Alternate endings don’t usually make it into films because let’s face it, most of the time, they’re not as good as the ones that are ultimately chosen in the end. However, there are exceptions—whether lack of understanding for the source material or a lapse in judgment—there are times that production slips and manages to put in the less-stellar ending to the movie.
Here are some movies that would have fared better to critics if they used different endings:
The official ending: Hannibal Lecter tries to escape the clutches of Mason Varger, introduce law official Paul Krendler to self-cannibalism, and with the doctor evading capture by severing his own arm, much to Clarice Starling’s terror. The final scene then sees the one-handed Lecter offering up some of his food to a child, saying that it is always important to try new things—except that the “new thing” he’s given the kid is someone’s brain.
The supposed ending: Based on the books by Thomas Harris, Lecter was supposed to attempt to brainwash Starling into thinking that she is his long-lost sister. He ultimately failed; however, the FBI started falling in love with him, and in the end, he and Starling as a duo run off together.
Why it would have been better: The official ending fell flat, even with someone eating his own brain. With all the morally corrupt scenes already apparent in the series, it is with little sense not to maximize on the horror of the story.
World War Z
The official ending: In the movie, Gerry became the only hope of humanity when he manages to figure out a way to be invisible to zombies. Despite the undead piling up to get into Jerusalem, he was the only one who managed to walk away, unscathed.
The supposed ending: A much-bigger climax was supposed to be seen in a Moscow skirmish—although that part has been cut, along with other references to global politics. There was also the theory that the infection started in China, which, ultimately, was also cut.
Why it would have been better: Max Brook’s novel would have explored a lot of social elements, and fans of the book were disappointed to see it become a simplistic zombie blockbuster that is similar to so many others.
The official ending: The film has always been chilly, and the creepy child that turned out to be a thirty-three-year-old psychopath woman in disguise made the ending a bit of a stalker-murderer type film, with Vera Farmiga’s character fighting her adoptive daughter to the death.
The supposed ending: Esther could have simply reapplied her child-makeup after the initial fight and then walked calmly to the police, ready to continue her ruse, making Farmiga’s character look like the deranged lunatic.
Why it would have been better: It would have made for a perfect ending if the psycho “child”—and the main villain in the story—manages to get away with her crimes. That way, it will feel more in-line with the story instead of depreciating its value.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The official ending: The final movie is essentially one action sequence, but the epic confrontation between Voldemort and Harry ended quite dismally. For instance, the Dark Lord generally disintegrated and . . . that was that. It’s almost a form of aftermath that Harry explained how he managed to take on the darkest wizard in the world.
The supposed ending: The battle was set on a much grander scale in JK Rowling’s novel, with the great fight set in the great hall, and with everyone looking on as it unfolded. But the biggest difference is the fact that he stated his great speech before he killed the Dark Lord, effectively closing his journey as a child to become the hero of the wizarding world.
Why it would have been better: The ending of the book tied all the pieces neatly together, perfectly rounding off the characters in a neat bow. While the movie seemed grandiose, the nostalgia that came with the series’ many coming-of-age themes would have been an apt ending to the films as well.
As for nineteen years later – let’s not talk about how the films took on the epilogue, shall we?