Andy Muschietti‘s directorial debut, Mama, is in theaters today. Produced by Guillerno Del Toro, it stars Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the guardians of two feral children lost for five years. When the kids come back to society, they bring something back with them, the spiritual being known as Mama. For more on the making of the film, check out our visit to the set.

Being as this is a Del Toro production, very few things about the movie are conventional, especially the ending, which is sure to have lots of people talking. At a recent press day for the film, the director and producer discussed the ending and explained that major, major preparations were made expecting major studio push back. Were they needed? Read below but beware of major spoilers.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MAMA BELOW.

In the film, the two girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse) do their best to assimilate back into society. For Victoria, who had memories of her life before spending 5 years being raised by a ghost in the woods, it’s difficult but it works. Lilly, unfortunately, isn’t able to come back to humanity and happily sacrifices herself with Mama at the end. Yes, Muschietti and Del Toro kill a little girl at the end of Mama. Here’s Muschiette:

That’s the only ending possible. You as an audience are sort of cheated to believe things will go well. You start thinking this girl can be recovered, but there’s nothing to be recovered too because she doesn’t know this world. Her attachment to Mama is complete, stronger, she doesn’t know anything else like Victoria does because she was 3 years old. So that’s the happy ending, her going to Mama.

Del Toro jumps in:

Her happy ending. I made sure, for that, ending, that I had final cut. I was amassing the weapons of mass destruction in case it was needed. We financed the movie in a way that we had autonemy in the decisions, that we could preserve the ending and after all those preperations, we send it to the studio and the studio says ‘We love it.’ And we said ‘Really?’ Because in my experience that normally doen’t happen. I was really prepared for that and really prepared for some of the choices. I wish I could tell you I went in a room and slammed my hand and punched. We prepared but it was really super easy.

So there you have it. The pair felt the ending was essential to the movie but the studio was fine with it. Do you agree that it makes sense? What did you think of Mama?

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