These Alternate Endings Will Change The Way You See Your Favorite Famous Films
Back in the days of Blu-ray and, dare we say DVDs, one of the benefits of buying a movie was to see all of the behind-the-scenes information, such as alternate endings. A film can take on a lot more value when you see the crucial decisions that were made, like not to kill an entire cast, which they nearly did with Little Shop of Horrors. Sometimes the original idea was so bad it’s funny, and other times it’s controversial. Whether you agree with the changes or not, here are alternate endings that would have made for a profoundly different film.
I Am Legend Could Have Ended More Subtly
The current ending of I Am Legend underscores the movie’s title since Will Smith’s character becomes a legend by self-sacrificing. Dr. Neville (Will Smith) gives Anna and Ethan the cure, then blows himself up along with the Darkseekers.
In the alternate ending, Dr. Neville lives. Not only that, but the Darkseekers turn out to not be evil after all. In this version, they’re actually seeking the female that was being experimented on. Once they get her back, they lose interest in Dr. Neville, who they merely presumed was a murderer. It would have taken on a whole new message about otherness had that been the film’s ending.
Pretty In Pink Almost Gave Us The Ending We Wanted
Pretty In Pink appeared to be following the age-old tradition of someone looking for love in all the wrong places, only to realize it’s been in front of them all along (aka, that they belong with their best friend). That’s why it was such a shock when the lead character Andie ends up with the popular guy after all, and not with her sweet friend Duckie.
It turns out, the original ending was exactly as we all imagined. Andie realizes that she’s in love with Duckie and they go to prom together. Test audiences didn’t like this route, likely because it is rather tired and predictable.
The Jungle Book Lost A Chapter
In the 1967 cartoon The Jungle Book, Mowgli leaves his home in the jungle to go live in “Man-Village.” His decision is fueled by a girl he’s grown fond of, which represents his need to be with other humans. In an alternate version, the story kept going.
Now in “Man-Village,” Mowgli was to reunite with his mother. When a treasure hunter attacks the animals, Mowgli ends up killing the antagonistic tiger, Shere Khan, with a rifle. The dramatic ending was ultimately ruled out, leaving a much simpler, lovable family classic.
Fatal Attraction Had A Different Fatality
Fatal Attraction‘s title alone foreshadows its ending: someone dies. How the death happens is what ultimately was tweaked to suit audience taste. In the version that hit theaters, the lead character Dan finally slays his overbearing adultress, Alex, and returns to his life.
In the original version, which was truer to reality, Alex takes her own life and frames Dan for her murder. This ending showed more of Alex’s crazed mind and the everlasting trauma Dan would suffer. However, audiences prefer a happy ending and a clear-cut villain.
Rocky Balboa Is Better Off Losing
One of the reasons that Rocky Balboa is such a great film is because its moral has nothing to do with winning or losing, but rather is about work ethic. In the movie, Rocky comes out of retirement to face a challenger despite the odds.
In an alternate ending, Rocky wins the fight with Mason. Silvester Stallone is the one who pushed against this ending. While the victory would feel good to audiences, it’s meaningful that Rocky perseveres in a losing battle. The fact that Rocky loses makes the character all the more human and endearing.
The Ending Of 1408 Depends On Where You Saw It
If you saw 1408 in a U.S. theater, congratulations on seeing the lightest version. In this take, John Cusack’s character starts a fire to destroy the room, which he then escapes. Reunited with his wife, they both hear a recording of their ghost daughter talking to Mike while he was in the room, which proves the existence of an afterlife.
In the UK and Australia, they showed the original ending, which also aired on FX. In this version, Mike dies in the fire and is reunited with his dead daughter in the afterlife. Meanwhile, the hotel manager finds and hears the recording.
Sweet Home Alabama Had A Not-So-Sweet End
Reese Witherspoon discovers a newfound appreciation for her southern roots in the rom-com Sweet Home Alabama. In the end, she reaffirms her love for her childhood sweetheart and the couple celebrate with the hometown patrons.
In an alternate ending, Reese still picks the same guy at the end, but there’s an odd twist. A lightning storm breaks out and Josh Lucas carries the presumably dead Reese into the party. She jumps up and it’s all a big joke meant to symbolize her rebirth as a southern girl. The quirky twist got booted.
Scott Pilgrim Could Have Gotten Creepy
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World ends with Scott winning the game and thus winning the girl he was after all along. Scott wins with the help of his ex-girlfriend, Knives Chau. Their camaraderie explains the alternate ending where Scott ends up with Knives instead.
However, a creepier ending would have been explored had it not been for time constraints. In this version, the movie would end with a news reporter covering a story about a serial killer who murdered seven people and claimed he was in a videogame. The horror twist would have suggested that Scott was insane the entire time.
Little Shop Of Horrors Nearly Became A World Of Horror
Little Shop Of Horrors brought fears about aliens to an urban flower shop in a humorous but freaky movie. In the end, Seymour’s bloodthirsty plant is defeated and he is finally able to be with his coworker, Audrey.
The sweet ending had a much darker original plan. In its alternate ending, the plant (named Audrey II) eats Audrey and Seymour before coordinating with other alien plants and taking over the world. The apocolyptic ending didn’t test well. It turns out audiences don’t like watching humanity cease to exist.
Return Of The Jedi Almost Killed This Character
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ultimately went with the kind of cheesy ending that any throwaway plot consists of: everyone starts dancing. Ewoks play music while everyone celebrates another successful victory.
Critics who felt disgruntled by this ending may be relieved to hear there was a completely different route the ending almost took. In an alternate ending, Han Solo would have been killed. Princess Leia would have then led the fight against the Empire, while Luke and R2-D2 walked into the sunset.
The Titanic‘s Ending Could Have Been Funny
Who can forget the end of Titanic, when the old version of Rose thrusts her highly valuable diamond into the sea? While that part was always going to conclude the movie, in the alternate version she was not alone.
When she reaches the edge of the boat, she would have been chased out by the team. She then would give a speech about the importance of priceless life and throw the diamond overboard. Bill Paxton would laugh at the sky before everyone realizes that they have the equipment to go retrieve the diamond she just threw.
Terminator 2 Could Have Terminated Future Sequels
Initially, Terminator 2 would have been the end-all-be-all for the series. In this alternate ending, the film would have jumped into the future, where a grown John Connor is a U.S. Senator. In this future, Judgement Day never happened and a proud Sarah Connor admires her successful son.
Such a happily-ever-after ending would have prohibited the next film, which is teased at in the ending that ultimately was released. Instead, the Terminator destroys its microchip in molten steel, and John and Sarah drive off to an unstable future.
The Princess Diaries Had A Missing Ingredient
The Princess Diaries has that fairytale ending that children love, but it was missing one thing. Originally, the movie ended with Princess Mia agreeing to rule over Genovia and the usual cheesy dance number.
When director Garry Marshall showed the film to his granddaughter, who was five at the time, she expressed her disappointment at not seeing the castle Mia goes to. Thus, Garry arranged for Disney to attain footage of a castle that Mia presumably flies over in the end.
The Shining Cut To The Point
Initially, The Shining had a hospital scene at its finale where Danny and Wendy were looked after. The hotel manager was to come in to tell Wendy that there wasn’t any evidence that suggested paranormal activity.
The manager would then give Danny the creepy yellow ball that led him to room 237 earlier in the movie. Stanley Kubrick decided to cut the scenes after noticing that test audiences were too captivated at the climax of the movie to need the extra suspense towards the end.
Man Of Steel May Have Been Too Aggressive
One of the reasons that Superman is such an admired hero is that he never killed anyone. That is until the latest adaptation of the superhero classic came out, Man of Steel. In this version, Superman defeats Zod by breaking his neck.
Producer Christopher Nolan pushed to change the ending to an alternate where Zod would be banished by Superman instead of killed. Zod’s death won out, leaving some fans still in debate over whether or not this was the right move.
Pretty Woman Could Have Been A Downer
Pretty Woman has received some critical evaluation for glorifying the life of a female escort. Regardless of what side of the coin you lean toward, the movie would have been a completely different one if the ending had not changed. Initially, the movie was not going to end with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts falling in love.
It was going to have a darker and more realistic ending where the two would argue and Richard would toss Julia her envelope full of money, leaving her to return to life on the street corner. The downer ending would have made the rom-com a serious commentary that may have been better received nowadays.
My Best Friend’s Wedding Didn’t Deserve A Happy Ending
My Best Friend’s Wedding excelled at making the audience feel wholly divided over Julia Robert’s character. On one end, you hope that she’ll win over her best friend and ruin his wedding. On the other hand, she’s determined to ruin a good thing for purely selfish reasons.
That’s why the ending was adjusted. Initially, Julia meets a new man at the wedding, suggesting that she’s found love after all. Apparently test audiences didn’t like seeing the vindictive friend win in the end, so writers ended the movie with her dancing with a platonic friend instead.
Alien Could Have Ended In Total Annihilation
With so many alien takeover films that have come out over the years, it can be hard to determine if aliens should win or lose. It seems predictable to have the humans win, but a movie where the aliens win seems so depressing. That’s what director Ridley Scott had to grapple with while shooting Alien.
In the released movie, everyone on the cargo ship dies aside from Ellen Ripley, who manages to blow up the ship and escape alive. However, the alternate ending showed Ellen killed by the alien and the alien taking on a human voice to radio Earth. An executive refused the ending.
Suspicion Was Forced To Hold Back
Back in the earlier days of Hollywood, audiences were more sensitive to the images of their beloved stars. That’s why when Cary Grant was chosen as the lead in the Alfred Hitchcock film Suspicion, the ending had to be sacrificed so as not to taint Cary’s heroic image.
The movie suggests that Cary’s character in the film is planning on killing his wife, which he would have done in the original ending. Instead, the character turns out not to be a crazed murderer, just an embezzler who ends up in prison.
Get Out Could Have Been Even Darker
The successful film Get Out was released in a slightly milder form than it was initially written as. Originally, the movie was to end with its protagonist getting arrested and charged with the murder of the Armitage family, who he barely escape from.
Fortunately, writer and director Jordan Peele felt that the lead character, Chris, deserved a little mercy at the end. The police lights are instead a tease as the audience discovers it’s just Chris’s TSA friend pulling up to his rescue.