Netflix's The Midnight Club Nearly Had A Different Ending, And I'm So Glad They Changed It

Dusty in a padded asylum room on The Midnight Club
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers below for those who haven’t yet watched through The Midnight Club on Netflix, so be warned!

Though Netflix’s hit horror series The Midnight Club is based on the works of genre writer Christopher Pike, co-creators Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong definitely made some changes when adapting the 1994 novel (and others) for modern-day viewers. Particularly different are the respective project’s endings, with the book wrapping with a future-set epilogue, while the TV show closed out on a pair of last-second shockers that weren’t entirely meant to be understood just yet. The creative team actually came very close to scrapping the mystery-driven ending altogether, and I couldn’t be happier that they turned away from that subdued idea.

When CinemaBlend spoke with Mike Flanagan and his Intrepid Pictures producing partner Trevor Macy for The Midnight Club, the Haunting of Hill House creator talked about the surprising ending, and how it was set up as a stepping stone for a second season, with the hopes that the show would earn a viewership large enough to justify a renewal. But because he gets personally peeved by projects that conclude on unresolved cliffhangers, the team went ahead and edited the finale sans Georgina’s big final scene, on the off chance that they’d want to put that one out there. Here’s how the duo put it:

  • Mike Flanagan:  Having done nothing but limited for so long, I was really reluctant to end on that, because like, what if we don't get picked up? But we rolled the dice, so we'll see how it goes. 
  • Trevor Macy:  Yeah, we had a robust debate about that, actually. Very recently. 
  • Mike Flanagan: We cut a version of the show like a month ago without it. Just in case. It was like, I don't want to end on a cliffhanger and not answer it. And who knows? We won't know for another month what they want to do. But yeah, if they don't want to move forward again, we'll spoil it like crazy, and we'll put everything out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy happy endings when they’re earned, and The Midnight Club’s core subject matter of hospice-living teens absolutely justified a sunny and hug-filled conclusion. So in that respect, I can understand why it’d have made sense to snip Georgina revealing her smooth bald head and hourglass tattoo, along with the newspaper clipping about the Freelans. But as a viewer who adores Mike Flanagan’s series and films, I honestly don’t know that I’d have been that pumped after watching had it wrapped up one or two minutes earlier. 

I feel like for that to have worked, the editor(s) would have needed to go back through the series and dull some of the most ghastly moments. Even if we don’t know ALL the facts yet, the cliffhanger at least confirms that many of the details that popped up throughout the season are meant to be explored further, as opposed to just being sprinkled throughout for cheap scare purposes. Considering the series premiere featured a record-breaking 20+ jump scares specifically because of the filmmaker’s distaste for them, I can’t truly imagine a world where Midnight Club was released without the Paragon-connected capper. And thankfully, I don’t have to.

Mike Flanagan said he’d freely go public on social media with all (or at least most of) the answers and secrets for The Midnight Club should Netflix opt out of renewing it for Season 2. So no one has to worry about this show following in the unsettled footsteps of Ryan Murphy’s The Watcher, which sparked ire amongst viewers with its own ending.

The first season of The Midnight Club can be streamed in full with a Netflix subscription, with lots of big projects still yet to debut on the streaming service. For those needing even more fear and frights, check out all the upcoming horror movies heading to theaters and beyond soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.