"You're losing altitude, Tiangong. You keep dropping and you're going to kiss the atmosphere. But not without me, because you're my last ride."
―Ryan Stone
Dr. Ryan Stone
Age 32
Gender Female
Occupation Biomedical Engineer/Mission Specialist
Portrayed by Sandra Bullock
Dr. Ryan Stone is the main protagonist of Gravity. She is portrayed by Sandra Bullock.

Character BiographyEdit

Stone is a 32 year-old medical engineer who works at a hospital in Lake Zurich, Illinois where she specialized in x-ray imaging in medical devices. She mentions that she is not married (possibly divorced) but had a daughter. One day when she was driving home from work and listening to the radio, she got a call that informed her that her 4-year-old daughter had slipped and fell at the playground, getting a head injury which killed her. On her daughter's death, Dr. Stone says: "That's it. It's the stupidest thing". Ryan is devastated by this and spends her evenings after work taking long drives listening to NPR, the station that was playing when she first heard the news of her daughter’s death in an attempt to push away accepting it. Stone fell into a deep depression which left her guilt-ridden and angry at the world. Stone becomes withdrawn and decides eventually that she wants to die and be with her daughter.

Prior to the events of the film, Stone was most likely a secular humanist who wanted to believe in a higher power for the sake of her daughter. However, she seemed to believe in something more after the events of the film, having prayed for the first time.


"I love space."
―Ryan Stone

She wound up getting the opportunity of a lifetime after inventing a scanning device which was approved by NASA to be used on the Hubble Space Telescope. Stone really was indifferent to going into outer space, and says that she only was enthusiastic because NASA didn't cut the funding to her research. Stone trained and was offered to install the device and spend a week in space. While on her first space shuttle mission aboard the Space Shuttle Explorer, she is accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, who is commanding his final expedition. Stone says that the best thing about space for her is the "silence", which she says she could get used to. During a spacewalk to install her invention, Mission Control in Houston warns the team about a defunct Russian satellite self-destructing, which has caused a chain reaction forming a cloud of space debris. Mission control orders that the mission be aborted but shortly after, communications with Mission Control are lost, though the astronauts continue to transmit into the blind, hoping that the ground crew can still hear them.

The debris traveling at over 50,000 miles per hour strikes the Explorer and detaches Stone from the shuttle, leaving her tumbling through space attached to an arm. Kowalski orders her to detach from the arm before she is carried too far, and Stone does so, but is ejected into the void of outer space, tumbling around attached to nothing. Kowalski soon recovers Stone and they make their way back to the space shuttle. They discover that the shuttle has suffered catastrophic damage and the crew is dead from exposure to the vacuum. They find Shariff Dasari corpse and Stone's eyes are transfixed on a laminated family photo on Sheriff's suit, which reminds her of her own deceased daughter. They use Kowalski's thruster pack to make their way to the International Space Station, which is in orbit only about 100 km (60 mi) away. Kowalski calculates that they have 90 minutes before the debris field completes an orbit and threatens them again.


"Roger that!" Stone regains the will to live.

En route to the ISS, the two discuss Stone's life back home and the death of her daughter and her first name, to which she responds "dad wanted a boy". As they approach the substantially damaged but still operational ISS, they see its crew has evacuated in one of its two Soyuz modules and that the parachute of the other capsule has accidentally been deployed, rendering it useless for returning to Earth. Kowalski suggests the remaining Soyuz be used to travel to the nearby Chinese space station Tiangong and board one of its modules to return safely to Earth. Out of air and maneuvering power, the two try and grab onto the ISS as they fly by. Stone's leg gets entangled in Soyuz's parachute cords and she is able to grab a strap on Kowalski's suit. Despite Stone's protests, Kowalski detaches himself from the tether to save her from drifting away with him, and she is pulled back towards the ISS. As Kowalski floats away, he radios her additional instructions and encouragement.

Nearly out of oxygen, Stone manages to enter the ISS via an airlock but must hastily make her way to the Soyuz to escape a fire, grabbing a fire extinguisher on her way inside. As she maneuvers the capsule away from the ISS, the tangled parachute tethers prevent Soyuz from separating from the station. She spacewalks to release the cables, succeeding just as the debris field completes its orbit and destroys the station. Stone aligns the Soyuz with Tiangong but discovers the craft's thrusters have no fuel. After a brief communication with a Greenlandic Inuit fisherman and listening to him cooing a baby, which reminds her of her own baby, Stone resigns herself to being stranded and shuts down the oxygen supply of the cabin in order to commit a painless suicide via hypoxia. As she begins to lose consciousness, Kowalski appears outside and enters the capsule. Scolding her for giving up, he tells her to use the Soyuz's landing rockets to propel the capsule toward Tiangong. Stone realizes that Kowalski's reappearance was merely a hallucination in her oxygen-deprived state. However she realizes that her consciousness manifested her memories from training in Kowalski and activates the flow of oxygen and the landing rockets to navigate toward the Tiangong, now with will to live. In order to die willingly, she must be at peace with herself, but she wasn't ready to die yet.

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Dr. Stone reaches land.

Unable to dock the Soyuz with the station, Stone ejects herself via explosive decompression and uses the fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster to travel to Tiangong. Space debris has knocked Tiangong from its trajectory, and it begins rapidly deorbiting. Stone enters the Shenzhou capsule just as Tiangong starts to break up on the upper edge of the atmosphere. As the capsule re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, Stone hears Mission Control over the radio tracking the capsule. She tells Mission Control that she is ready to live again and has gotten over her daughter's death and moved on with her life. The Shenzhou lands in a lake, but an electrical fire inside the capsule forces Stone to evacuate immediately. Opening the capsule hatch allows water to rapidly fill the capsule, which sinks, forcing Stone to shed her spacesuit underwater and swim ashore. She takes her first shaky steps on land, still adjusting to the gravity of Earth.

Character TraitsEdit

According to Sandra Bullock, Dr. Stone is a human being who has never fully recovered from the loss of her child. Bullock claims that Stone lost a major part of herself after the loss of Sarah and is simply functioning in everyday life. Bullock says that Stone's character arc completion where Dr. Stone makes peace with herself at the end of the film was partially completed by George Clooney. Bullock also says that the character was intentionally left with an unclear fate. She had survived and knew the value of 

Stone breaks down.

life, no matter how mundane, but she still had to overcome her problems. Bullock says that giving Dr. Stone hope for the future was more realistic than just having the character fully recover at the end. Overall, Dr. Stone was a broken woman who is on the path to recovery but not quite there. 

Another theme many viewers have noted is how helpless Stone seems at times, almost like an infant. Rebirth is a common theme in this film and making the scientist helpless in some parts makes her triumph all the more emotional.


  • "This is Mission Specialist Ryan Stone reporting from the ISS... All communication with Mission Commander Matthew Kowalski has been lost. Radio transmission is absent. Visual is nonexistent. To confirm, I, Ryan Stone, am the sole survivor of STS-157."
  • "Houston, Houston in the blind, this is Mission Specialist Ryan Stone reporting from the Shenzhou. I'm about to undock from Tiangong... and I have a bad feeling about this mission. Reminds me of a story... Never mind, Houston, never mind the story! Ah. It's starting to get hot in here. The way I see it, there are only two possible outcomes. Either I make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell! Or I burn up in the next ten minutes. Either way, whichever way... no harm, no foul! Because either way, it's going to be one hell of a ride! I'm ready."
  • (To Kowalski's question) "Like a Chihuahua that's being tumble dried."
  • (to alarms in the Shenzhou capsule) "No hablo Chino."
  • "Five... four... now we're just driving. Let's go home!"
  • (To the alarms in the ISS) "What now?"
  • "Clear skies with a chance of satellite debris."
  • "Thank you."
  • "Oh, you are one clever son of a bitch, Matt."
  • "The tether broke, I'm detached! I'm detached!"
  • "I had you..."
  • (to alarms in the Soyuz Capsule) "Shut up!"
  • "Seven minutes to get out of here."
  • "Hey, Matt. Since I had to listen to endless hours of your storytelling this week, I need you to do me a favor. You're going to see a girl with brown hair. Her hair is probably a mess. That's okay, she doesn't like to brush it. Tell her mommy found her red shoe. She was so upset about that shoe Matt, but tell her it was right under the bed. You give her a big hug and a kiss for me and tell her mama misses her. Tell her she's my little angel and that she makes me so proud, so so so proud, and that I promise I'll try and make her proud too. You tell her that I'm not quitting, that I'm going to keep fighting. You tell her I love her Matt… I love her so much. Can you do that for me, Matt? Roger that."


  • In the script she is described as: "RYAN STONE is a medical engineer, specialized in hospital scanning systems. She’s focused on her work as though she’s all alone in the world. This is her first mission."
  • Angelina Jolie was originally cast as Ryan Stone, but dropped out later. Natalie Portman turned down the role shortly before she announced her pregnancy. Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Carey Mulligan, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall and Olivia Wilde were all subsequently tested or approached for the role of Ryan Stone.
  • The spacesuit that Dr. Stone puts on in the Russian Soyuz capsule has the number 42 on the patch. In the novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" 42 is "the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything"
  • While trying to unhook the parachute from the Soyuz, Ryan hums "Daisy". This was the song HAL 9000 sang in 2001: A Space Odyssey.


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