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Warning: spoilers ahead for 10 Cloverfield Lane, proceed at your own risk
Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane has absolutely floored audiences around the world. A spiritual successor to 2008’s Cloverfield, the film tackles the concept of monsters in a much more intimate and personal manner than the original – until the final moments of the film. 10 Cloverfield Lane’s third act involves protagonist Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) escaping from the bunker to find out that an alien attack actually occurred on Earth. However, the ending we saw is not necessarily the originally intended ending.
A new report from Collider reveals that the original ending for 10 Cloverfield Lane differed somewhat from the one we got:
In the original script, Michelle escapes the shelter and is chased through the farmhouse by Howard, who still wants to "protect" her. She blinds him with bathroom cleaner, he tells her about his tragic life (dead wife, missing daughter, treacherous Nate, etc.), and then she shoots him in the kneecap and runs away. He ends the movie alive, entreating Michelle to "be careful." Later, after traveling down empty roads and finding no one around to help her, she crests a hill and sees the Chicago skyline, smoldering and destroyed. No explanation is given. We don’t even know what she will do next; only that she now knows that Howard, for all his oddity, was correct. The final line in the script is, "She slowly pulls down the mask on the hazmat suit before taking a breath.
The theatrical ending for 10 Cloverfield Lane doesn’t give John Goodman’s Howard much of a shot at redemption; he’s a psychotic and downright vicious man until the very end, and he never makes it out of the bunker. In the original version, it turns out he was right the whole time, and traumatic experiences with his family turned him into the person he became. The original ending also flat out clarifies that Howard was right about the aliens taking over, whereas in the theatrical version it’s left ambiguous whether he actually knew about what was happening on the surface.
Also, compared to the original ending, the theatrical finale for 10 Cloverfield Lane is a bit more empowering. Although aliens have clearly taken over the world in both versions of the film, the ending we got shows Michelle much more willing to finally take responsibility and fight for the little guy – something she regrets not doing more throughout her life. Dan Trachtenberg would go on to admit that reshoots were done in order to make 10 Cloverfield Lane a lighter movie, and in the end we think those decisions made the film much more tonally palatable and enjoyable.
Which ending do you like better? Did the filmmakers make the right call by switching it up, or should they have left it the way it was in the script? Let us know in the comments so we can keep the conversation alive! If you haven’t seen 10 Cloverfield Lane already (why did you read this article!?) then be sure to check it out in theaters now!