Interstellar Almost Had This Dark, Tragic Ending

If there’s one consistent sticking point throughout Christopher Nolan’s entire filmography, it’s that his endings certainly give the audience something to talk about. His most recent opus, Interstellar, is definitely no exception to that rule; especially considering how deep the ending reaches into the bag of tricks that is quantum mechanics and storytelling. Yet after all of the debate that’s been had over what exactly happened at the end of the film, there’s still some life in the argument yet, thanks to some remarks his brother and co-writer Jonathan made a couple of days ago.

Fair warning, the ending to Interstellar is about to be dissected. If you haven’t seen the film, bookmark this page and come back after you’ve witnessed its glory.

The Nerdist recently covered an event at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion lab where Jonathan Nolan and scientific advisor/producer Kip Thorne were fielding questions from an audience of science professionals and students. Naturally, the front of the queue contained the lucky participant who would ask the million-dollar question about just what happened at the end of Interstellar’s story. Shockingly, Interstellar ended in a whole different manner under Jonathan Nolan’s pen.

In Jonathan Nolan’s original vision for Interstellar, we still see Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) head off into the depths of Gargantua’s gravity well and enter the Tesseract dimension of space/time existence. However, once he tries to send the data back to planet Earth, we see the Tesseract collapse on him – thus ending the film before the emotional coda where he reunites with his daughter, as well as the assumption that Amelia Brand’s colony on Planet Edmunds is off to a good start. From the sound of it, the film probably would have had a couple of lines tying up Cooper’s fate, accepting his demise in the name of humanity, and Hans Zimmer's score would swell to carry the picture to a dark, but bittersweet close.

Which leaves the question of just where did the rather Spielbergian ending Interstellar lands on come from? Jonathan Nolan’s initial zinger when asked about the ending says it all, as he told the audience member who asked him about just what happened on screen, "You’ve got the wrong brother."

As it would turn out, Christopher Nolan is the architect of the film’s kinda, sorta feel-good ending, which is a testament not so much to who’s vision won out in the end, but the sort of collaboration the brothers have in their work. What’s funny is, again, this is a project that started under Spielberg’s wing, and could have gone full tilt Dark Knight with grit and realism – which definitely sounds like the direction Jonathan was heading towards with his script, until Nolan used that Spielbergian influence to bring an emotional close to the film’s events. Though, after all of this hubbub about which Nolan brother is responsible for Interstellar’s ending, it does make us wonder… who was responsible for the ending to The Dark Knight Rises? Sorry to open old wounds, but it’s a question that needed to be asked.

Regardless of what you think happened, or which version of the story you choose to believe, Interstellar is available on Digital HD, with the Blu Ray and DVD dropping on March 31st.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.