journalist Alex Perry said to NPR, “To some extent, what he got was predictable.”

Still, he continued to criticize people who showed no sympathy for John’s death because he was not ‘a sort of imperialist colonialist’.

Four years after Perry’s Outside magazine article about John, National Geographic is delving deeper into John’s life and death.

A documentary film directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss, it ‘explores the tragedy of American missionary John Allen Chau, who was killed by arrows while attempting to make contact with one of the world’s most isolated Indigenous peoples’.

People who knew John well are interviewed for the movie; one buddy calls what the late 26-year-old did “brave and stupid.”

To aid in the creation of the program, McBaine and Moss also had access to John’s diary and video archives.

The Mission ‘examines the mythology of exploration that inspired him’ in addition to reading through John’s diaries to understand what he was thinking.

Moss reiterated this to Deadline, saying, “I think the collision of these two forces of John and everything that he represented and this tribe that we knew almost nothing about suggested that there was more to the story. There were a lot of headlines in the immediate aftermath of John’s death.”

“And that was the opportunity for us to take on with this film is to really explore… what put John on this path and how did he come to the fate of dying on this island.”

The Mission opens in US theaters tomorrow, October 13, and in the UK on November 17.


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