When we consider a movie to be "one of the greats" it's because it grabs us from start to finish. Can you imagine the ending of The Departed, or Fight Club, or The Shawshank Redemption in any other way? How filmmakers choose to end their films can often make or break our experience. After all, the ending is the last thing we see of the movie and it dictates in many ways how we feel about the film afterwards. When a movie ends just right though, it becomes memorable to the point that we couldn't imagine it happening any other way. But, as it turns out, the filmmakers could. And they even created ideas for endings that were ultimately, and often mercifully, scrapped.
Check out 7 of these alternate endings below!
Kevin Smith's iconic '90s slacker hit Clerks almost ended with Dante's Greek Tragedy-style death after being shot by a thief. Apparently, Smith just didn't know how to end the movie, but Brian O’Halloran (who plays Dante) was vocal enough about his dislike for the scene that Smith agreed to change it. It's great that it didn't happen on a variety of levels, but for sure one of them is that we wouldn't be seeing talks of an impending Clerks III.
2. The Lion King
Can you even imagine a Disney movie without a happy ending? Apparently the creators could, and for one hot second even thought of making it a reality. Although this alternate ending only made it to storyboard form, this is some seriously dark stuff!
In this ending, Scar actually kills Simba by throwing him off Pride Rock and into the flames before being consumed by the fire himself - all while laughing maniacally, of course. I guess it's the circle of life, but c'mon, it's Disney!
3. Die Hard 3: With a Vengeance
Rocket Russian Roulette, does anything more need to be said? This particular ending actually would have been awesome, but it's hard to beat exploding helicopters. And of course Bruce Willis keeps it real with the obligatory "yippee ki yay motherfucker." Badass.
4. Red State
Due to budgetary constraints, Kevin Smith wasn't able to recreate his vision of the actual Apocalypse for Red State (although that would have been awesome). But luckily for us, Entertainment Weekly made an animated version of it, complete with exploding heads, a murderous Angel, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Oh, what could have been!
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Yup, after an entire film of fighting evil exes for Ramona's affection, Scott Pilgrim almost ended up with his high-school girlfriend, Knives Chau.
This actually almost happened, but aren't we glad it didn't? When the elderly Rose is spotted perched on the railings of the ship, the crew comes running down, thinking they'll prevent her from jumping. They find her there with the Heart of the Ocean and try to convince her not to throw it in. She makes a speech about physical things not being important, and tosses it overboard, after which Brock Lovett understands her point and laughs with the freedom of knowing material objects don't matter. Yeah...what?
7. The Butterfly Effect
There are actually a few alternate endings to The Butterfly Effect, but the first two are pretty similar in that they both feature Evan encountering Kayleigh on the street in New York. In one he turns around and begins to follow her, and in the other they actually end up exchanging some words. Check them both out here in a clip that youtube user alexsugar8888 has aptly titled "Stalker Ending" and "Happy Sappy Ending," respectively.
But by far the weirdest and most disturbing alternate ending is the director's cut (see above), which features Evan going back to the point of his birth and strangling himself with his own umbilical chord. Yikes.