End scenes in movies are more than just a casual farewell. Aside from tying up all the loose ends, they help bring things into perspective and they leave a lasting impression of the entire film. Whether this means a perfect, fairy-tale ending, a thought-provoking cliffhanger or a last-minute plot-twist, these last moments can literally make or break a movie. So honestly, it comes as no surprise that some of the most popular films originally had two or more endings.
We can't even imagine how challenging it is for directors to deliver an end scene that's not too cheesy and predictable, yet memorable enough to leave audiences satisfied. But whenever they're tasked with choosing from multiple versions, the final decision often depends on the feedback from test audiences. For instance, did you know that those who got to see an early version of Pretty in Pink apparently didn't like the idea of Duckie and Andie ending up together at the end??? We still find this hard to believe! But that's just one of several examples where alternate endings could've made the movies a lot better.
New Line Cinema
The theatrical ending: In a sad twist, Evan travels back for the last time to the day when he met his childhood friend, Kayleigh. This time, instead of befriending her, he intentionally pushes her away so that she and her brother are spared from being raised by their troubled father, who was his neighbor. When he returns to the present day, he notices that Kayleigh and Tommy are both happier and living successful lives without him, which puts him at ease. After testing his college roommate to make sure that things are good, he destroys his videos and journals to avoid time-traveling again.
The alternate ending: Evan is suffering from extreme brain damage and about to go to a psychiatric ward, but before he loses all access to time-traveling, he manages to go back one final time when he sees a family film from before he was even born. As he returns to his mom's womb, he strangles himself with his umbilical cord to stop the generational curse of time-travel. After this, we also see that Evan's childhood friends went on to live better lives without him. Yes, it's more depressing, but an ending like this would've been mind-blowing because it suggests that history is actually repeating itself. Remember how Evan's mom had multiple miscarriages before Evan was finally born?? Well, what if those were previous kids who did the exact same thing that Evan did???
Walt Disney StudiosMotion Pictures
The theatrical ending: Star Lord and his team have saved the day and he gets his ship back. We're also treated to an awesome "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" montage that includes all the main characters, and we see that Quill has finally opened the last gift he got from his mom. It turns out to be a cassette tape with her favorite songs.
The alternate ending: A few characters, including Nebula, the Collector and Grandpa Quill, were omitted from this version because the director wanted to keep the ending positive. However, keeping Quill's grandad would've made for a much more poignant ending.
James Gunn explained: "It was Grandpa Quill and he has this photograph of Meredith and Peter as a little boy and he looks up at the stars and we go up to the stars and it was really sweet. It means that he must have seen Quill getting abducted at the end of that day and is still waiting for him to return but it was freaking sad so we took it out."
20th Century Fox
The theatrical ending: As Die Hard fans would expect, John McClane saves the day. Just when it seems like Simon and his girlfriend are about to escape by helicopter, John uses his revolver to shoot a power line, which actually falls onto the helicopter and causes it to crash, killing Both Simon and Katya.
The alternate ending: Simon escapes and John becomes the scapegoat for all that went wrong. He loses his job at the NYPD and even gets his pension taken away. But in time, he tracks down Simon on his own in a foreign country. There, he talks Simon into playing a game of Russian roulette and Simon is killed by the end. Not only is this end more entertaining, but it shows a much darker side of John that would've made his character way more complex.
The theatrical ending: After a dying Drake disguises himself as Blade, the FBI declares "Blade" legally dead. Hannibal lets us know that the real Blade, however, survived the virus because the human half of his heart never stopped beating. After spending some time in a comatose state, Blade was able to fully recover and continue fighting vampires.
The alternate ending: This time, the true Blade is shown waking up in the hospital after his battle with Drake, but he begins to attack the doctors around him. After this, he gets up and starts to pursue a terrified nurse, but before we can see what happens next, the camera cuts to black. This suggests that Drake was right about Blade eventually giving in to his thirst for blood. Such an ambiguous ending could've turned the entire trilogy on its head.
The theatrical ending: After the defeat of the Empire, there's a victory party on Endor. Leia shares a romantic kiss with Han after revealing that Luke is her brother and Luke cremates Anakin's body. At the very end though, Luke notices the spirits of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and a younger Anakin smiling at him.
The alternate ending: This version is much darker, but it would've been more fitting, considering the film's darker themes, and much more emotional. The film's producer, Gary Kurtz, explained: "The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base." So by the end, there'd be no happy celebration. The rebel forces would be in ruins and Leia would struggle to take on her new responsibilities as queen. As for Luke, he'd walk off into the sunset "like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns," according to Gary.
The theatrical ending: To be fair, this end scene was pretty terrifying. The possessed Katie gets out of bed and goes downstairs. There, she lets out a scream, which causes Micah to rush downstairs to help her, but then we hear Micah yell in pain and Katie goes silent. We hear heavy footsteps coming back up the stairs and suddenly, Micah's dead body it hurled right at the camera. Katie walks into the room with blood stains on her, then abruptly rushes toward the camera as if to attack the viewer. Her face appears like a demon's before it cuts to black.
The alternate ending: Katie still kills Micah, but then she returns to their room alone and sits against the bed with the knife still in her hand, rocking back and forth for two days straight. Her friend Amber calls and leaves a message about being concerned because she hasn't heard from Katie or Micah. When Amber comes to the house, her scream can be heard after noticing Micah's body. The spirit possessing Katie goes and scares her off, then returns to Katie and continues rocking. But when the police arrive shortly after, one of them shoots and kills Katie. This sounds far more terrifying because there's no telling what Katie would've done next...
The theatrical ending:After Audrey II lures Audrey to the shop and attempts to eat her, Seymour comes to her rescue and they both manage to escape. When Seymour returns, however, he discovers that his blood-thirsty plant is actually an alien. Audrey II destroys the shop and traps Seymour, but then he grabs an electrical cable and manages to kill the creature by electrocuting it. After this, Seymour and Audrey reunite and they soon get married. They also move to their new home in the suburbs and live happily ever after.
The alternate ending: Well, a part of us can see why test audiences weren't too comfortable with this version. Instead of getting their happy ending, both Seymour and Audrey are killed by Audrey II. Audrey willingly sacrifices herself to be fed to the plant so that Seymour can gain success. Meanwhile, a hopeless and depressed Seymour almost commits suicide until he realizes he must try to stop Audrey II from growing more powerful and taking over the world. Sadly, he fails at this and is eaten alive when he confronts Audrey II. We then see that in the future, Audrey II and an entire army of blood-thirsty monster plants have taken over the world and are eating people. It's far darker, but it stays true to the original off-Broadway musical and it seems more fitting for the genre.
The theatrical ending: While Beth tries to prepare her bath, Alex shows up with a knife and tries to attack her. When Dan hears them struggling, he rushes in wrestles with Alex himself. He seems to have drowned her in the bathtub, but then Alex emerges again and swings her knife. Beth suddenly grabs Dan's gun and shoots Alex in the chest. When the police arrive, Dan gives his statement and then reunites with his wife, where it seems like all is well despite his infidelity.
The alternate ending: In the original script, Alex was supposed to commit suicide and frame Dan for the murder. She winds up using the same knife that Dan held to slit her own throat. But soon after Dan is taken by the police, Beth is able to clear his name when she finds a recording of Alex threatening to kill herself. This ending does a much better job of highlighting how disturbed Alex truly was, and Dan doesn't necessarily get off scot-free (which is a plus in our book).
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The theatrical ending: Twenty-eight days after Jim, Selena, and Hannah escape from the fortified mansion, Jim is alive and still recovering from his gunshot wound at a remote cottage. Meanwhile, Selena is busy sewing when Hannah shows up and reveals that she heard something. The two ladies and Jim all rush outside to unfold a giant cloth banner onto the meadow that says "HELLO." A Finnish pilot soon comes into view, which suggests that the three are rescued.
The alternate ending: There were three alternative endings and Jim was supposed to die in every single one. But the version that would've truly brought Jim's story full circle was the one where Selena and Hannah took him to a hospital after he got shot at the mansion. He dies and then, shortly after, the girls simply leave him there alone — much like how the movie began when he woke up from his coma. But test audiences found this ending to be too bleak.
The theatrical ending: After Roy delivers his famous monologue, Gaff shows up and tells Deckard it's too bad that Rachael won't live. But when Deckard goes to his apartment and escapes with Rachael, he informs the audience through a voice-over that Gaff was wrong because Rachael doesn't have the four-year lifespan limit like other Replicants do. This suggests that he and Rachael got their happily ever after and confirms that Deckard was definitely NOT a Replicant.
The alternate ending: This version is quite different because it also refers to an additional scene that was edited out. There was supposed to be a dream sequence where Deckard sees a unicorn running through a forest. And by the end, before he and Rachael drive off together, Deckard spots an origami unicorn in his room. This would've implied that Gaff knew all about Deckard's dreams because they were artificial, which would mean that he's a Replicant like Rachael. It's the version that still has people debating to this day about whether or not Deckard is truly human, and that says a lot.
The theatrical ending: After learning that humans from the future have created the black hole and Tesseract in order to help him time-travel and save the human race, Cooper sends important data to his daughter, who then uses it to actually save mankind. Cooper survives the Tesseract collapse and wakes up in a space station that orbits Saturn. He's able to return to Earth and reconnect with his daughter, who is an elderly woman at this point.
The alternate ending: The director's brother, Jonathan Nolan, originally wanted the film to end with Cooper sacrificing his life to save humanity. But according to him, his brother was concerned that there would be too much science for people to digest all at once. Jonathan explained he originally "had the Einstein-Rosen bridge [colloquially, a wormhole] collapse when Cooper tries to send the data back." In other words, it's uncertain whether the data was sent back in time and there's clearly no happy reunion for Cooper and his daughter. As sad as this would've been, Cooper's heroic death would've made for a much more powerful ending, IOHO.
The theatrical ending: As Sam and Vincent are having a conversation at the bistro, there's a radio announcement about a peace agreement between Sinn Féin and the British government. As the time passes, they realize that Deirdre, who was supposed to show up, isn't coming. So Sam just leaves without even getting a chance to pursue a real relationship with her.
The alternate ending: This time, the viewers are able to see that Deidre is actually right outside the bistro and hesitating to go in. But after waiting for a few moments, she changes her mind and goes back to her car. At this point, a van pulls up next to her and she's abducted by a group of armed men (most likely from the IRA). It's implied that she doesn't survive. Meanwhile, just a couple of feet away, an oblivious Sam and Vincent continue their conversation and eventually leave. This would've worked so perfectly with the action thriller and offered a bit more closure, but apparently, test audiences really didn't want to see Deirdre die, so they left her future more unclear.
Warner Bros. Pictures
The theatrical ending: The ending is rather tame, but Leena, who's already been revealed to be a 33-year-old woman with hypopituitarism, pursues Kate and Max by the frozen pond. When Max tries to shoot Leena, he ends up breaking the ice, causing both Leena and Kate to fall into the water. Kate desperately tries to climb out as Leena clings to her legs, begging her to not let her die and calling her "mommy." But Kate replies that she's not her mom and angrily kicks Leena in the face, which causes her neck to break. As Leena sinks, Kate and Max safely make it to the police.
The alternate ending: Kate grabs both of their children and they manage to escape from their home while a very alive Leena (aka Esther) is left behind. By the time police officers get to the house, Leena has already reverted back to her younger persona and she fools the officers into thinking that she's a sweet little girl. It's way more disturbing than the theatrical version and it doesn't offer much closure, but it still feels so much more fitting.
The theatrical ending: We see that Mike survives the fire and he finally reunites with his estranged wife. Understandably, she's skeptical of his stories about the bizarre things that happened in room 1408. But when she suggests that he toss his few rescued items, he retrieves his small recorder and talks about getting rid of bad memories. He then plays his recorder and they hear their deceased daughter's voice, which actually confirms his story about what happened.
The alternate ending: Technically, there are three alternate endings, although none of them match Stephen King's original ending. The best one would have to be the director's cut, which is way spookier. In this version, Mike dies in the fire and his wife, Lily, refuses to take Mike's remaining possessions, meaning she never discovers the truth about what happened. The hotel manager confirms that the room has been destroyed and it will no longer hurt people. And at the very end, we see the ghost of Mike reuniting with his daughter.
The theatrical ending: Right after Blane confronts Steff, he goes to Duckie and Andie, who are about to dance. He shakes Duckie's hand and then offers Andie a sincere apology, saying that he believes in her and that he will always love her. He then kisses her on the cheek and he leaves. But Duckie actually encourages Andie to go after him, which she does. The two share a romantic kiss in the parking lot after Andie catches up with him. Meanwhile, Duckie moves on to another cute girl who asks him to dance.
The alternate ending: We're so sad that this got changed, but in this case, Andie picks Duckie over Blane. It would've made so much more sense, considering how Duckie always felt about his BFF. But apparently, it's not what test audiences wanted. The director, Howard Deutch, said: "The ending didn’t work in the test screening… That shocked everyone because the architecture of the story was that love endures and overcomes everything. The girls in the test screening didn't go for that. They didn’t care about the politics; they wanted her to get the cute boy. And that was it. So we had to reshoot the ending." UGH.
The theatrical ending: When Chris hits Georgina with his car, he attempts to help her afterward, not knowing that she's actually possessed by Rose's grandmother. In the car, "Georgina" attacks him, which causes him to crash it. She dies, but then Chris has to deal with Rose and "Walter" (technically Roman), who both try to pursue him. Chris uses his phone's flash to wake up the real Walter, who shoots Rose and then shoots himself. Right after Chris attempts to strangle Rose, his friend Rod shows up in a police car and rescues him.
The alternate ending: We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when Rod came to Chris's rescue, but that's definitely not what happens in this version. The actual police show up in that cop car and they arrest Chris for the murders. Meanwhile, Rod visits him later in jail and attempts to help him out by offering to investigate the Armitage family. But Chris keeps insisting that he already stopped them and that everything is fine. Though it's a lot darker than the original ending, it feels like a more accurate reflection of racism in the real world. Jordan Peele even said as much, but he explained that after he did the test screenings, audiences needed to see a hero that "gives us an escape."
The theatrical ending: When Bourne sees Marie renting out scooters to tourists, he approaches her and the two reunite with a simple, quiet embrace.
The alternate ending: The scene is almost exactly the same, except this time, they head towards each other and share a passionate kiss as they embrace. Even better, there's a beautiful sunset that comes into view in the background and suddenly it feels like we're watching a telenovela. Yes, we'll admit that this would've been totally cliché, but we're huge suckers for romance and a scene like this would've honestly made our hearts burst.