The alternate ending may or may not have been bleaker than the one that got approved in the end.
A movie is only as good as its final scene. Whether it is to set the story up for a potential sequel or leave the audience at the edge of their seats and carry the story with them even after the movie has ended, the ending plays a huge role. There are some iconic ending scenes that have gone down in history for their shocking plot twist or for just being shocking. But during the development of the movie, the writers may have had an alternate ending that may or may not have been bleaker than the one that got approved in the end.
Here are some movies that actually had a very different ending originally: (Warning, spoilers ahead.)
The 1994 Disney movie had us all in tears as Scar pushed Simba's father, Mufasa off a cliff to be trampled to death. Simba's helpless cries can still bring tears to our eyes. This violent act was vindicated in the ending of the film as Simba throws his murderous uncle over the edge to be attacked by the hyenas. But originally, the script was darker. In it, Scar pushed Simba off Pride Rock just as he did with his father. But then Simba manages to survive and gets his revenge by pushing Scar into the flames. Although it's a bit similar, and being hunted by hyenas is still disturbing, the original ending would have Scar laughing maniacally as he burnt to death.
The original ending of the iconic film starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman was supposed to be obscure. The original ending saw Red (Freeman) board a bus to his ending narration, looking out into the horizon as the bus pulled off down the road to an uncertain future just as it ended in Stephen King's novel. But production had the director of the film Frank Darabont, shoot an alternative ending where the two former prisoners reunited. Although Darabont was hesitant at first, he relented after being convinced an uplifting reunion was in order.
This 1987 erotic psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer has a memorable ending that we may all know well enough. Alex (Close) is an obsessive lover who becomes a killer. She comes back from being drowned so that Dan’s (Douglas) wife can shoot her to death. It’s a dramatic ending indeed. Originally, Alex frames her ex-lover Dan for murder before committing suicide. This version was even retained in the Japanese version of the movie's release.
This epic comedy horror film starring Campbell and Embeth Davidtz was the third installment in the Evil Dead franchise. It follows Ash Williams (Campbell) as he is trapped in the Middle Ages and battles the undead in his quest to return to the present. Originally, it was supposed to end with Ash oversleeping after consuming too much potion and he wakes up to find himself in a post-apocalyptic England. The film concluded as his laughter filled a black-out screen as the credits rolled in. But the production team thought it was too bleak and the ending we see is Ash waking up on time and going back to work at the S-Mart, where he takes on another deadite.
This psychological horror movie follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man who uncovers shocking secrets when he meets the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Originally, the create and director of the film Jordon Peele wanted to end the movie on a grave note where the cops turn up at the end and Chris gets locked up and taken away for slaughtering an entire family of White people. But Peele changed it due to the political climate at the time and made Chris a hero and a sign of hope instead of a villain as originally planned.
This romantic action comedy film was adapted from the comics of the same name by Edgar Wright. Originally, after the fight, Scott (Micheal Cera) jumps off the stage to confront Gideon (Jason Schwartzman) but is intercepted by Knives (Ellen Wong). The scene plays out the same as the finalized version of the film till the very end of the clip as per IndieWire. Scott walks away, leaving Knives by herself in the crowd. Another change was Scott ends up with Knives instead of Ramona. No one, including Wong, liked this ending as she felt that her character shouldn’t get back together with someone who cheated on her. In the final version, Scott ends up with Ramona after a tough fight with Gideon making for a happy ending.
The legendary space drama series of movies apparently had a very unsettling ending originally. In this version of George Lucas' conclusion, after Darth Vader's death, Luke picks up the helmet and place it on his own head. He then says, "Now I am Vader. Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe." But he changed this dark plot twist in the interest of the film's younger audience.
This sci-fi horror film became iconic for its most memorable surprise deaths. “Basically what had happened was that the audience felt so deeply that the scientist character [Dr. Susan McCallister played by Saffron Burrows], the woman who was behind the whole experiment with the sharks, that it was all her fault,” director Renny Harlin stated. “In their minds, she was the bad guy and in our minds, she was the heroine and we thought saving her was the key. Basically, we had test cards that said, ‘Kill the b****.'” And the audience's wish was their command. They quickly saved the ending by reshooting the ending where Susan falls into the water and does not survive.