Ever wonder what your favorite sci-fi movies would be like if they had done things a little differently? These alternate movie endings show us what could have been.
In some cases it was the right decision not to use these scenes in the final versions of these movies. Then again, some of these endings are as good as the ones that replaced them. And some are way better than what we ended up getting!
Here are some of the most interesting alternate sci-fi movie endings you need to see if you haven’t already.
The ending to E.T. that we all know has Elliot saying a tearful final farewell to the alien, who then flies off in his spaceship.
But there was an alternate ending that ended the film on a more cheerful note. This deleted scene was meant to be tacked on after the ending we are all familiar with.
It shows Elliot at the helm of a Dungeons and Dragons game. The camera pans up to the roof of the house where the communicator is still functioning, hinting that Elliot can still communicate with E.T.
This alternate ending to Independence Day shows Randy Quaid’s character flying a biplane—not an F-18—into the alien spaceship. It looks as cartoonish and ridiculous as it sounds. They really made the right decision changing this scene.
The alternate ending of 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors is similar to the stage musical it was adapted from—a much darker and more awesome ending than the one they ended up going with.
Rick Moranis is devoured and the carnivorous plants spread and presumably destroy the world. The movie probably would have suffered financially, but the ending would’ve been cool. Fortunately, they included it it the director’s cut!
The ending to Army of Darkness that most people are familiar with comes from the theatrical cut. It ends with Ash slaying a demon in the S-Mart and saying one of his trademark one-liners: “Hail to the king, baby.”
But there was another, longer director’s cut with a different ending—one that was preferred by both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. This version ended on more of a down note, but still managed to be hilarious.
In the director’s cut, Ash takes too many drops of a sleeping potion and wakes up in the distant future. Society is in ruins and Ash ends up on his knees, screaming “I slept too long!” It’s similar to the ending of Planet of the Apes, but way funnier!
The ending of Alien Resurrection that made it into the movie shows Ripley and Call flying over Earth after defeating a giant Newborn (Xenomorph-human hybrid) by ejecting it into space.
The alternate ending has them landing on the surface in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Paris.
The shot looks really similar to the alternate ending of Army of Darkness. You half expect a bearded Bruce Campbell to stumble out of a cave screaming about how he slept too long.
6. Donnie Darko
This alternate ending to Donnie Darko shows Donnie impaled by airplane wreckage while still breathing. The actual version that made it to theaters shows the airplane engine crushing Donnie, but he isn’t visible in the shot.
It’s rumored that the graphic nature of this replaced scene was so bad that it couldn’t even qualify for an NC-17 rating. I haven’t found a solid source to verify this rumor though, and the scene seems far tamer than many rated-R films.
The ending lost nothing in terms of emotional resonance or plot resolution by leaving this shocking bit out. Scrapping it was definitely a wise decision.
One of the ideas that Ridley Scott had for the end of Alien was to have the Xenomorph tear Ripley’s head off. Then it would mimic Dallas’ voice and radio for a ship to pick it up.
The studio execs were appalled, so Ridley Scott changed course. Luckily for us, Ripley and the cat escape with their lives intact and we get to enjoy the fantastic sequel, Aliens.
That other ending would have been pretty cool though.
This alternate ending to The Terminator shows Cyberdyne Systems employees finding a chip from the crushed T-800 and sending it down to their R&D department.
It’s a cool scene that hints at a sequel. James Cameron decided it was unnecessary, though, and that audiences would be able to fill in the gaps themselves when the sequel came out.
It turns out he was right! People had no trouble keeping up with the plot of T2. But seeing this scene in retrospect is pretty cool.
The alternate ending to Terminator 2: Judgment Day shows an older Sarah Connor sitting in a playground surrounded by kids playing. Then the movie just ends—with no nuclear explosion!
The ending we got was better for the movie, but this one would have spared us all from the disappointing sequels.