Top 11 WTF Alternate Movie Endings

Can you believe these were the endings to hit films? Nostalgia Critic takes a look at the strangest choices for how films wrapped up.

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About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

125 comments

  1. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Why top 11 because I like to go one step beyond

  2. The Golden Compass

    You need to play the video game adaptation, look at storyboards, and unused trailer footage to actually see it.

  3. So, was anyone else expecting him to throw in a ‘WTF ending’ to this video as a final punchline?

  4. you totally forgot the alternate ending of Butterfly effect, where in the end he went to his mother womb and strangled himself to death by his umbilical cord…that was brutal and definetely wtf 🙂

  5. Another WTF Alternate Ending: Disney’s Robin Hood.

    Originally, Robin was wounded while escaping Prince John’s castle and is taken to a church by Little John and Maid Marian. Prince John and Sir Hiss follow in the shadows, and after Little John leaves, Prince John enters and nearly puts Robin Hood “out of his misery”. Luckily, King Richard arrives in time to stop Prince John and allows for Marian and Robin to be married.

    What’s cool about this ending is its darkness. To see Prince John stoop to Frollo-level diabolic tactics is true to his character, seeing how in the theatrical cut he orders his archers to shoot Robin Hood and orders immediate execution at the archery tournament. What’s more, it gives a well-deserved comeuppance for Prince John and Sir Hiss who, after King Richard takes back his crown, sit cowering in a corner sucking their thumbs.

    • I actually like the alternate ending of Robin Hood, but I understood that the reason behind the change was because of budget cuts. The film is Disney’s cheapest animated flick to date.

  6. The original ending to Deep Blue Sea isn’t much of a WTF ending, but the story behind the change is what’s fucked up. In the original, Susan survives the shark attack and takes the monster down herself like a badass. However, test audiences didn’t like it and said they should “kill the bitch”, and that is why they changed it so she’d die. I mean…. holy hell. The audience hated the character. Yeah, she was the person behind the experiments but I don’t think she’s that hatable, and wasn’t killing the killer sharks a way for her to redeem herself?

  7. The Alien Resurrection alternate ending was to set up Nightmare Asylum and the other stories that accompany it as the next set of sequels. In the novels Earth falls to the aliens, but Ripley and other far faring travellers don’t know for long periods of time as there is no CNN in space, so they only learn what happened long after the invasion.

  8. I am surprised you didn’t mention the alternate ending to First Blood. In the original novel written by David Morrell, the ending was much more darker than the one seen in the film. In the theatrical cut, after Rambo breaks down to Trautman, he is turned over to the police and lives. In the alternate cut, Rambo gives Trautmana gun and tells him that since Trautman made him, he should be the one to kill him. Trautman tries to point the gun away to shoot, but Rambo grabs it last minute and aims it at him and takes the bullet, and Rambo eventually dies. I read that test audiences found the death ending too depressing, so the theatrical ending was filmed where he lives, and thus we have the Rambo sequels.

  9. Blaze The Movie Fan

    Great video as always.

  10. Please tell the alternate ending of Peter’s dad being alive was just a callback to the Spidey’s story where his parents appear alive all of a sudden. Then turn out to be robots. Really, that story exists, it was even adapted to the 90s cartoon.

  11. TO BE FAIR–the “alternate ending” in the Little Shop of Horrors is actually how the original musical ends! Indeed, Audrey II eats all the main characters and takes over the world, or at least tries to, complete with a campy last song to boot. In this sense, the theatrical ending is actually unfaithful to the original. Make what you will of it, but the alternate ending is the way the musical itself actually ended. #TheMoreYouKnow

    • The worst part is that the “Don’t Feed the Plants” sequence at the end of the movie version cost over $10 million to make…and was ultimately left on the editing room floor. 🙁

    • On the other hand, the musical is based on the sixties movie, which is kind of in between – Seymour dies, but so does Audrey Jr.

  12. Dreamcatcher. In the original ending, Dudditz forces Mr. Gray out of Jonesy, splattering him on the rear wall, then throws his arms up triumphantly. shouts, “I Dudditz!” and then dies.

  13. The alt ending of I Am Legend also matched the tone of the original novel. Extremely disappointed that they forced the Hollywood ending, which ironically backfired on them when they tried to do a sequel,

    • Yep. When I Am Legend wasn’t in the ten first movies NC listed I got scared that it would be totally left out from the list. (I wasn’t sure if Doug had seen the movie, as he’d missed classics like Big Trouble in Little China before this year.) Luckily that wasn’t the case.

    • I disagree — the end of the novel showed that the vampires were just as innately tainted as the humans were — neither party were bad guys, because both parties were just human. Moreover, the movie never even hints at the 3rd party (vampires who aren’t as smart as humans) at all.

      Also, the main character is never really sorry for what he did — he kinda embraces it.

      Then there’s the whole idea of survival of species and all other natural questions rendering human concepts like “Evil” effectively pointless.

      The alternate ending as just as much a fuck you to the book as the theatrical.

      But to be fair — the book isn’t very good except for the way it makes you think about morality at the end and the fact the dog’s death is one powerful sentence. So I wouldn’t have liked a faithful copy anyway (except in that respect) — but everything about the movie we got is built around the zombie myth — and nothing about the book is.

  14. 11 – It does have one of the best endings ever.
    10 – Brendan Fraser is always in mediocre movies.
    9 – “Live Free Or Die Hard” was good.
    8 – RIP Bill.
    7 – Awww, first movie I didn’t see on this list.
    6 – Either way, there’s no sequel.
    5 – No joke about the sequel?
    4 – Now he really wishes he didn’t go in that day.
    3 – My favorite in the series!
    2 – Yep, heard of that one.
    1 – Called it!

  15. There’s an alternate ending to the original Blade in which Deacon Frost turns into this giant blood tornado thingy. Not only is the effect rather horrible looking (albeit unfinished), it’s also just incredibly goofy, and probably would’ve brought down the rest of the film.

    • It also had a second less ridiculous but still WTF ending bit that got cut where after Blade kills Frost he walks outside and see a Mysterious Masked Man watching him. This blatant bit of tacked-on sequel bait was supposed to set up Morbius as the villain for Blade 2.

  16. Nope, the ultimate “fuck you” in “I am Legend” wasn’t changing the logical and thought-provoking ending into a crowd-pleaser for morons. It was shoehorning the movie/story title in it. Instead of Will Smith realizing he is a “legend” to the vampires in a horrific, ironic sense of the word, he posthumously realizes he is a legend because he is our savior and all-round cool guy. Ugh.

    • TheSuicidalTeddybear

      I love that you called them vampires, which they originally were, instead of zombies

      • Sure. But it’s worth noting that Matheson’s original novel inspired the invention of the western zombie, as Romero took cues from it when he made “Night of the Living Dead”. The word “zombie” wasn’t even used in that film, so they might as well have been vampires, as the label was only later ascribed by fans.
        “I had written a short story, which I basically had ripped off from a Richard Matheson novel called I Am Legend.” – George Romero
        They are weak to garlic and crucifixes, but they behave an awful lot like something else.

    • I think the ultimate fuck you of I Am Legend is that the movie is not remotely about literally any of the things that happen in the book XD.

      But the alternate ending doesn’t help either — because there’s none of that Military Industrialist vampire shit going on where the vampires really are evil. . . but only in the same sense that humans are evil. And also the whole side-question of wtf is the point of these human ideas when set against natural questions (survival of the species here).

      Given the time the book comes from, I can’t help but view it as an expression of existential dread from the nuclear age.

      I dunno wtf the nonsense romance was about — just an excuse to open dialogue I guess — even it took abduction to do it. And there’s huge problems with everything from the moment that chick shows up — but it’s really just about getting to that question.

  17. No! I’m not able to watch the video! 🙁

  18. 11. I have yet to see Dr. Strangelove from start to finish sometime, but I agree that this original ending is weird and a bit out of place
    10. REEEEEALLY need to see this movie.
    9. I still like the ending that we got. Also, I don’t hate A Good Day to Die Hard.
    8. I think it would have been cool if this ending made the theatrical cut.
    7. I like this ending a bit more than the original, and that’s mostly because it’s in the Special Edition, which also has a really cool opening credits sequence.
    6. I think this ending adds more questions than answers, like “How did Peter’s dad survive the plane crash?” I still like ASM2 though.
    5. Yeah, I agree that it was a good thing that they changed the ending of this movie. I also agree this this alternate ending is really freakin’ stupid, ‘cause how the hell did Randy Quaid get a nuke?
    4. I never saw Clerks. …Yeah, I’m leaving it at that. BTW, this is the most WTF alternate ending I’ve seen on this list.
    3. I still love the “Hail to the king, baby” ending, ‘cause it’s the perfect way to end out this awesome trilogy of horror films.
    2. I really, really, REALLY need to see this film from start to finish.
    1. I actually like the ending we got in the theatrical cut of I Am Legend better than the alternate one, and that’s mostly because on how those Disney films ended.

  19. I’m surprised he didn’t bring up the original ending to Alien. It ends with Ripely escaping but the Xenomorph is on the capsule with her and bites her head off. It then uses Ripley’s voice to communicate with the people on Earth which basically meant the Xenomorph takes over the world.

    • I honestly think that ending is a myth. I’ve read the original script (“Starbeast”) as well as the shooting script, and both versions feature the same ending with the final survivor escaping only for the alien to end up on the ship with him/her, then kills it via ejection from the airlock (although the original script also features it leaving another face-hugger egg attached to the shuttle).

      • Thanks for telling me! I read somewhere, guess it wasn’t true.

        • One thing I did always think was funny was that the original shooting script featured Ripley and Dallas having casual sex. If they had left that scene in the movie, Ripley would have been the rare instance of the one character in a slasher film who DID have sex ending up being the survivor. 😛

  20. You fucked up, Critic! XD

    In Alien Resurrection, the ship crashes to earth: a ship with a NUCLEAR engine (hence the destruction of France, where the ship crashed).

  21. ‘Independence Day’-That ending is in the novelization.
    ‘Clerks’-This ending could go back the discussion Dante and Randell had about which had the better ending ‘Jedi’ or ‘Empire’. Dante said that ‘Empire’ had the better ending because it ended on a downbeat and that is what life is and that is what this ending is.

    • Dante is kind of an idiot, then. Empire’s ending isn’t better because it ended on a downbeat. It was better because the reveal of Luke’s father opened up a whole new galaxy of possibilities, and hyped up the audience for the epic conclusion.

      Even if the story ended with Episode V, with Lucas vowing to never produce a follow-up, audiences would still be intrigued by all the ways in which the story could have theoretically continued: What will Luke and his friends do now? Does Luke join his father or slay him in combat? Will Han Solo ever get thawed out, and how? So many questions, so few fanfic writers!

      The original planned ending for Clerks would have done the exact opposite of opening up possibilities; it would have completely shut down all notions of the story ever continuing, even in people’s imaginations. When an artist denies the work any chance to take on a life of its own, that’s the biggest blunder they can possibly commit.

    • Speaking about devil “Jedi” would have better ending if they would go with original script.. you, this one also has alternative ending. In short: Han Solo die and Luck turn on the dark side and instead Evocs we have Wookies.

      Shame that it didn’t end that way.. or.. did it? Force Awaken.. eghm..

  22. supersmashbro596

    oh yeah/. about the little shop of horrors alternate ending.
    in the musical the movie was based on, THAT is how it ends. with the plant killing all the main characters and taking over the world. i still love that ending… the only reason it was changed was due to focus groups. but yah. thats the original ending to the broadway musical.

  23. Lovely Concrete SVU

    I saw the movie Little Shop of Horrors for the first time when I was about 20 and was pretty whatever about the ending but bought the DVD because I liked the rest of the movie. I had no idea at that point that another ending existed. A few years later, the “Director’s Cut” was released with (what I now call) the REAL ending and I quickly bought the DVD and thought that ending made a lot more sense than the one I already had. I actually gave the first DVD I had to my parents because my dad (after seeing both) preferred the happy ending because “she got the house she wanted”.

  24. I’m sure I’m probably the 100th person to say this, but… “Little Shop of Horrors” originally ended like the stage musical version, complete with the “Don’t Feed the Plants” song. The producers made them reshoot the ending because test audiences wanted Audrey and Seymour to end up together. There were also other scenes reshot to make the audience “like” Seymour more, such as cutting parts out of the montage where Seymour makes it clear he’s willing to kill people to get Audrey.

  25. I would’ve had “Clue” in my list.

    • Not sure that one counts, since the alternate endings in Clue were intentional and actually played during their theatrical release (at different times, of course).

    • To be fair, the “alternate endings” were kinda the point to the movie. I own the DVD, and I’ve seen all three endings. They’re all pretty funny in their own right. But that’s the point of the movie; just like the board game itself, Clue had to have a few different endings.

  26. The only other ending I would recommend is the original ending to “Blade Runner”, which is become so infamous along with the Director’s Cut I think some people refuse to even watch the theatrical version anymore compared to it.

  27. I do slightly disagree with the alternate ending to Army of Darkness. I get the appeal of the original ending, but it does leave a gaping void. It gives the impression that Ash’s tale isn’t over yet, but what’s it going to lead to? It’s implied everyone’s dead! The theatrical ending on the other hand gives a more definitive and satisfying conclusion to the Evil Dead trilogy in my opinion, even if it doesn’t fully fit the tone of the series overall.

  28. Uhn… The alternate ending to Clerks actually makes sense to the point of the movie (Dante says quite a lot of times that he wasn’t even supposed to be working that day).
    It is too dark in contrast, but it at least makes sense.

  29. I’m actually surprised I called #1. It was the first thing that jumped into my head seeing it, but I wouldnt call the ending itself wtf, more just the reason that they instead went with the essentially GAWD BLESS ‘MURIKA ending instead.

    Also, Lmao at the Army of Darkness one. The quote that summarises an entire generation.

    “I SLEPT TOO LONG!”

  30. The thing about the ending for Little Shop of Horrors is this is how the stage production ends, and the whole thing is essentially supposed to be a modern Greek tragedy combined with a horror/comedy/musical. Frank Oz was forced to change it to the happy ending after the test audience reacted negatively. Although, you could argue that Audrey and especially Seymour are portrayed as far more sympathetic than their stage counterparts so you become a little more emotionally attached to them and want to see them win in the end.

    • They also reshot several scenes here and there to make Seymour more sympathetic. For example, in the original movie, after Seymour chops Orin up and feeds him to Audrey II, he goes to bed but tosses and turns all night. In the theatrical release, they made it so he couldn’t even sleep that night. They also originally did a fuller version of “The Meek Shall Inherit”, featuring the bits where Seymour decides to keep feeding Audrey II so long as Audrey likes him.

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