‘World War Z’ Original Ending Revealed; Sequel to Begin Development

Published 2 years ago by

World War Z Pitt Scarf World War Z Original Ending Revealed; Sequel to Begin Development




For the past year, Paramount’s World War Z seemed like a real-life disaster in the making, between un-encouraging departures from the source novel and the six month release day delay to allow for a complete overhaul of the third act (courtesy of co-writers Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard). As a result, the final movie is a passable thriller but – to quote Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick in his World War Z review“a disjointed narrative experience that presents absorbing information up front and then slides into thoughtless blockbuster fare.”

Nonetheless, the global apocalypse blockbuster has managed to open worldwide with a $112 million gross (that includes $66 million in the U.S.), thanks in part to star Brad Pitt’s unrelenting commitment to selling audiences on the PG-13 zombie-thriller. Hence, Paramount will begin development on a sequel to its $190 million investment, as studio vice chairman Rob Moore confirmed to THR.

World War Z was originally envisioned as the beginning of a movie trilogy, and the finished version still leaves the door open for additional installments (ending with Pitt’s warning, via voice-over, that the titular war “has just begun”). The film’s original third act involved a massive zombie battle in Moscow during the winter, which lies in stark contrast to the to the final cut’s low-key climax – set in a World Health Organization building that has been partly overtaken by zombies.

Interestingly, the original third act began on a calmer note, and did not include the plane crash sequence – a major selling point in the World War Z marketing – that leaves protagonist Gerry Lane (Pitt) and his newly-acquired “sidekick” Segen (Daniella Kertesz) badly-injured and stranded a ways from civilization.

Brad Pitt Daniella Kertesz World War Z World War Z Original Ending Revealed; Sequel to Begin Development

Brad Pitt and Daniella Kertesz in ‘World War Z’

Things took a darker and far less hopeful turn for our heroes, though, according to Movies.com in the site’s breakdown of the film’s original conclusion:

The plane Gerry and Segen board is bound for Moscow. Upon safely landing, everyone on board is rounded up by the military. The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry’s cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia’s zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter.

From there, Gerry eventually realizes that the zombies cannot handle Moscow’s cold weather – after he notices how much slower they move in comparison to the swarming hordes he encountered in Jerusalem – and this proves to be the key to gaining the upper hand in the battle. Soon thereafter, Gerry recovers his cell phone and attempts to reach his wife, Karin (Mireille Enos).

Gerry reaches Karin. He explains to her that the cold is the way they’ll win battles, which does her no good because it just so happens she and the kids are in a refugee camp in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. They’re in the type of camp where you have to have something to trade to survive, and it just so happens the one thing Karin had to trade was herself. She doesn’t explicitly tell Gerry this, but after she hastily hangs up the phone we see that she’s in some kind of reluctantly consensual relationship with the soldier who rescued them from the rooftop at the beginning of the movie.

Those who were paying close-attention during that rooftop rescue sequence (in the final cut), may recall that the nameless “Parajumper” in question was played by Lost alum Matthew Fox. So, if you saw the movie – and were left scratching your head about why the recognizable actor had been cast for what amounts to a single shot cameo – well, now you have your answer.

world war z trailer brad pitt1 World War Z Original Ending Revealed; Sequel to Begin Development

Gerry Lane (Pitt) and his family in ‘World War Z’

Lastly, World War Z was (at one point) supposed to wrap things up with Gerry, Segen and Simon – an English-speaking companion the two acquired in Moscow – trekking across Russia and making their way towards the U.S. shoreline, in a last-ditch effort to rescue Gerry’s wife and daughters:

Fox’ parajumper soldier then calls Gerry back and explains to him that he should just stay wherever he is and start a new life like he and Karin have. Gerry refuses to accept this, though, and he embarks on a rage mission to get back to his wife and daughters. Trouble is the nearest port that won’t be frozen is thousands of miles away, so there’s a montage of Gerry, Simon and Segen crossing various terrain until they ultimately end up on a boat. They’re now off of the Oregon Coast and they attack the American shore like it’s D-Day. And that’s how the movie ends. Not with Gerry having discovered a cure, but with him storming across the United States of America to get Karin back.

It’s possible that only certain portions of this extremely open-ended – and, tonally, far more bleak – original third act were actually shot by World War Z director Marc Forster. Regardless, whatever material did make the jump from script to movie form was messy enough to convince the people working on the project to recruit a couple of high-profile screenwriters to help salvage the whole thing.

There’s an argument to be made that the originally-planned direction would have allowed the film to paint a harsher and, in some ways, perhaps a more brutally-realistic portrayal of how social order breaks down during the zombie apocalypse – by showing the terrible effect it has on regular people like Gerry and his family. Still, it’s difficult to imagine that Paramount executives would’ve actually signed off on this ending (for a $200 million summer popcorn flick no less).

Which World War Z ending do you prefer – the original or the final version? Are you interested in seeing a sequel? Let us know in the comments section.


World War Z is now playing in theaters.

Source: Movies.com, THR

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Am I missing something? An article titled “Original Ending Revealed,” should or should not PROVIDE A LINK TO THE VIDEO?

    Waste of my time, weaksauce author.

    • It mentions in the article that the original ending probably wasn’t filmed. I guess you didn’t read it properly.

  2. I like the movie just as it was filmed. Great story and not so complicated. Got its point across just fine. Yes, I would like to see a sequel.

  3. I think the original movie plot was too much like the Walking Dead, where Shane had hooked up with Rick’s wife, so they went with Plan B, ironically enough.

  4. I am definitely looking forward to a sequel. I have the uncut version on my DVR and continually watch it from time to time. I think the movie was beautifuly done withe great special effects. The first version definitely leaves the door open for a part 2 I will be waiting for a part 2 and definitely disappointed if there is not!!!!!

  5. I think the original ending might have been better. In am very hopeful that a sequel will be made. Despite differences from the original source material, I think the film was a fantastic movie; exciting, enjoyable, and almost everything you could want from a mature zombie movie. World War Z is by far my favorite post night of the living dead zombie movie.

    • I agree, the originally planned ending was MUCH closer to the atmosphere in the book. Which instead of being a “race to find a cure” type of story it was mostly a mixture of dealing with an already dead world and different people working out how to survive in this new world. I can’t stand this idea that every story has to have a happy ending for people to walk away satisfied. I mean this is a movie for ADULTS not kids so it’s not like people are gonna tear up and ask mommy “why” if the main character gets the business. This original ending I like WAY better than what they did in the theatrical version. After jerusalem the movies SLOWS TO A SNAIL’S PACE then basically screeches to a halt. The way the original version sounds it would’ve been action all the way to the end.

      • sumtimes u have to have betetr happier endings.. life isnt always so happy obvipusly.. but it should nevber be so

  6. Would love to z’s a sequel, but they better have the same cast from the first film. It bought the first movie was good and would love to see a sequel, but like I said with the same cast thAt survived the first movie. I hate when they use some one else.

  7. I think I prefer the final ending better. The original would’ve just complicated things,by bridging out into a totally different story, and that would’ve been sooo lame

  8. I think the original / un-filmed ending is novel enough in that it doesn’t follow the typical zombie tropes of “finding a cure.” However, I don’t know if the cell phone element is realistic enough to make it a compelling ending. Maybe it’s just me, but I would refuse to accept any scenario where both Pitt’s character and his wife would have functioning cell phones capable of making and receiving calls when a) they probably have no means of charging the phones, and b) there is no central headquarters that maintains cellular networks given people are zombies and all. All that said, I wasn’t a fan at all of the ending that was used in the final cut, so I won’t say it’s preferable to the conceptual ending.

    I’ve always felt that the “proper” ending for a movie that is aiming to be dark and different from other zombie movies and tv shows should revolve around things never getting better. There should be no “victory” or “silver lining” to the story. In my mind, if the world truly spun into a state of complete and total disaster, another day of survival is both the victory and the defeat. Like – sure you’re alive, but every day more and more people are transforming into zombies, you are becoming less safe, your resources are growing scarcer, your hope of finding your family is bleaker, and your reasons for continuing on at all are few and far between. You’re alone, you’re starved, you’re scared, and you’re all out of hope.

    Audiences expect things to get better. They expect Sandra to survive in Gravity. They expect Hanks to be found in Castaway. And they expected Pitt to find his family and stop the zombie virus in World War Z. The reason Cabin in The Woods was so great was because the ending was almost the exact opposite of what the audience expected. It was an ending that, rightfully, played with our expectations and threw them back in our face in such a way that it simultaneously felt like a slap and a hug. It was incredible and made it one of my favorite horror films of the past 10 years. WWZ had a chance to do something bold in different by telling a zombie story from the perspective of one of the “losers” of the war. Let us see the man who left his family to do something noble, who failed miserably, doomed himself and his family, and died.

    • You just described the ending of all zombie movies ever, the most common plot is to have all dead by the end of the movie, even the hero of the movie. World war Z the book is an account of the aftermath of a zombie infestation that was survived after losing lots and lots of lives. I though it was nice that they find a way to slow down the rate people was getting infected but not a cure.

    • Um, ever hear of sat phones? Course if those zombies managed to enter space and take down all those pesky satellites circling the earth then you’d have a point to make.

  9. You should make a second movie because the original needs more action and if you make a second mob=vie then he will be able to find a cure hopefully

  10. I loved the book. I hated all the drastic changes and differences in the movie, it didn’t even seem like it was based on the same book, it had practically nothing in common. Overall I thought the movie was simply entertaining just because I’m a zombie fan. The original ending would have definitely been muuuuuuuch better than the final version!!!

  11. I would like to see a sequel to the movie. I know you have a painting of Jesus. Movie with Jesus coming to save the world bringing peace, love, and compassion for everyone. Story of the new beautiful world.

  12. I like the original ending idea. I feel like had there been an adaptation of this in Korea, that would have been the ending they went with. we like messed up, unresolved movies like that hahah. it keeps you wondering long after the last frame.

  13. I’m waiting for the world war z sequel. The first one is great. Come on, there are 7 fast n furious.