Unseen Endings: 40 Films That Almost Had Different Conclusions

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1 Dark Alternate Lion King

Dark Alternate Lion King

There is an alternate ending to “The Lion King” where Scar defeats Simba by throwing him off Pride Rock to his apparent death. Scar stands there, laughing manically, as a fire consumes him, resulting in his death. However, this ending was considered “too dark” for a Disney film.

2. The first-ever 3D movie was “The Power Of Love,” a silent film released in 1922. It was also the first film to offer an alternative ending. Viewers could choose between the happy and sad endings (both shot in 2D) by closing one eye or the other.

3. An alternate, unused ending of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” was shot, in which R.J. Macready escapes to another research station and takes a blood test to prove his humanity.

4. The movie “I Am Legend” features an alternate ending in which Will Smith’s character doesn’t die after discovering that the mutants have been pursuing him because he has been experimenting on the alpha male’s wife.

5. The original ending of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” involved Clark breaking into Roy Wally’s Beverly Hills mansion and holding him hostage, forcing him to sing and dance. However, test audiences strongly disliked this ending, leading to the decision to reshoot the entire ending.

6 Rambo’s Revised Conclusion

Rambo's Revised Conclusion

The original ending for “First Blood” had Rambo killing himself, but Sylvester Stallone requested a change because he believed the character had suffered enough.

7. The original ending of “Pretty in Pink” had Molly Ringwald rejecting Andrew McCarthy to dance with Jon Cryer to David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Test audiences reacted negatively to this outcome, leading John Hughes to reshoot the ending, resulting in Ringwald and McCarthy getting back together.

8. The Princess Bride had an alternate ending with Fred Savage looking out of his window and seeing the four heroes on horseback. However, due to Andre the Giant’s weight, a cable system had to be set up for him. On the shooting day, Andre showed up drunk, requiring workers to lift the intoxicated giant onto the horse.

9. In the original Japanese version of Spirited Away, all of Chihiro’s character development is lost in the end as she forgets her adventure in the Spirit World upon returning to Earth.

10. In the original ending of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Padme embraces Anakin but secretly holds a knife with the intention of killing him.

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11 Dr. Strangelove’s Cut Pie Fight

Dr. Strangelove's Cut Pie Fight

The original ending of the movie Dr. Strangelove involved a pie fight between the Americans and the Russians in the War Room. Although the scene was filmed, it was ultimately cut from the final version.

12. The original ending of Alien had the alien biting off Ripley’s head in the escape pod and then sending a message to Earth using Ripley’s voice. However, this ending was considered too dark by Fox, and Ridley Scott had to rewrite it.

13. George Lucas considered an alternative ending for Return of the Jedi in which Luke turns to the dark side. He would have donned Vader’s mask and proclaimed, “Now I am Vader. Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet, and I will rule the universe.”

14. The original ending of Snake Eyes (1998) featured a costly CGI sequence in which a tidal wave destroyed the Atlantic City boardwalk. However, test audiences reacted negatively to it. The director defended the original ending, stating, “When dealing with corruption, you need God to come down and blow it all away.”

15. The original ending of Back to the Future had Marty driving at 88 mph toward a nuclear blast at a test site. However, due to cost constraints, Universal deemed it too expensive to shoot in the desert. Instead, the lightning scene was filmed on the Universal backlot and is shown in the final version.

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16 Rocky V’s Abandoned Death

Rocky V's Abandoned Death

In the original ending of Rocky V, Rocky was supposed to die in a final in-ring fight against his protégé Tommy Gunn. However, the studio executives rejected the idea. Director John Avildsen remarked, “So Rocky didn’t die, but the movie died because that was the point of the movie.”

17. There was an alternate ending to the original Independence Day that featured Casse flying a red biplane with a missile attached to it. However, this ending was scrapped as it was deemed “not believable.”

18. The original ending of the 2014 movie Birdman was intended to mirror the beginning, but with Johnny Depp in the dressing room where Michael Keaton’s character started and Captain Jack Sparrow’s voice speaking to him. This concept was eventually dropped, and the final version differed.

19. The original ending of Men in Black II was set on the World Trade Center but had to be re-filmed following the events of September 11th, 2001.

20. The original ending of “Romeo Must Die” featured Jet Li kissing Aaliyah but was re-filmed to depict them sharing a “tight hug.” This change was made because “Mainstream America, for the most part, gets uncomfortable with seeing an Asian man portrayed in a sexual light.”

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21 Dodgeball’s Revamped Conclusion

Dodgeball's Revamped Conclusion

The movie “Dodgeball” (2004) had an alternate ending where Average Joe’s gym loses, abruptly ending the movie. However, this was changed due to negative reactions from test audiences.

22. The original ending of the 2018 film “Halloween” featured Jamie Lee Curtis’ character and Michael Myers battling outside the house. However, test audience reception was negative, leading to a reshoot with the burning house scene instead.

23. Die Hard With A Vengeance has an alternate ending in which Simon and McClane engage in a Russian Roulette round with a rocket launcher.

24. In the original ending of the movie Labyrinth, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) punches Jareth (David Bowie), causing him to transform into a small, whining goblin.

25. The Butterfly Effect (2004) had an alternate ending in which Evan (Ashton Kutcher) goes back to his birth and commits suicide using his umbilical cord.

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