Movies often go through several drafts when being written. Maybe some parts will be fleshed out to better explain something, or a character written out due to actor availability. One thing that most writers will agree on, is that endings are hard. Whether the answer only makes sense because they wrote it, or someone’s death in the real world means they can’t go ahead with the original plan. Endings often change, sometimes the villain will survive in case of a sequel, or things will be ret-coned due to fan backlash. While most of these changes are for the best, some of the original endings are still interesting.
Consider this your spoiler warning!
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Based on the stage musical of the same name, the theatrical ending sees Seymour (Rick Moranis) survive his encounter with the carnivorous plant Audrey II, and whisk Audrey away to an idyllic suburban life, with a small Audrey II plant in the garden. This ending differs from both the original musical and intended ending, where the plant eats the leads, and, along with other Audrey II’s, goes on a War of the Worlds style rampage. Despite being beloved by theatre-goers, test audiences were not as keen on the segment, which reportedly cost around $5 million. Although long since thought lost, it was eventually restored and can be viewed on the blu-ray version, as originally planned
Army of Darkness
The third Evil Dead film sees Ash trapped in the Middle Ages. After defeating the evil dead once again, Ash is given a potion that will allow him to travel home. After reciting an incantation, he arrives back in the present day and tells his story to a fellow S-Mart employee. In the original ending, it is explained that the potion allows him to sleep for a hundred years for every drop he consumes. While Ash needs six to return home, he accidentally consumes seven and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been destroyed. The studio found this ending to be too negative and dark, so the ending was changed for the theatrical release.
I Am Legend
Based on the book of the same name, it follows Robert Neville as he tries to find a cure for an infection that has turned most of the population into vampire-like monsters. In the theatrical ending, Neville sacrifices himself to allow two other humans to escape with the cure, in the hopes they may eventually create one. The alternate ending is slightly closer to the book, which reveals that the monsters are intelligent, and have come looking for him in revenge for all of the ones he has kidnapped or killed, viewing Neville as the monster. With the announcement of a sequel, this may now become the canon ending.
One of the great things about the board game is that the ending changes every game. This means that you don’t know who the answer is just because you’ve played it before. When Clue was originally released in theatres in 1985, it actually had three different endings, so neither did the audience! A fourth ending was also filmed, in which the butler Wadsworth was behind all the murders, but it was removed.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
One of the challenges of adapting a story that is still ongoing is not knowing how it ends. While the graphic novel series had started in 2004, the final volume was still being written while the film was being made. In the original ending, Scott let Ramona go, instead of getting back together with Knives. Creator Bryan Lee O’Malley disliked this ending, as he felt it wasn’t right for Knives. After the release of the final graphic novel, which has Scott end up with Ramona, the ending was redone to match this change. Ellen Wong, who plays Knives, approved of the change, with the character pointing out “I’m too cool for you anyway” in the final film.
While not exactly cheerful, the original ending is cathartic. As Daniel is choking Rose, a police car shows up, and Chris realises how this looks, resigning himself to his fate. In the theatrical cut, Rod gets out of the car, and Chris (as well as the audience) breathes a sigh of relief. In the alternate ending, it’s the actual police that turns up, and Chris is promptly arrested. When Rod visits him in prison, trying to help release him, Chris is resigned to his fate, content that he stopped the family. Peele later decided that the film needed a happier ending, but wanted to preserve that initial moment where the car pulls up.
Although this ending hasn’t officially been released (if it was ever filmed) the leaked original ending has been confirmed several times. During the final battle with the T-800, John Connor is mortally wounded. In the final version, Marcus sacrifices himself to keep Connor alive with his cybernetic body. However, the original plan was for Connor to die of his injuries, and the resistance would graft his skin onto Marcus so that he could live on as John Connor and lead the resistance as a reformed terminator in disguise. Another version had the now Terminator John Connor call his closest allies, including his wife and Kyle Reese, to his bedside before killing them all. While it may not have improved the film, it would certainly have been an interesting twist
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