The endings of movies are often hotly debated topics amongst fans – they are, after all, arguably the most important parts of any given story. How any given movie concludes can make or break the entire viewing experience for an audience. If it ends satisfactorily, it can make an otherwise average movie great, but if it ends poorly, it can make a potentially great movie terrible.
The people behind movies know this, and as a result, often come up with – and even film – more than one possible ending. Not only does this give them a chance to decide at the very last minute how the final version of a movie will end, it also gives them the opportunity to appease fans who are unhappy with the final version by including alternative versions of the ending on the DVD and/or Blu-ray releases.
With that in mind, and to understand exactly what this can entail, we’ve come up with a list of some of the most interesting alternative endings that have been conceived and filmed by movie-makers. Here are ten incredible alternate endings to popular movies.
10. Werewolves (Blade: Trinity)
At the end of 2004’s Blade: Trinity, after Blade has defeated Drake in battle, Drake offers Blade a parting gift as he dies. At this point, the movie splits into two possible endings.
The theatrical release sees the FBI taking what they think is Blade’s body into custody, but Drake’s gift is revealed as “Blade” reverts to Drake in the morgue, while Blade is alive and evading capture elsewhere. However, another version of the movie sees the Daystar virus killing all vampires around the world, leaving Blade’s allies – the Nightstalkers – to combat a new threat. That new threat is werewolves, as the video above shows.
9. The Biplane Ending (Independence Day)
In 1996’s Independence Day, Randy Quaid’s Russell Casse saves the day. After being recruited to fly an F-18 in the battle against the aliens, he prepares to land the final blow with a missile, but it jams and he’s forced to kamikaze into the alien’s ship to defeat them. However, the ending was originally meant to be quite different.
One version of the movie saw Casse rejected as a combat pilot due to being drunk, but he turned up to the battle in his crop-dusting biplane and kamikazes into the aliens instead. However, the movie-makers thought the scene lacked believability, as seeing the biplane flying alongside F-18s didn’t look right. n the final version, though, audiences got to see Casse making the decision to sacrifice himself, rather than just turning up on a suicide mission, which made the actual ending more emotional.
8. Rambo Kills Himself (First Blood)
1982’s First Blood was the original Rambo movie. Sylvester Stallone portrayed the Vietnam War hero who was struggling to adjust to civilian life after his experiences in battle. He was inadvertently pursued by the authorities, as he was seen as a danger and a nuisance, but the movie ended when he surrendered after suffering a post-traumatic stress disorder-related breakdown. Due to that episode, there have been three more movies since (and there’s supposedly another on the way).
However, an alternate ending was filmed in which Rambo couldn’t take the PTSD any more and tried to get Colonel Sam Trautman – the only man who understood what he’d been through – to end his life. When Trautman wouldn’t do it, Rambo killed himself.
7. Jim Dies (28 Days Later)
The 2000 movie 28 Days Later mostly follows Cillian Murphy’s bicycle courier Jim (after he awakens from a coma in St Thomas’ Hospital in London) in a world in which rage-infected zombie-like humans are running rampant. It is, therefore, satisfying when he survives the movie – in spite of him having been shot – as the audience had developed a bond with him.
An alternative ending of the movie sees Jim die from his injuries, with his companions Hannah and Selena failing to revive him in hospital, forced to leave his lifeless body there and ventured back out into the dangerous world without him.
6. Peter Parker Meets His Father (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Both of the Amazing Spider-Man movies invested a lot of time in Peter Parker’s search for secrets regarding his supposedly deceased parents – particularly his father. The Parkers had apparently been killed years before the events of the movies in an assassination aboard an airplane. Peter wanted to know everything he could about their deaths, and although he found out quite a lot about them, they remained dead as far as the narrative was concerned.
However, in an alternate ending from 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter’s father Richard approached him as he was visiting Gwen Stacy’s grave. It’s an extremely emotional scene and would have been a great culmination to the events in the two movies. It would have also been great to see the pair fighting evil together, had a third movie been made.
5. Humanity Is Saved (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)
1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day ended quite ambiguously. Although the T-800, Sarah Connor and John Connor defeated the T-1000, ending the movie with Sarah looking to the future with hope, the audience still didn’t know what would ultimately happen with regards to Judgement Day.
An alternate ending shows an elderly and happy Sarah in the year 2027, watching an adult John (now a U.S. Senator) playing with his daughter (who is, of course, Sarah’s granddaughter). Judgement Day never happened in this ending, and had it been the actual ending of the film, the Terminator franchise would have essentially finished with this movie.
4. The Watery Hand (Freddy Vs. Jason)
This ending to 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason is a little different to the others on the list, as it was never actually filmed, but it is so obscenely ridiculously that it simply had to be included.
In the final version of the movie (which was utterly terrible, but quite popular nonetheless), the two slasher-killers fought a gory battle before Jason emerged from Crystal Lake holding Freddy’s severed head.
A conceived idea for an alternate ending had a catastrophic event draining Crystal Lake of water and a giant CGI watery-hand dragging Freddy and Jason down into hell, where they would perpetually fight as gladiators – surrounded by onlooking crowds of demons – for eternity.
3. Robert Neville Survives (I Am Legend)
2007’s I Am Legend ended when Dr. Robert Neville sacrificed himself in order to kill a load of Darkseekers who had cornered him and his fellow survivors (Anna and Ethan) in a basement, after ensuring the other two were safe by hiding them in a coal chute while he detonated a grenade.
However, an alternate ending had Neville being approached by the alpha male Darkseeker, who drew a butterfly on the bulletproof glass Neville was hiding behind, which represented a tattoo on the female Darkseeker he wanted returned to him. Neville handed the female over to the alpha male, who subsequently departed the building with his underlings, leaving Neville, Anna and Ethan to depart to the safety of a survivor camp in Vermont.
2. Mr. Han Vs Master Li (The Karate Kid)
The 2010 reboot of The Karate Kid saw Jaden Smith’s Dre Parker winning against an open kung-fu student after being trained by Jackie Chan’s Mr. Han. At the end of the move, that alone was enough for the students of his trainer’s rival – Master Li – to bow to Mr. Han and accept him as their new trainer.
However, an alternate ending to the movie that was filmed saw Master Li’s anger at his student losing to Dre Parker, who got the better of him. He attacked Mr. Han and subsequently lost in what was an impressively choreographed fight sequence, giving Master Li’s students even more reason to see Mr. Han as superior.
1. Morbius Appears (Blade)
Let’s bookend this list with Blade entries. In the first movie – 1998’s Blade – the final scenes see Blade injecting Deacon Frost with the anticoagulant EDTA, which causes the villain to explode. Blade is then offered the chance to be cured of his vampirism by Dr. Karen Jenson, but he refuses and heads to Europe to continue his fight against vampires in Russia.
In an alternate ending, Frost’s transformation into the Blood God La Magra is far more ridiculous than in the released version, as he becomes a huge tornado of blood, forcing Blade to release the EDTA into the blood tornado to take him down. Moreover, the comic book villain Morbius (who also goes up against Spider-Man in the comics) appears on a rooftop, staring at Blade, indicating that Marvel and New Line had him in mind to be the villain in Blade II before choosing Luke Goss as Jared Nomak instead.