Alternate ending

"For the Fightstar album, see Alternate Endings

Alternate ending is a term used (usually in movies) to describe the ending of a story that was planned or debated but ultimately unused in favor of the actual ending. Generally, alternate endings are considered to have no bearing on the canonical narrative.

Examples in film

In movies, alternate endings are often filmed before being scrapped, and may be subsequently included as a special feature in the film's DVD release. These alternate endings are a special type of deleted scene. In other cases, ideas that were presented but discarded early on are alluded to by the production team in commentary or interviews.

The following are examples of known alternate endings to movies:
*"1408": An alternate ending is present on the director's cut disc (much like The Butterfly Effect, with a few deleted scenes reinserted) Mike Enslin dies in the fire he causes. At his burial, his wife is approached by the hotel manager, offering his personal belongings. She refuses, and he lets her know that her husband did not die in vain. Back in his vehicle he listens to the tape recorder, and screams in fear as he sees Enslin's burned deformed body in his back seat for only a moment. The film closes with an apparition of Mike Enslin still in 1408, muttering to himself, and finally exiting the room, hearing his daughters voice.
*"28 Days Later": Several darker alternate endings (filmed, available on the DVD release). The first has Jim gravely injured near the end of the film and he is taken to a hospital, but he dies before he can be given medical attention, and his body is left behind (completing a cycle in the movie; he woke up alone in hospital and has now died there). Some versions also involve him dreaming of the accident that put him in hospital at the beginning of the film. Another unfilmed ending picks up after Frank has been infected, where they take him to a research complex and Jim sacrifices his own life to give him a total blood transfusion to restore him, and he is once again left alone in a hospital bed. This was discarded for being too unbelievable.
*"Army of Darkness": In an alternate ending after Ash drinks the potion that would make him sleep long enough to wake up in his own time, he accidentally drinks too much and wakes up in the future. In the new time it's a post-apocalyptic wasteland of a world and he screams "I slept too long!"
*"The Astronaut's Wife": When Spencer is killed, Jillian is not possessed by the alien. Instead, she moves out to the country. Sitting beneath a tree, looking up at the stars, she tunes her radio to the same signals Spencer was receiving while possessed by the alien - her twin babies controlling her movements from inside the womb, listening - and waiting...
*"The Butterfly Effect": Evan watches a home video of his mother pregnant with him and returns to the memory of himself as a fetus. Convinced that his very existence has ruined the lives of those around him, he strangles himself with his umbilical cord and dies, stillborn. This "Director's Cut" ending is much darker than the theatrical ending, where he simply stops himself from becoming friends with Kayleigh.
*"Clerks.": Dante is still inside the Quick Stop after it closes. A customer enters and, without saying a word, shoots Dante and empties the cash register. The credits then roll, and when they are over a customer comes in and sees the counter empty without noticing Dante's body on the ground behind the counter.
*"Clue" had three different endings, and each one distributed to theaters had one of the three endings. The video and DVD version had all three endings on it.
* had two different endings. One had Lady Totington marrying PC Mack and another had Lady Totington visiting Wallace and giving Gromit the golden carrot.
*"Die Hard with a Vengeance": In an alternative ending found on the special edition DVD it is presumed that the robbery succeeds, with McClane catching up with Gruber months later in Austria. His career is in ruins and he is keen to take it out on Gruber whom he invites to play a game called "McClane Says". This involves a form of Russian Roulette with a small Chinese rocket launcher with the sights removed, meaning it cannot be determined which end is which. McClane then asks Gruber some riddles similar to the ones he played in New York. When Gruber gets a riddle wrong, McClane forces him at gunpoint to fire the launcher, which blows Gruber to bits. This ending is in the novelization, only McClane fools Gruber into thinking the tube like launcher is pointed at McClane. Gruber guesses the trick question and shoots himself.
*"": The Average Joes lose the game when White Goodman hits Peter with the ball. According to the DVD commentary, this was the writer's original intention for the movie, but the studio insisted it be changed - hence the "real" ending - when test audiences reacted poorly to the unhappy ending. (The antagonist references this right at the end of the movie, by mocking the audience for wanting a happy ending and saying, "You happy now?")
*"Fatal Attraction": Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) was originally scripted to commit suicide at the end of the movie and make it look like Dan (Michael Douglas) had murdered her, in which he was arrested. Test audiences did not respond well to this finale, mainly due to a lack of revenge from Beth and the family. Especially when Beth tells Alex "If you come near my family again I'll kill you". This resulted in a three week re-shoot for the action-filled sequence in the bathroom and Alex's death by shooting. The fact that Beth shoots Alex makes a direct comparison between the two characters, Alex being a victim, and Beth taking control to protect her family.
*"Final Destination": Alex is killed when he grabs the downed power line to save Clear, ending Death's pattern. In the final scene it turns out that Clear is pregnant with Alex's baby.
*"Final Destination 3": The movie ends with the second train bearing down on Wendy, instead of it being a vision.
*"First Blood": In an alternate ending, Rambo doesn't want to be arrested so when he is speaking with Col. Samuel Trautman, he asks him to shoot him. The Colonel does so and leaves.
*"I Know What You Did Last Summer": In the alternate ending, Julie receives an invite to a pool party and read an email that reads "I still know". This scene was used in the trailer for the film.
*"Little Shop of Horrors": In one of the most famous changed endings, the original conclusion to the off-Broadway musical was filmed and preferred by Frank Oz the director and the majority of the actors. However, test audiences disliked how Audrey and Seymour, the main protagonists, were both killed by the evil alien plant, and the ending had to be re-shot so that their deaths were removed.
*"Super Troopers": Another ending was filmed that starts the same way as the real ending; by the police station being closed down. This time, the former officers are now working in a meat packing plant. They talk to their boss saying that bad meat should not be sent out for people to buy, and the boss says to do it any way. At this point the officers take off their jacket to reveal that they are now local police officers and chase him through out the meat packing plant.
*"Titanic": Old Rose is seen by her granddaughter dropping the diamond into the ocean.
*"I Am Legend": The "Vampire Woman" that Robert Neville captures in order to run a "cure" test becomes the key to his survival in the end. As the "Alpha Vampire" begins to break into the lab area, he stops, and Robert Neville suddenly realizes that all they want is the "Vampire Woman" back. So Robert Neville rolls her out of the lab and awakens her out of her medicated state, and the "Alpha Monster" picks her up and takes her away, leaving Neville alive after his ordeal.
*"The Simpsons Movie": The alternate ending in this is advertised as a "slightly" altered ending, as the only difference is that a dog house is also seen being built along side the Simpsons house.
*"": The alternate ending shows Sarah Connor alive and well on August 29, 2029. She is by then a grandmother (and John Connor is a Senator) in a world where Skynet was never able to start its war on humanity.
*"Rocky Balboa": Rocky defeats Mason "The Line" Dixon by split decision. In the actual movie, it is reversed.

Examples in television

In TV shows, producers may want to keep the ending of an episode a secret, even if it means keeping it from the stars themselves. In such a case, they will usually film more than one ending and not tell the cast which one will be used.

*24: To keep the ending to Season 1 a surprise, the crew shot multiple endings to the finale (Teri's death was the one they aired). A second ending had Teri live through the gunshot, and a third had her not being shot at all, with the family embracing each other after the long day was over.
*Green Wing: In the final Special, Guy and Mac are dragged into the air in an attempt to rescue Caroline, who has been dragged into the air by holding too many helium balloons. Whilst in the air, Mac tells Caroline he has something to tell her. After walking into the sea, Alan and Joanna are last seen hanging onto a buoy, waiting to drown. The actors wanted to use this ending but it was turned down. It was thought that this ending would have been used if a third series was being made.
*Sex and the City: In the series finale three endings were shot, in which Carrie Bradshaw: (1) becomes engaged to Aleksandr Petrovsky, (2) resumes her relationship with Mr. Big, and (3) turns down both suitors and reaffirms her love for her friends.
* The Simpsons: In the two part episode Who Shot Mr. Burns? there was an alternate ending where it was revealed that the shooter of Mr. Burns was Waylon Smithers rather than Maggie Simpson.
*Lost: At the end of Season 4, the audience learns that one of the main characters will die in the future. To keep the identity of this person a secret, three different versions of the final scene were shot. The canonical ending shows that Locke will die, while the alternate endings had Sawyer and Desmond die.

ee also

* Deleted scene
* Multiple endings

Links

[http://howitshouldhaveended.com/ How It Should Have Ended Website] : A humorous take on various movie alternate endings, in animated style.


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