Set 20 years in the future, Endlings is the empowering story of four teenagers in foster care who discover they're not alone in the universe, even though sometimes it can feel like they are. Halfway across the world, Tuko is alone. After the death of her mate, Tuko becomes the last elephant in existence--what biologists call an endling. Her endling status summons to Earth a mysterious Alien who is on an intergalactic quest to save the last member of near-extinct species. After Tuko is collected, the Alien's ship malfunctions and sends it on a crash course with the farm where Julia (Kamaia Fairburn), Johnny (Edison Grant), Tabby (Michela Luci) and Finn (Cale Thomas Ferrin) live with their foster dad, Mr. Leopold (Neil Crone). Before crashing, the Alien releases all of its cosmic collection into the fields and wilderness surrounding the property. This kicks off a high-action life-altering mission to retrieve these fantastical creatures before the local police, Tuko's caretaker (Oyin Oladejo), or a secretive industrialist (Lisa Ryder) can. Along the way, four discarded teens discover that "endling" doesn't have to mean the end; it can also mean a new beginning.
The second stage of grieving is anger, and Julia has been stuck at this stage for a number of years. Ever since the sudden loss of her father, Julia has just been mad – mad at the world, mad at her situation, mad at her sadness. Anger can be a hard thing to let go of, especially when it gives you a ready-made excuse to push people away. Fortunately for Julia, the Leopold household is not easily pushed. Julia is about to go from no family to more family than she can handle, but in the process she’ll discover how to transform her anger at the world to anger for the world.
Pickpockets are skilled at being able to remain undetected. Johnny never learned that skill, which is how he’s landed at Mr. Leopold’s foster home. It’s the first place that’s ever felt like a real home for him and Johnny works hard to make sure it feels that way for the other kids that live there too. He’s a tough kid with a soft core; a ready, aim, fire-fire-fire type personality, whose judgment can get easily clouded, especially when his new found family is at risk.
Tabby has been let down by a lot of people in her life, which is why she gravitates towards machines – they’re far less complicated than human beings. But an affinity towards the mechanical has given her a cold exterior that comes off as abrasive or indifferent; which is exactly how she wants you to feel. She’s a ready, fire, aim type person, someone who tends to react without considering the consequences, especially if those consequences are somebody’s feelings.
For someone who doesn’t say a word, Finn communicates a lot. An old soul in a young package, Finn is the heart of the Leopold family. He’s also its most vulnerable. Where Johnny and Tabby had bad parents, and Julia lost a good parent, Finn never had parents at all. Never being wanted, it turns out, can be just as painful as loss. But where most would turn to anger, Finn has turned to love. A quiet spirit, Finn nevertheless finds ways to make himself heard, whether it’s through his colorful drawings, his expressive face or his hugs.
Mr. Leopold knows how the world can fail you, because it failed him. He's experienced more than his fair share of sadness, anger and pain but, like Finn, he's come out on the side of love. It just took him much longer. Decades longer. What Mr. Leopold knows now is that what these kids need is someone to believe in them, because the world doesn't. Mr. Leopold believes, and he'll believe in them until they believe in themselves.
Abiona Maina grew up in a wildlife refuge and understood from a young age how vulnerable life can be. She has lost many of her beloved animals to both environmental and human causes. But instead of letting the losses dim her resolve, her activism has only gotten stronger. She is fighting to save the world, one animal at a time. Her fight for Tuko the elephant will take her from Africa to a farm in North America. There she will learn there is someone else who is committed to saving animals, but on a much bigger scale. When Abiona realizes the Alien’s mission, she commits to helping it get home -- no matter what and no matter how.
Belief is a funny thing; it can cause you to do good or bad. But no one believes they're the bad guy. Hewes has created an entire division of her company, Infinitum, to track unexplained phenomenon. Her motives are deeply personal and deeply secret. Not even her closest confidants know the truth. She doesn’t claim to be a believer in alien life but a believer in humanity. She knows Earth is on the verge of an environmental crisis that will plunge the world into war and while humans don’t have the technology to stop it, the Alien might. But that’s not all it might have.
Being alone in the universe may sound lonely but it doesn’t have to be. Not when you have a purpose. The Alien has turned its alone-ness into the biggest call to arms in the galaxy. It’s collecting endlings to save them and, in turn, save itself. It believes if it can bring endlings back from the brink of extinction it can redeem its own species in the process. The kids and the Alien grow close and eventually the kids end up giving it a name: Ling, short for endling. Ling teaches our kids that helping something outside of yourself is the ultimate way to move on from your own hurts. The kids teach Ling that family can come in many forms and doesn’t even have to come from the same planet.