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Here's Why Edge Of Tomorrow Went With That Happier Ending

We beat the drum pretty hard in favor of Tom Cruise’s intelligent, exciting sci-fi blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow. And we’re glad that it’s doing well overseas (after receiving a lukewarm reception in the States). One of the complaints we heard often when discussing Edge of Tomorrow with you guys was the reliance on a "happy" ending, which many of you felt the movie didn’t earn. As it turns out, that wasn’t always the intended ending of the story.

We are going to have to dive into spoilers regarding Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, so back away if you haven’t yet seen the film and still intend to at some point.

The Edge of Tomorrow movie that we watched ends with Tom Cruise’s character, Cage, successfully destroying the Omega… resetting his day one final time. Yet, despite being told he no longer can retain his memories, Cage remembers what happened in the battle. He "wakes up," and is farther back then the normal reboots. He’s on a helicopter, and he goes out of his way to find Rita (Emily Blunt), his partner in crime.

Edge of Tomorrow screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie spoke with Film School Rejects, and told them he always wanted to go back to the helicopter, to make audiences wonder if the day had ever happened. "To that end, there were a million things you had to do with the writing and visually, to serve that ending," McQuarrie said. "That presented a lot of challenges and debate for us. We really struggled to deliver what the movie needed to be emotionally."

McQuarrie admits that he knows people "didn’t like" the ending they settled on, but explains that Tom Cruise’s desire to stay lighter and comedic changed their course as they worked to a proper ending. McQuarrie said Cruise was one of the strongest advocates of playing up the humor in Edge of Tomorrow. (Believe me, we appreciate just how funny the movie ended up being.) And so, they had to shift gears from the original tone of the script, which started out in a much darker place than Cruise and McQuarrie had expected. The screenwriter said:

I think the only way to make those [disappointed] people happy would be to end the movie in a way that wasn’t happy. We weren’t interested in doing that. It needed to end in a way that wasn’t harsh."

And it did. Was that the reason audiences didn’t give Edge of Tomorrow a fair shake? No, because they’d have to at least pay to go in and SEE the film before coming out to complain about the ending. Sadly, American audiences never got that far. Edge of Tomorrow, to date, has earned $85.8 million domestically. It has a much healthier $234 million global take (thankfully). That’s almost a happy ending, but man, this movie deserved so much more.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.