The Really Sad Reason Why American Sniper's Original Ending Was Removed

The true story of the man at the center of Clint Eastwood's recent biopic, American Sniper, doesn't have a happy ending. During an incident at a firing range in Stephenville, Texas in 2013, top Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was murdered by a fellow veteran. Those that have seen the movie know that this final moment of Kyle's life wasn't featured in American Sniper, but that's only because Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, asked the production to remove the scene from the screenplay.

This story comes to us from the New York Daily News, which recently had the interview American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall on the red carpet for this past weekend's Writer's Guild Awards. During the conversation, the subject turned towards the idea of portraying Chris Kyle's death on the big screen, and while writer admitted that there were early drafts of the screenplay that included this hugely dramatic moment, the sequence was ultimately cut because of a request from Taya Kyle to think about her children and how the movie would be seen in their eyes. Said Hall,

I was very cognizant, having two kids of my own, that these kids weren’t going to remember much of their father – at four and six – and I didn’t want this movie to be the thing hanging over their heads for the rest of their lives, as the film that showed their father getting shot in the back of his head.

Before deciding to remove the sequence completely, apparently Jason Hall and the other folks behind the Academy Award-nominated American Sniper debated if there was a way to do it right, and actually tried approaching the portrayal in multiple different ways, but it was eventually decided that the feature didn't actually need the scene and it was cut as a result. Said the screenwriter,

We talked about putting it in, I wrote it. We went around and around. We wrote it five different ways and talked about how we would shoot it. But In the end, I think we felt that this was a film about Chris’ life and not about his death.... We also wanted to be careful not to glorify the guy who did it.

Doing their best to keep to Taya Kyle's wishes, American Sniper now ends simply with Bradley Cooper's big screen version of Chris Kyle walking towards the Rough Creek Lodge rifle range - the location where the decorated soldier would be killed.

For those of you who have seen American Sniper (which I imagine is a whole lot of you) do you think that the movie made the right decision not to portray Chris Kyle's death on screen, or do you think that it was an important part of the story that should have been included? Hit the comments to tell us what you think.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.