Movies go through a number of changes between inception and the final cut that’s released in theaters, and sometimes the DVD will include those scenes that were deleted or an alternate ending. There are many reasons the writers, producers, or director on a film may choose to go with a different ending than the one that was originally planned – whether because the first ending didn’t test well with audiences or the studio didn’t feel it would be appropriate for the movie. No matter the reason, a movie’s alternate ending can give fans an idea of where the film could have gone if certain changes hadn’t been made.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Amazing Alternate Movie Endings You’ve Never Seen.
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
The final film in George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy received some backlash from fans that appreciated the darker themes in Episode V, especially due to Return of the Jedi’s inclusion of Ewoks. However, according to the film’s producer Gary Katz, the original outline for Episode VI had Han Solo dying in a raid on an Imperial Base with a more “bittersweet and poignant” ending. But, Lucas decided the film needed a much happier final act and Return of the Jedi was overhauled. Another reason Lucas didn’t want any of the main trio of heroes killed? Toy sales.
One of the more tragic reasons that a film would need to change its ending is the death of a star, which happened to be the case for Furious 7 when Paul Walker passed away in the middle of filming. The final cut of the film had Walker’s character, Brian, retiring with his family away from the world of crime and street racing depicted throughout the Fast and Furious series. However, this was changed from early versions of the script, which had Brian remaining part of the crew led by Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, and setting up future sequels. But, as director James Wan explained, the final ending made more sense in light Walker’s passing and it worked as a tribute to the actor’s involvement in the series.
X-Men: The Last Stand
The final installment in the X-Men trilogy of the 2000s has largely been seen as the weakest of the three movies, trading massive action set pieces for smaller character moments. When The Last Stand was released on DVD, three alternate ending scenes were included that depicted a new school year at Xavier’s Academy, Rogue still with her powers, and Logan returning to the bar from the first X-Men film. However, during the scripting process there was another major change to the entire third act of The Last Stand. According to director Brett Ratner, the original script had the final standoff taking place in Washington D.C. – with the Golden Gate Bridge sequence occurring in the middle of the film – but he urged the writers to change it because too many other movies at the time had used the country’s capital city in their final set pieces.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The trouble with basing a movie on a series of comic books is that the source material may not be complete at the same time as the film. That was the case with Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie, which originally ended with Scott and Ramona going their separate ways while Scott got back together with his high school-aged girlfriend, Knives. Unsurprisingly, the original ending didn’t test well with audiences, but at the time, that was how Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics had left the characters. Then, when the writer completed the series with Scott and Ramona getting together, Wright changed the ending to his film accordingly – and audience scores went up. Wright also later revealed that an early draft of the script had Gideon Graves transforming into a giant robot, but it was scrapped for being too similar to Michael Bay’s Transformers.
What happens when three teenagers accidentally stumble into superhero-like powers? Chronicle, from director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis, attempts to answer that question as Matt is forced to fight his former friend, Andrew, who takes a turn for the villainous. The film ends with Matt promising to use his powers for good from then on, but Landis’ original ending took a much more literal depiction of super-heroics. The original script had the film jumping ahead two years to show a dam breaking in Asia, with Matt swooping in to thunderous applause from those about to drown. He hypes the crowd even further – shouting “F*** YEAH KOREA!” – then uses his telekinetic powers to stop the giant wave of water.
Sigourney Weaver’s role as Ridley Scott’s cat-loving action heroine Ripley has become a fan favorite character in the Alien franchise since the film was released in 1979. But, one version of the ending would have prevented Ripley from appearing in any of the other movies in the series. Scott had apparently discussed the idea to have the xenomorph kill Ripley by biting her head off, then record a final entry in her log by mimicking her voice. However, the producers nixed the idea because it was too dark and urged Scott to make sure the creature died in the end. We’ll never know if Alien would have been as successful if Scott had kept his original ending, but we do know Ripley wouldn’t be the action hero we know today.
The ending of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 space and time travel film left many audience members confused. The final sequences see Cooper jettison into a black hole hoping to send data to his daughter on Earth, which he does through a 5th-dimensional tesseract. However, according to the director’s brother and screenwriting partner Jonathan Nolan, that wasn’t the original ending to the film. The screenwriter said Interstellar first had a “more straightforward” ending in which the wormhole collapsed “when Cooper tries to send the data back.” It’s unclear how this event would specifically change the ending, but it certainly seems as though it wouldn’t have confused quite as many people in the audience.
Before Zack Snyder tackled the DC Comics Extended Universe, he adapted Alan Moore’s critically-acclaimed Watchmen series. The film was praised for its faithfulness to Moore’s comic, but an early version of the film that had Terry Gilliam attached to direct had a much different ending to both Moore and Snyder’s versions. As revealed by producer Joel Silver, Gilliam’s Watchmen would have ended with Ozymandias convincing Doctor Manhattan to go back in time and stop himself from being created, which would have changed all the present day superheroes into people that simply dressed up like heroes from comic books. Snyder has since openly criticized Gilliam’s ending, though his film’s final act was also criticized for not exactly following the source material.
The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth feature film was almost cancelled after the movie’s original script leaked online in January 2014. But, the director held a stage reading of the script with the entire cast, where they announced the production would be moving forward with some changes made to the story. According to those that read the initial script or saw the stage reading, Tarantino’s original ending had a much bloodier final act with only Chris Mannix left alive – while in the film he was joined by Major Marquis Warren. Additionally, the violence and who kills who in the final shootout was tweaked for the film, likely to provide some surprises for those that read the original script.
An instance of a film being adapted from a comic series that hadn’t been completed is the Kick-Ass series, based in the books by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. According to Kick-Ass 2 writer and director Jeff Wadlow, Millar originally had the villain, played in the movies by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, die at the end of the second volume. However, with a third installment to the movie series in mind, Wadlow convinced Millar not to kill the villain, and just leave him wounded instead. So, Millar’s original ending would have prevented Mintz-Plasse from returning to the series, but since Kick-Ass 2 wasn’t as well received as the first film, a third movie may be out of the cards anyway.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any alternate endings to your favorite movies? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.