Passengers Ending: Why It Had To End The Way It Did, According To The Director


SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Passengers. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know details about its ending, please save this page and come back after your screening!

Passengers has only been in theaters for a little over a day now, but its ending has already stirred up a good bit of controversy. Most of the movie presents a serious ethical and moral dilemma for its main characters -- with Jim (Chris Pratt) murdering Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) by waking her up in the middle of an interstellar space flight -- but the way the story chooses to conclude hasn't been well-received by critics. Curious about the creative decisions that were made, I recently asked director Morten Tyldum if there were discussions about alternative endings for the narrative -- but he explained why he feels it needed to end the way that it does.

I sat down with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker during the Los Angeles press day for Passengers earlier this month, and it was with my last question that I dived deep into spoiler territory and asked about alternative directions for the ending. Specifically referring to Aurora's decision not to hibernate in the medpod and forgive Jim, Morten Tyldum said,

No, to me, I think that it's important that she made that decision. I think that that's what she would have done. I think it's impossible to have experienced so much with somebody and then leave them. I don't think it's possible for her to do that, and I think she will regret that decision if she did it. It would haunt her for the rest of her life.

The film's defense for Aurora's forgiveness for Jim seems to simply be the fact that living through so much chaos brought them together -- but there are still loud voices explaining why this isn't fully satisfactory, as what Jim does is entirely selfish and horrible. Of course, just because the last shot of the film paints a pretty picture for their end doesn't mean that their lives together were entirely perfect.

As Morten Tyldum went on to explain to me in our interview, this kind of questioning about the ending is actually something that he wanted to invite amongst movie-goers that see Passengers. He even went as far as to cut off an extra scene in the film featuring Andy Garcia because he wanted to keep things open-ended and have people talking on the way home from the theater. He explained,

We had a longer ending with Andy Garcia walking out of the elevator. 'Why is he in one shot?' Because it was two scenes that we shot with him, but we find out that by doing the ending a little shorter, it made people talk more about it. II want to like, 'Did they have children? What happened?' It's good. Somebody will go like, 'Oh, I think I saw some children inside the house.' Somebody goes like, 'Wait, if you saw that, then there probably is!' 'How was their life?'But they both get to do what they set off to do. She set off to write a story. She thought it was different story. She had to, instead of looking outward, she had to look inward... Which I think is amazing, and he build his house, and was able to live in it... So, in many ways, they completed what they needed, and the rest I want people to imagine and talk about and it should be up to them.

Passengers most certainly is going to invite a lot of conversation -- and we invite you to head down to our comments section below to participate in just that!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.