There are times where you will be completely satisfied by a movie’s ending and others where you just wish it had wrapped up differently. Well, the creatives behind movies clearly have the same thought process because there is a long history of alternative movie endings out there.
I Am Legend’s alternative ending is currently doing the rounds on TikTok and it got us thinking – what other movies have alternative endings that could’ve changed the whole movie?
In I Am Legend’s case, we’re of the opinion the director went with the right ending (even though the alternate option is said to be closer to the story in the book) but did all the final cuts of the below movies choose the best path?
Spoilers for the endings, and possible endings, of all the movies below.
Blade Runner very famously has multiple versions. The film changed a fair bit in post-production prior to its theatrical release, which resulted in seven different versions of the film.
The US theatrical release involved what was known as the “happy ending” which saw Deckard and Rachael essentially drive off into the sunset while Deckard’s narration explains that Tyrell told him Rachel will last beyond the four-year internal lifespan of replicants.
Both Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott were allegedly very unhappy with the tacked-on nature of the voice-over – hence it was removed completely from Scott’s eventual cut.
The 2007 Final Cut is largely considered the definitive version as it was one that Ridley Scott had complete artistic control over. This version nixes the narration and instead cuts to black after Rachael and Deckard enter the elevator. It also features the full unicorn dream sequence.
Clue is a murder mystery movie that tried to expand on the audience’s experience (and box office returns presumably) by filming three different endings.
Audiences wouldn’t know which end they were getting until they’d finished the movie, but unfortunately, it didn’t take off how the producer’s hoped debuting to only $15 million.
The three endings change who the killer was with choices of Miss Scarlet, Mrs Peacock and what is considered the “real” ending which shuffles the blame on everyone.
World War Z
Another zombie pandemic movie with an alternative ending is World War Z. The movie famously went through extensive reshoots to change the ending, so was it worth it?
The original ending saw Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane successfully infiltrate a zombie-infested WHO building to find a potential cure for the disease. This is followed by a montage that shows humanity fighting back against the infected.
The alternative ending would’ve seen Lane flying to Moscow and become part of a zombie-fighting army. The infected then lay siege to Moscow and an insane battle sequence would’ve occurred with Lane hacking away at zombies with a Lobo (an iconic weapon from the book). He then figures out the zombies are more susceptible to cold which gives the humans an advantage.
Lane then goes to reunite with his long lost family in America with the movie ending on a shot of him landing back in Oregon.
Debatably this ending would’ve been a lot more action-packed than the mellow ending we got, but would it have made the film better?
The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect also has a case of multiple alternative endings — ironic, right?
The theatrical release saw Ashton Kutcher’s Evan see his love interest, Kayleigh, on the street and decide to walk on by. Another version saw Evan and Kayleigh stop and talk to each other instead of walking past.
The extended director’s cut had a much darker vision where Evan travels back to the time of his birth and strangles his infant self with his umbilical cord, thus ensuring he would never be born and couldn’t cause pain to those around him.
Blade Runner isn’t the only Ridley Scott film with a planned alternative ending. It was never filmed but his original vision for Alien would’ve seen the alien rip Ridley’s head off and then manipulate the humans by mimicking Captain Dallas’ voice.
Instead, thanks to the heroic theatrical ending of Alien, we have three sequels.
So, what do you reckon? Are the endings that could’ve been better than what we got?
A lot of these endings can be found floating around on YouTube (judge the I Am Legend ending here) or on special physical media releases. Check them out for yourself and let us know!