“Connor dies, okay? He’s dead,” McG recently told Entertainment Weekly in an interview discussing the original scripted ending of Terminator Salvation, which recently went on to have a disappointing Memorial Day box-office take. The interview (and this article) contain spoilers pertaining to the original film’s ending so read on only if you don’t care or have already seen the movie as McG explains the scripted ending to the film that actually was the version that got the greenlight, but never made its way to the screen.
“There was talk on the Internet about an alternate ending where Connor dies and they take Connor’s likeness and put it on top of Marcus Wright’s machine body,” McG adds referencing early talk online that appears to have been true even though at the time it was flatly denied and McG is even still unwilling to admit it saying, “Well, that’s not really what the ending was.” But it was, even if all the details weren’t in place.
“Connor dies, okay? He’s dead,” McG told EW. “And Marcus offers his physical body, so Connor’s exterior is put on top of his machine body. It looks like Connor, but it’s really Marcus underneath. And all of the characters we care about (Kyle Reese, Connor’s wife Kate, etc.) are brought into the room to see him and they think it’s Connor. And Connor gets up and then there’s a small flicker of red in his eyes and he shoots Kate, he shoots Kyle, he shoots everybody in the room. Fade to black. End of movie. Skynet wins. F— you!”
Of course this mildly resembles the moment in the now official ending when Marcus offers up his heart to save a dying John Connor in an act of compassion and not machine driven trickery, as well as a moment that could be seen from a mile away. It’s an uplifting ending, much different than what would have been a shocker of a downer ending as McG agrees.
“It’s the most nihilistic thing of all time. And Christian went f—ing crazy, of course. He was insistent that it be done that way! He wanted the bad guys to win! Can you imagine the oxygen going out of the theater?! What just happened! It would piss you off! But maybe two years from now, you’d think it was ballsy. But in the end, it just felt like too much of a bummer.” He pauses and finally adds, “Maybe we blew it.”
I agree they blew it, but I wouldn’t say it had anything to do with not including the original ending. Sure, that ending would have been interesting and something to separate this Terminator from damn near all summer blockbusters in terms of bleak endings, but the film had so many other problems it couldn’t have been saved, only slightly improved by such an ending.
What do you think?