This upcoming week marks the 20th anniversary of a hot pink classic, Legally Blonde. The movie starring Reese Witherspoon is incredibly quotable, empowering and continues to be a ton of fun to revisit two decades later. At the end of it, Elle Woods memorably addresses Harvard’s graduating class as “Perfect Day” takes us into the credits. The graduation sequence was not the original plan for the final moments of the 2001 comedy. Brace yourself to bend and snap at these unexpected alternate endings.
The ending we see in the movie was decided following Legally Blonde being shown to test audiences and the previous one not playing as the writers had hoped. In the version we see, the movie remains centered on Elle Woods’ achievements in Harvard as she walks out the door of the university after telling her fellow graduates to have faith in oneself first instead of trying to please or serve other people. It perfectly encapsulates the character’s growth throughout the film. Now let’s talk about what might have been.
Alternate Ending 1: Elle And Vivian Get Super Close
In celebration of the movie’s anniversary, a number of cast members along with the film’s writers spoke with The New York Times about the making of the movie. While discussing the ending, actress Jessica Cauffiel, who plays Elle’s friend Margot remembered reading this:
The first ending was Elle and Vivian in Hawaii in beach chairs, drinking margaritas and holding hands. The insinuation was either they were best friends or they had gotten together romantically.
The screenwriters deny writing this particular ending, but along with Cauffiel, Alanna Ubach, the last BFF in Elle’s trio Serena, also remembered the same scene being part of the script. However, one of Legally Blonde’s writers Karen McCullah did say this of an ending involving more Elle and Vivian goodness:
We originally cut to a year later, Elle and Vivian were good friends, and Vivian’s now blond. They had started the Blond Legal Defense Club and were handing out fliers in the quad because that was the ending in Amanda’s manuscript.
It definitely would have been an unexpected conclusion to the classic. Selma Blair’s Vivian is the new girlfriend Elle’s ex Warner has when she goes to Harvard. At first Elle and Vivian are basically enemies, but once they get to know each other, they become friendly. Elle Woods would have been a gay icon had this happened and this enemies to lovers scenario sounds right out of a Legally Blonde fan fiction, but I gotta say, I kind of dig it.
Alternate Ending 2: A Musical Number
Jessica Cauffiel also shared a second alternate ending that is almost too good to believe. Here’s what she said:
The second or third ending was a musical number on the courtroom steps, and as Elle came out, the judge, jury and everybody in the courtroom broke into song and dance. I’ve been waiting for somebody to leak that for 20 years.
Hey, it was the early ‘00s, this absolutely could have been the ending to Legally Blonde. Especially now as the movie itself inspired a popular Broadway musical. But, let’s get into the last alternate ending that led the writers to land on the actual ending.
Alternate Ending 3: Elle And Emmett’s Happily Ever
After McCullah’s screenwriting partner on Legally Blonde Meredith Scott Lynn opened up about the ending that made it close to the final cut before test audiences shot it down. In her words:
One of the versions ended with Emmett and Elle kissing. We screened the movie two or three times, and every time people didn’t want to end it with a kiss. They thought it wasn’t a story about [Elle] getting a boyfriend, which was really cool to have people say that.
Legally Blonde was never a rom-com and audiences knew it. If the Elle and Emmett kiss was at the end it would have felt like one. Even though we love the budding romance between Elle and Luke Wilson’s character, it’s more about her personal journey of becoming a lawyer. It’s definitely interesting to see what could have been 20 years after Legally Blonde’s release as a third movie approaches. You can decide how you like the ending by streaming the movie over on Netflix now.