Almost every movie goes through various stages of filming, editing, and reshooting before it’s finally released to the public. And with these stages come plenty of deleted scenes and alternate endings that, frankly, would’ve completely changed the movie as we know it. Here are 19 of the most bizarre deleted scenes and alternate endings that would’ve ruined the movie if they had made the final cut:
1. E.T. almost had a cameo by Harrison Ford
Believe it or not, the beloved 1982 film almost had an appearance by none other than Harrison Ford. In a deleted scene that thankfully was never included in the final cut, Ford was set to play the principal at Elliott’s school. The scene was ultimately cut, much to the relief of fans who couldn’t imagine anyone other than Henry Thomas as Elliott.
2. The alternate ending of Pretty Woman was much darker
In an early version of the script, Richard Gere’s character throws Julia Roberts’ character out of his car and onto the street, leaving her in tears. Not exactly the romantic comedy ending that audiences were hoping for.
3. Titanic almost had a more upbeat ending
An alternate ending to Titanic shows Rose tossing the Heart of the Ocean into the ocean, and then smiling as she walks away. This would’ve completely changed the tone of the film and left audiences scratching their heads.
4. The Shining was supposed to have a different final scene
In an alternate ending to The Shining, Wendy and Danny drive away from the hotel, only to reveal that Jack’s frozen body is still in the maze. This would’ve detracted from the creepiness of the film’s actual ending, where the photo from 1921 shows Jack at the Overlook Hotel’s July 4th Ball.
5. A more gruesome ending was cut from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
In a deleted scene from The Return of the King, Saruman and Grima Wormtongue are killed much more brutally by the hobbits than in the final cut of the film. This scene was ultimately deemed too graphic for audiences and was left on the cutting room floor.
6. The original ending of Little Shop of Horrors was much darker
In the original ending of Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II takes over the world and eats everyone. This was ultimately changed to a more upbeat ending where Audrey II is defeated and everyone lives happily ever after.
7. A more depressing ending for Fatal Attraction
In an alternate ending to Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close’s character commits suicide and Michael Douglas is left in tears. This ending was deemed too dark, and the final cut of the film is a bit more ambiguous.
8. Back to the Future almost had a very different ending
In an early version of the script, Marty McFly returns home to find that everything has changed and his family is rich and successful. This alternate ending would’ve completely changed the entire premise of the film.
9. The butterfly effect would’ve been much different in the original ending of The Butterfly Effect
In the original ending of The Butterfly Effect, Evan travels back to when he and Kayleigh were children and strangles himself in her womb. Needless to say, this was a bit too dark for audiences, and a different, less disturbing ending was ultimately chosen.
10. The alternate ending for I Am Legend was much more depressing
In the original ending of I Am Legend, Will Smith’s character sacrifices himself to save the survivors, which would’ve left audiences feeling much more depressed than the actual ending, where he finds a cure for the infected.
11. Toy Story 2 has a deleted scene that would’ve been a major plot twist
In a deleted scene from Toy Story 2, Woody learns that he’s a rare collectible and agrees to go to Japan with the other collectibles. This would’ve completely changed the entire storyline of the film, as Woody’s loyalty to Andy is a major theme throughout the series.
12. The alternate ending to Die Hard with a Vengeance was much darker
In the original ending of Die Hard with a Vengeance, the bomb explodes and Simon escapes, leaving John McClane and Zeus struggling to survive. This would’ve been a much darker and more depressing ending than the final cut, where Simon is caught and the bomb is defused.
13. An alternate ending to Alien 3 would’ve drastically changed the franchise
In an early version of the script, Ripley and Newt are both alive, the alien queen inside of Ripley is removed, and they all live happily ever after. This would’ve completely changed the tone of the Alien franchise and left fans with a completely different perspective on the series.
14. The alternate ending to Blade Runner was much more ambiguous
In an alternate ending to Blade Runner, Deckard finds an origami unicorn at his apartment door, leaving his identity as a human or replicant up in the air. This would’ve left audiences much more puzzled than the final cut, where it’s heavily implied that Deckard is a replicant.
15. The original ending of Rocky IV had a completely different outcome
In an early version of the script, Rocky throws in the towel and admits defeat to Ivan Drago. This would’ve completely changed the entire Rocky series and left audiences with a much less triumphant feeling than the actual ending, where Rocky defeats Drago in a dramatic showdown.
16. An early version of The Wizard of Oz had a much darker ending
In an early draft of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s trip to Oz is revealed to be just a dream caused by a head injury from the tornado. This alternate ending would’ve completely changed the whimsical and magical nature of the film, and left audiences feeling much more disappointed.
17. The original ending of King Kong was much more bleak
In an early version of the script, King Kong falls from the Empire State Building and dies, without any sense of connection between Kong and Anne. This would’ve left audiences with a much darker and less empathetic feeling than the actual ending, where Kong’s death is much more emotional and memorable.
18. The original ending of The Breakfast Club was much more open-ended
In an early version of the script, the ending was much more ambiguous, with no real resolution for the characters’ relationships. This would’ve left audiences feeling much more dissatisfied than the final cut, where the characters’ friendship is more solidified and hopeful for the future.
19. The original ending of Thelma & Louise was much darker
In an early version of the script, Thelma and Louise drive off the cliff and perish in the car, without the iconic freeze-frame shot of the car in mid-air. This alternate ending would’ve left audiences feeling much more devastated than the actual ending, which has become a symbol of female empowerment and defiance.
It’s fascinating to think about how these bizarre deleted scenes and alternate endings would’ve completely changed the movies as we know them. It goes to show just how important the editing process is in shaping the final product that audiences experience.