Those few of you who’ve seen “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” did you like how the film ends? It’s not quite the same as the comic book, partly because the adaptation was scripted before Brian Lee O’Malley released the final volume of his “Scott Pilgrim” graphic novels (“Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour”). But there could have been other ways to conclude the story of Pilgrim (Michael Cera) battling seven evil exes to win the heart of dream girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and in fact one was even shot.
If you haven’t yet seen the movie, you might not want to continue reading, though as I’ve said before this isn’t a movie that’s ruined by plot spoilers. However, if one of the alternate endings had made the final cut it’s possible the twist would have me thinking differently.
First, a reminder of how the film in theaters ends: Scott is defeated by Gideon but uses his extra life and gets a do-over — which is almost like an alternative ending in of itself. He returns to Gideon’s club, kills him with the “Power of Self-Respect” sword, “defeats” Nega-Scott by befriending the darker version of himself, is told by Ramona to get back with Knives, is told by Knives to get back to Ramona, the latter happens and, voila, happy ending.
Remove the last few bits of that ending and you have the originally shot version, which has been confirmed in interviews and described in detail by someone who saw it this way in a test screening. As posted to Poptimal, here are the two differences between that test version and the reshot final cut:
The Original Ending
The first significant change comes after the fight with Evil Exes Five and Six, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi. Scott jumps off the stage to confront Gideon, but is intercepted by Knives. The scene plays out the same as the finalized version of the film till the very end of the clip. Scott walks away, leaving Knives by herself in the crowd. As Knives looks in the direction that Scott left, the black box that gives out character information as seen early in the movie (e.g. Scott Pilgrim, Age 23, Rating Awesome) pops up again displaying Knives Chau, Age 18.
The next major change occurs after Scott “deals” with Nega-Scott. Meeting up with Knives on the street, Scott and her look off into the distance where Ramona stands in the street. A silent understanding takes place between Ramona and Scott where each understands that Scott is better suited to be with Knives. Ramona walks off into the darkness and Scott and Knives share a kiss. The movie comes to an end with the two of them at the arcade laughing, having a good time playing the Ninja DDR game.
It’s also worth reading an older post at Collider that quotes Winstead and Ellen Wong (Knives) talking about their reactions to the changed ending. Apparently the alternate ending (and maybe the Knives character info?) will show up as an extra on the film’s DVD.
The unshot alternative ending, which would reveal the whole film to be a dream, has been now confirmed by The Playlist. Co-writer/director Edgar Wright told them the idea was to shoot at least a news report saying a local teen has killed seven people. Basically Pilgrim is revealed to be a serial killer who more realistically murdered Ramona’s exes and then dreamed up a video game-inspired alternative version in his head. Kind of reminds me of “American Psycho,” actually.
“Yeah, we nearly shot that on video during the reshoots,” Wright told The Playlist. “But dammit, we only had 6 hours of night and no time to do it — [it] would have been funny.”
I could see this other ending also being included as an extra on the DVD, maybe drawn out the way Wright did the “Shaun of the Dead” plot hole clarifications on that film’s DVD. The Playlist also found a fake newspaper article posted to the webcomic Half-Assed Commitment, which Wright could utilize in this bonus feature.
Which ending do you think works best? O’Malley’s, the final cut “Ramona Ending,” the test screening cut “Knives Ending” or the unfortunately never shot “Serial Killer Ending”?
Follow Spout on Twitter (@Spout) and be a fan on Facebook
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic)