Like all kinds of artists, filmmakers can find themselves full of ideas about stories and characters. Most of the time they don’t get to present every last part of their vision in the finished product. Some story and character beats have to be cut. It can be even more frustrating to make cuts in movies because so many more people put work into shooting a movie than into writing a novel.
Sometimes there are scenes deleted from movies that have an important part to play once they are reintegrated. Why they were cut in the first place might be anyone’s guess, but the following scenes feel crucial enough to the plot and the characters that they should have been included the first time around. Thankfully, in this age of internet and extras-laden digital videos, we get to see how these important scenes enrich our favorite movies.
Here are 15 Deleted Movie Scenes That Were Actually Important To The Plot.
15 THE FORCE AWAKENS – FINN AND THE VILLAGER
One frequent complaint that fans have had about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that Finn seems to defect from the First Order too quickly, almost inexplicably. We don’t get to see him train or be a loyal Stormtrooper at all before he’s deployed on a presumably common search and destroy mission and starts getting doubts.
Fortunately there is a deleted scene that fleshes out Finn’s arc. It was fully filmed and included in the Blu-ray release of the movie. Before the First Order finishes rounding up all the villagers and executes them, Finn has an encounter with a lone frightened villager. Presumably the villager is also holding a baby wrapped in a bundle. Maybe some crying noises were going to be added in post before the scene was cut, otherwise the totally silent presumed baby doesn’t make much sense in a raid.
But the point of the scene is clear all the same. The helpless villager stands terrified as a nerve-wracked Finn trains his rifle on her, then runs off as Finn lowers his rifle. The scene is clearly meant to take place after Finn’s dying fellow trooper leaves a bloody handprint on his helmet. This interaction helps humanize the people that Finn couldn’t bring himself to participate in killing a few minutes later.
14 INDEPENDENCE DAY - DAVID CODES THE ALIEN VIRUS
How does an MIT graduate turned cable company tech monkey manage to write a computer virus that can disable the invading aliens’ ship shields from top to bottom? Presumably there was a bit more to it than getting the hair-brained inspiration from a mention of a cold, and a bit of Hollywood hacking on a 1990s MacBook.
We did see that David was savvy enough to detect the alien signal that they were using to coordinate their initial attack. There’s a deleted scene with Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spinner’s Dr. Okun where they’re both on the alien fighter ship recovered from Roswell. In this scene, David actually realizes the similarities between the signal he detected earlier and the ship’s computer system. Even Okun is impressed.
Perhaps this scene was cut to save the surprise for the audience when Alan Baldwin shoots the coke can off the hull of the ship, but the context to bridge with technological gulf of a plot hole is still welcome.
13 DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) – THE TAPES FROM ANDY’S GUN WORKS
In the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, the gang of mall survivors makes contact with a local gun shop owner named Andy, who’s trapped in his hold-out across the street. The story keeps them from joining up since there are hundreds of zombies separating them. There’s some pretty pitch black humor when he joins the survivors in a game of sniping some zombie celebrity lookalikes. But we never really get to see the story from Andy’s perspective or learn much about his character.
Fortunately, we have the video diaries that Andy kept of his hold out that were included in the DVD release. He alludes to his efforts to make contact with the mall group, but with limited food in his own hold-out, his isolation drains his sanity. It looks like his video logs are being recorded over a home video he made with his daughter in the park in happier times. In the end, Andy gets bitten while trying to break out of his shop and the last footage shows him rising from the floor as a new zombie.
12 FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF - FERRIS CASHES HIS DAD'S BANK BOND
Pretty much everybody since the late eighties wishes they could go on a consequence-free spending spree like Mathew Broderick did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Most of his antics might have been purely for self-indulgent mayhem, but Bueller does genuinely want to show Cameron a good time and break up his neurotic wall-flower streak.
There is one logistical issue that never really comes up in the film. How does Bueller actually afford all of the lavish expenses he, Cameron and Sloane enjoy in the film? There was supposed to be a deleted sequence where Ferris calls his dad and asks about bonds he purchased when Ferris was born. Ferris then takes one out of a shoe box, brings it to the bank with Sloane and cashes it. It also involved lying to the hard-of-hearing bank teller that Sloane was pregnant.
John Hughes apparently cut the scene because it made Ferris too close to a delinquent thief instead of a lovable rogue. Perhaps the detail could have still been mentioned even if the scene explaining his day-off funds was cut.
11 ALIENS – AMANDA RIPLEY IN MEMORIAM
Between the end of Alien and the events of Aliens, Ellen Ripley spent 57 years in hypersleep--much, much longer than she had expected. In a deleted scene from James Cameron’s 1992 special edition of Aliens, Ripley meets with company rep Carter Burke before her deposition about the events on the Nostromo. Ripley asks right away if there’s any news about her daughter. Burke tries to deflect her, but Ripley insists on answers.
Burke reluctantly shows her a photograph of Amanda Ripley at age 66, two years ago, at the time of her death. The shock and grief soon overwhelms Ripley, who says that she promised to be home from her mission in time for Amanda’s eleventh birthday. This deleted scene makes the consequences of Ripley’s long sleep even more personal and devastating. It also greatly informs her motivation for bonding with and looking after the little girl Newt throughout the film.
10 TITANIC - JACK AND LOVEJOY'S CAT AND MOUSE FIGHT
Jack and Rose get into several harrowing encounters while trying to escape the sinking Titanic. It certainly doesn’t help that Cal is trying to apprehend and or kill them both. Astute viewers may have noticed that Cal’s Butler Lovejoy inexplicably appears with a nasty gash on his head. How did he get it? There’s a deleted scene where Cal fires off a few shots at Jack and Rose himself as they try to take a long way back to the deck through the flooding dining hall.
Cal is, of course, too much of a wimp to continue the chase through the rising water, so he hands the pistol off to Lovejoy. He promises Lovejoy the Heart of the Ocean, carelessly left in the coat pocket that Rose is wearing, if he can get her back. The opposite end of the hall is locked, so Jack and Rose have to hide among the tables, as the tilting room is getting steadily flooded. Eventually Jack rushes Lovejoy while he’s distracted by finding Rose and shoves his head through a glass window.
It’s tense, well-staged scene that gives Jack a chance for some payback against Lovejoy. James Cameron reportedly decided to cut the scene from Titanic because it made Jack out to be too violent.
9 RETURN OF THE JEDI - YODA DEATHBED REVELATION
The fact that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, is probably the most crucial plot point of the whole original Star Wars trilogy. It certainly builds the dramatic tension between Luke, Vader, and Obi-Wan, but many fans have questioned the wisdom of withholding this crucial detail from Luke, the last hope for the galaxy and the Jedi.
The current editions of the film make Obi-Wan out to be particularly dubious with his “certain point of view” explanation. But apparently there was going to be another pertinent line in Return of the Jedi, when Luke goes to Degobah one last time. Yoda imparts several important final messages to Luke, urging him to pass on what he’s learned and telling him that there’s another Skywalker. There is only raw footage of the lines in which Yoda tells Luke that the he forbade Obi-Wan from telling Luke the truth about Darth Vader.
It’s implied that Yoda believed Luke would be unable to confront Vader had Yoda or Obi-Wan told him, and that Obi-Wan wanted to tell Luke the truth. This extra detail makes Obi-Wan a bit more sympathetic and adds an intriguing layer of tension between the two old Jedi Masters.
8 TERMINATOR 2 - FLIPPING THE TERMINATOR'S NEURAL NET
John, Sarah and the reprogrammed Terminator undergo a lot of preparation when they escape from the mental hospital into the desert in Terminator 2. John takes the opportunity to interrogate the Terminator about his mehanical nature while they remove a lot of squashed bullets from his fleshy exoskeleton. He wonders if the Terminator can learn more human behavior. The Terminator basically says that the more he’s exposed to human behavior, the more he’ll learn.
In the special edition of T2, it’s a bit more complicated. The Terminator says his neural net processor is capable of learning about human behavior and values but that Skynet sets that setting to “read only” by default. John asks if they can switch it. The scene where Sarah and John open up the Terminator’s cranium features some impressive prosthetic staging. It also explains why the Terminator becomes so much more emotive in the second half of the movie, culminating with the “I know now why you cry” scene when he says goodbye.
The other great part of the scene is when Sarah tries to crush the CPU while the Terminator is defunct and John is looking away. We get to see John assert his nascent authority about their mission even over the warranted concerns of his hardened mother.
7 ALIEN – THE ALIEN COCOONING ITS VICTIMS
When Ridley Scott first introduced us to the Xenomorphs in Alien, every scene with the creature was a new horror. Scott even famously kept the actors in the dark about certain frightening aspects of the alien. Most of the actors were unaware that John Hurt was going to flail around the mess hall with a new born alien bursting out of his chest. All the better to capture their genuine expressions of terror.
There are a few horrifying aspects of the Xenomorphs that didn’t make it into the theatrical cut of the film. After Ridley sets up the Nostromo’s self-destruct sequence and makes a break for it with her flame thrower, she follows a faint cry for help. It’s much like the other suspenseful scenes in this part of the film where we get to watch Ripley’s agonized face before getting a chance to see for ourselves what’s horrifying her.
For any fans who dared to imagine exactly what happened to Dallas and Brett, this scene provides the answer. Ripley finds them both suspended against a bulkhead and cocooned in Alien material. Dallas is just barely still enough of himself to plead with Ripley to kill him in an agonized wheeze. You could also call it practice for when Ripley kills all the Xenomorph eggs with fire in the sequel.
6 SUICIDE SQUAD – MORE CHARACTER SCENES AND DIFFERENT DYNAMICS
Like with many of the releases in Warner Brother’s DCEU so far, most viewers either loved or hated Suicide Squad. Whether it’s been intended to improve audiences' impressions of the film or not, details about a lot of deleted scenes have come out. The scenes described in the Reddit post by Naydawwwg haven’t been confirmed by any studios with any footage, but Jared Leto himself has talked about how plenty of his Joker scenes were cut from the movie, including shots from deleted scenes that made into the trailers but not the movie.
Several of the characters like Slipknot, Killer Croc, and Captain Boomerang were going to be more deplorable or disgusting before the unflattering scenes were cut. Most important of all were scenes that would have given Harley Quinn and the Joker’s relationship a much darker dynamic. He’s made out to be much more abusive and manipulative. The scene with the two of them in the helicopter was originally shot where the Joker shoves Harley out of the helicopter trying to killer her, not save her. It would have been a closer adaptation of their relationship from some of the comics, but it might not have gone over with audiences very well. Perhaps we can judge which version of the film is better if the scenes are included in the home release.
5 LOTR: THE TWO TOWERS - DENETHOR TASKS BOROMIR WITH ACQUIRING THE ONE RING
It doesn’t take long for the audience to become suspicious of Boromir when he’s introduced in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He gives tortured and fawning looks at the Ring throughout the movie, culminating in his frenzied attempt to seize the Ring for himself.
Then we meet his little brother, Faramir, in The Two Towers, who threatens to fall prey to the same ambition to which his older brother succumbed. But the extended edition reveals there’s more going on with Boromir and Faramir that casts them both in a more sympathetic light. While examining Boromir’s ruined horn, Faramir has a flashback to a happier day when Boromir recaptured Osgiliath for Gondor. The brothers’ celebration is cut short when Denethor shows up. He takes Boromir aside and tells him that he suspects Lord Elrond’s summons for a council is to determine the fate of the One Ring. Denethor explicitly tells Boromir to take the Ring and bring it back to Gondor.
This scene informs so much of what we see of Boromir, Faramir and Denethor across all three films. Both brothers suffered because of the arrogant pressure their father placed on them. Was Boromir weighing stealing the One Ring for his father’s approval or to save his kingdom? At least we know Denethor was the one who wanted the Ring in the first place.
4 PROMETHEUS – THE ENGINEERS' CEREMONIAL SACRIFICE OPENING
Might Prometheus have been a better film if Ridley Scott didn’t join in the internet’s game of speculation over its ties to his film Alien, from 30 years before? We may never know. At any rate there’s plenty left to unpack in the film about its own backstory and its connection to the other Alien movies.
There’s an alternate expanded opening to the film as opposed to the lone Engineer standing on the waterfall. In the alternate version, he’s joined by other robed Engineers. They hand the main Engineer his bowl of black mutagen in a clearly ceremonial fashion. Then he steps to the edge of the waterfall and imbibes, leading to the disintegrating descent and reconfiguring into new cells.
It doesn’t tell us much more about the Engineers, such as why they decided that their own human descendants/creations should be wiped out. However, the extra context helps to establish the revelation that the Engineers created humanity in the film.
3 BATMAN V SUPERMAN - LEX LUTHOR AND STEPPENWOLF
Batman v Superman had a lot going on. Plenty of fans felt the movie tried to introduce and develop too many important elements of a DC Cinematic Universe in one movie. It didn’t help that Lex Luthor seemed to have all the plot device knowledge that any supervillain could want without much explanation.
In the Ultimate Edition, there is a deleted scene that sheds some light on one late-movie revelation. After the heroes defeat Doomsday, there’s a scene where a SWAT team raids the Kryptonian ship Luthor was using throughout the movie. Inside, they find Lex collar-deep in the rancid liquid, face-to-face with some demonic apparition. The creature flexes its arms and cries out before evaporating. Director Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers confirmed that this is supposed to be Steppenwolf, the Uncle of Darkseid and the general of his armies in DC comics.
So we at least know what Luthor was talking about when he shouted deranged warnings after Batman from his cell. We can certainly expect to see Steppenwolf in the upcoming Justice League movies.
2 I AM LEGEND - THE DARKER, MORE FAITHFUL ENDING
I Am Legend is probably the most notorious recent example of a focus-group ending. This blockbuster theatrical adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel follows virologist Robert Neville as he struggles to survive in post-zombie apocalypse Manhattan while developing a cure. Throughout the film we see Neville conducting experiments on captured infected. Also as the film goes on, the infected seem to pursue Neville with more personal, even emotional, determination.
In the theatrical climax, this humanizing of the infected barely pays off. Neville sacrifices himself to give some other survivors a chance to escape with a cure that he discovers through some cheesy plot point. In the “controversial” original ending that’s closer to Matheson’s novel, the infected break into Neville’s lab like before, but they haven’t come to kill him. Instead Neville realizes they have come to free his latest female infected test subject and take her back among their own. He has to walk among them to wake her. The Alpha infected even keeps them at bay while Neville cooperates. The film would have ended with Neville devastated by the realization that he’s been conducting often lethal tests on beings that turned out to still have awareness and emotion.
1 BLADE RUNNER - THE ORIGAMI UNICORN
It seems Ridley Scott can’t help having important bits of his movies get buried on the cutting room floor. In Blade Runner’s case, there was a lingering question that sustained debate among fans of the film for decades. Is Harrison Ford’s agent Rick Deckard a replicant?
Several creators involved with the film, including Ford himself, insisted for many years that Deckard is a human. But in the Directors’ and Final Cut of the film, two major scenes are included that seem to settle the debate once and for all. As he and Rachael prepare to flee the apartment at the end of the film, Deckard notices a silver origami unicorn on the floor. As he picks it up, Gaff’s last words to him echo in his mind, “It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again who does?” The significance of the unicorn, presumably left by Gaff, is underscored by Deckard’s dream sequence of a unicorn, implying that Gaff knows Deckard is a replicant.
There is something to be said for keeping Deckard’s status as a replicant open-ended in true cyberpunk-film-noir fashion, but the definite revelation adds a lot of dimension to Deckard and to the film’s themes. It deepens the morally ambiguous conflict of the film between the rogue replicants and the supposedly human Blade Runner tasked with retiring them.
Are there other deleted scenes out there that are crucial to the plot or characters of some of your favorite films? Let us know in the comments!