10 Alternate Movie Endings That Thankfully Didn’t Happen


    • Some movies had near-miss alternate endings that would have ruined everything that came before. Thankfully, these bad ideas were not pursued.
    • While it is intriguing to think about how different endings would have impacted the movies, it is good that the sensible option prevailed.
    • Alternate endings, such as Rose throwing the Heart of the Ocean into the sea in Titanic or Chris being sent to prison in Get Out, would have been tonally wrong or frustrating for audiences.

    Some movies with good endings could have gone a different way, maybe even in such a ridiculous direction that they’d have ruined everything that came before, and thankfully, those alternate ideas did not happen. When one hears about some near-misses with movie endings, it’s a wonder what the writers were thinking. Sure, drafting various possibilities is a natural part of the creative process, but some bad ideas just shouldn’t even be shared with the public.

    However, hearing about those potential alternate endings does raise some curiosity. How would such different endings have impacted the critical reception, fan opinion, box office grosses, and the careers of those involved with these movies? Despite the disbelief and intrigue, though, it’s good to know the sensible option prevailed, and these movies ended like they did in the real world.

    Related: 10 Movies Where The Alternate Ending Is Better Than The Original

    10 Titanic (1997)

    Alternate Ending: Rose Throws The Heart Of The Ocean Into The Sea


    Release Date
    December 19, 1997

    David Warner, Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gloria Stuart, Frances Fisher, Victor Garber

    James Cameron

    3h 14m

    Titanic‘s present-day subplot sees treasure hunter Brock Lovett searching for the Heart of the Ocean, a valuable necklace believed to be in the ship’s wreckage. Rose DeWitt Bukater, now a centenarian, recounts her story to him. In the final Titanic ending, moved by her words, Brock ends his search, and Rose quietly drops the necklace into the sea, revealing she’d actually had it all along. One unused alternate ending that was filmed had her handing the item to Brock, lecturing him about values, and then letting out a weird squeal and throwing it into the sea. Brock’s associate, Lewis Bodine, then shouts, “That really sucks, lady!” Tonally, it’s all wrong.

    9 Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    Alternate Ending: Tony Stark Survives The Battle With Thanos

    Avengers: Endgame

    Release Date
    April 26, 2019

    Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Brie Larson, Paul Bettany, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman

    Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

    3 hours, 2 minutes

    Avengers: Endgame ends with a heroic sacrifice from Tony Stark that rounds off a perfect, 11-year-long character arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having first appeared as a womanizing playboy in 2008’s Iron Man, Tony completes his transformation to a selfless superhero by saving the universe from Thanos at the expense of his own life. However, the official MCU book Avengers: Endgame – The Art of the Movie shows concept art depicting Tony seeing Steve Rogers off on his mission to take the Infinity Stones back to their original point in time. That means there was a version of the story where he survived. This would have lessened the stakes.

    8 Alien (1979)

    Alternate Ending: The Xenomorph Decapitates Ripley Then Speaks In English

    Alien (1979)

    Release Date
    June 22, 1979

    Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto

    Ridley Scott

    117 minutes

    The sci-fi horror movie Alien depicts an unwanted extraterrestrial visitor on the commercial space tug Nostromo. The lethal creature picks off the crew, one by one, until the formidable Ellen Ripley blasts it into deep space, starting a franchise that has made her a cinematic icon. Director Ridley Scott has spoken of an ending he pitched that would’ve changed all that for the worse. In Ripley’s final encounter with the Xenomorph, she would’ve harpooned it to no effect, at which point it breaks through the mask of her space suit, tears off her head, and mimics Dallas, saying “I’m signing off” on the ship’s radio. That wouldn’t have been smart.

    Related: Alien’s Alternate Ending Would Have Ruined The Franchise

    7 The Shining (1980)

    Alternate Ending: Danny Dies, Wendy Kills Jack, Hallorann Is Possessed By The Hotel

    The Shining

    Release Date
    June 13, 1980

    Danny Lloyd, Shelley Duvall, Jack Nicholson, Scatman Crothers

    Stanley Kubrick

    146 minutes

    At the end of The Shining, after suffering torment all winter in the Overlook Hotel courtesy of its supernatural status and influence on Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrance escape their predicament. Meanwhile, Jack is seen in a New Year’s Eve party photo from nearly 60 years earlier, suggesting he’s been made a permanent resident by the haunted establishment and always was. However, director Stanley Kubrick pondered over a messier ending in which young Danny dies, Wendy kills her husband, and the hotel’s chef, Hallorann, gets possessed by the place. This ending would’ve been too convoluted, and the more ambiguous ending about Jack’s fate is far superior.

    6 Pretty Woman (1990)

    Alternate Ending: Vivian Goes To Disneyland Without Edward

    Edward (Richard Gere) kisses Vivian (Julia Roberts) on the fire escape in Pretty Woman

    Pretty Woman

    Release Date
    March 23, 1990

    Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Laura San Giacomo, Jason Alexander

    Garry Marshall

    119 minutes

    The rom-com Pretty Woman centers on a wealthy corporate raider who hires a sex worker to accompany him to various social functions and business events. The two ultimately fall in love and end the movie as a couple. However, the original screenplay for the film had it end much differently. In this alternate ending, the pair break up, and Edward takes Vivian back to where he met her, throws a stack of cash at her, and tells her she’ll regret leaving him. Vivian is then seen having a terrific time spending money at Disneyland with her friend. That’s not quite as romantic as the ending everyone got to see.

    Related: The Original Ending Of Pretty Woman Explained (And Why It Changed)

    5 Forrest Gump (1994)

    Alternate Ending: Jenny Doesn’t Die But Marries Another Man

    Forrest (Tom Hanks) standing solemnly in front of a grave in Forrest Gump

    Forrest Gump

    Release Date
    July 6, 1994

    Mykelti Williamson, Gary Sinise, Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field

    Robert Zemeckis

    142 minutes

    The comedy-drama Forrest Gump is based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel. It tells the story of the eponymous character, a dimwitted and peculiar Alabama man with a remarkable life and incredible experiences. At the end of Forrest Gump, he marries the love of his life, Jenny, who falls ill and dies prematurely, leaving Forrest to bring up their son. It’s a bittersweet ending, but one that makes Forrest feel loved and accepted. Had the movie ended like the book, which almost happened, it would have been inferior. In that version, Jenny doesn’t die, but she marries another man. Forrest has nothing to do with their son, which is depressing.

    4 Thelma & Louise (1991)

    Alternate Ending: Only One Of The Women Dies

    Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) in the car at the end of Thelma & Louise.

    The dramatic adventure movie Thelma & Louise follows the eponymous pair as they embark on a weekend road trip. While they don’t plan on participating in any criminal activities, they inadvertently end up committing murder, robbery, and arson and quickly find they’re on the run from the law. When the authorities corner them near a cliff edge, the powerful ending sees them “keep going” as they kiss, hold hands, and drive over the edge to their deaths. However, director Ridley Scott proposed an ending in which Louise saves Thelma by pushing her out of their car just before it goes over the edge. This would’ve been nowhere near as impactful.

    3 Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

    Alternate Ending: Peter Quill’s Grandfather Knowingly Looks Up To The Stars

    Gregg Henry as Peter Quill's grandfather talking to young Peter (Wyatt Oleff) in Guardians Of The Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    Release Date
    August 1, 2014

    Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close, Dave Bautista, ​Chris Pratt2, Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly

    James Gunn

    122 Mins

    In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill is abducted and taken into space as a child, ultimately becoming a member of the titular team. When he and his teammates save the universe from Ronan’s wrath, an upbeat montage plays out on screen, depicting scenes like Rhomann Dey enjoying time with his family and Yondu receiving a fun gift. However, an additional scene was almost included in an alternate ending that fortunately never happened. The scene would’ve shown Peter’s grandfather holding a photograph of the character as a boy and looking up knowingly at the stars. This wouldn’t have made any sense, as he had no idea of Peter’s whereabouts.

    2 Independence Day (1996)

    Alternate Ending: Russell Straps Missiles To His Biplane

    Randy Quaid as Russell piloting a fighter jet in Independence Day

    Independence Day

    Release Date
    June 24, 2016

    Bill Pullman, Sela Ward, Vivica A. Fox, Jessie Usher, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, William Fichtner, Jeff Goldblum, Joey King

    Roland Emmerich

    145 minutes

    Independence Day depicts a worldwide invasion by technologically advanced aliens. In the end, their mothership is brought down by a computer virus that deactivates its shields, and former Vietnam War pilot Russell Casse explodes its core by flying a fighter jet into it after having run out of missiles. A filmed alternate ending saw Russell rejected as a pilot in the battle but saving the day anyway. The scene shows him arriving in his crop-dusting biplane when everyone’s out of missiles. Having attached missiles to it, he flies the biplane into the mothership’s core. It’s too comedic and means audiences miss him making his difficult life-ending decision on screen.

    Related: Independence Day Director Reshot Key Final Scene Two Weeks Before Release

    1 Get Out (2017)

    Alternate Ending: Chris Is Sent To Prison

    Get Out

    Release Date
    February 24, 2017

    Lyle Brocato, LaKeith Stanfield, Caleb Landry Jones, Betty Gabriel, Allison Williams, Marcus Henderson, Erika Alexander, Bradley Whitford, Jeronimo Spinx, Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya

    Horror, Thriller

    Jordan Peele

    1 hour, 44 minutes

    Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a brilliant psychological horror movie that follows a young Black man, Chris Washington, to the family home of his white girlfriend. There, he discovers, to his horror, that the family has a history of transplanting their brains into Black people’s bodies, providing them with their preferred physical attributes and a sick form of immortality. Ultimately, Chris escapes, and his girlfriend, Rose, meets her deserved demise. However, one of two alternate Get Out endings, filmed but not used, sees Chris strangling Rose and being sent to jail while the family gets away unpunished. That would have been so frustrating if it was the movie’s official outcome.


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