The One Scene That Made M3GAN A Horror Icon Wasn't In The Original Script

This post contains spoilers for "M3GAN."

When Blumhouse and Universal Pictures first released the teaser poster for "M3GAN" shortly before CinemaCon, the immediate buzz was about the uncanny valley resemblance the A.I. powered robot doll had to both the robot baby version of Renesmee Cullen from the "Twilight" franchise, and to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Little did anyone know that M3GAN would soon be the next horror icon. 

Just before the winter holidays, the trailer for "M3GAN" dropped online and the landscape of horror changed forever. M3GAN had style, M3GAN had grace, M3GAN had a terrifying sprint on all fours, and M3GAN had some absolutely killer dance moves. The combination of M3GAN's otherworldly appearance and the unexpected fluidity of aerial flips in a hallway as a means of threatening a prospective victim was all anyone needed to completely give themselves over to begin worshipping at the altar of M3GAN.

Thanks to other friends 'til the end like Annabelle and of course, Chucky, killer dolls are nothing new. But with a few seconds of dancing like Maddie Ziegler in a Sia video, M3GAN had immediately differentiated herself from the dolls that came before. Sure, Chucky can wield weapons as well (if not better) than any masked slasher, but can our overall-clad Good Guy do a body roll? An army of M3GAN lookalikes began popping up everywhere from "The Tonight Show" to NFL games, all armed with a blank stare, blonde wig, and unsettling choreography. Movie fans had caught a bit of dancin' M3GAN fever, and the only cure was, well, seeing her perform in theaters as soon as possible.

And to think — the M3GAN dance that set the world on fire wasn't even in the original script.

The natural evolution

"M3GAN" has been in the works with James Wan and Jason Blum for nearly five years, with Wan tapping "Malignant" and "Hell Fest" screenwriter Akela Cooper to pen the script, and Gerard Johnstone of "Housebound" fame to direct. Originally, "M3GAN" was written as an R-rated A.I. slasher comedy with much more gore, but was edited to snag a PG-13 rating, in order to reach as wide of an audience range as possible. There was plenty of fun to be found in the script, but there was no dance scene. The moment came at the suggestion of Johnstone, who wanted to include the dance as the next step in the natural evolution of the character as she learns more about the world around her.

Fortunately, no one objected to the idea of M3GAN slaying before the slashing. During /Film's interview with Johnstone, he said that, "Strangely, I think everyone was on board from the get-go." The dance had stayed under the radar for a long time, but there was never a concern that it wouldn't happen. "I think everyone just thought it was a really fun, exciting, new idea, and by then, they were already having so much fun with her character that it just felt like the natural next place to take it," said Johnstone.

In an age of TikTok dance trends, M3GAN was arriving at the perfect time. Fans were immediately hypnotized by her moves, and she rightfully went viral. "Here's the thing. You can't really force something to go viral," James Wan told SYFY Wire. "When something latches on to the zeitgeist, it just does." He's right. The dance sequence in "M3GAN" wasn't included in the hopes that she'd suddenly go viral; it was, as Johnstone suspected it would be, the "natural" next step.

The new teen dream

M3GAN is an A.I. with a directive to take care of young Cady (Violet McGraw), and is constantly learning new information to keep her safe and entertained. Considering Cady is a tweenager, it makes complete sense that M3GAN would pick up on pop culture. She and Cady are seen dancing together during their many hangouts, and she even learns the lyrics to David Guetta and Sia's song "Titanium," which she sings to Cady as a twisted replacement for a lullaby. 

"The story is about an A.I. android that learns, and the more time she spends with the little girl, the more human qualities she picks up. Dancing is just one of the things that Cady teaches M3GAN to do," James Wan told SYFY Wire. "So of course M3GAN uses it in a sassy way just before she tries to kill someone." Actor and dancer Amie Donald played M3GAN in scenes that required complex movement, performing impressive dance moves with perfect execution, and providing a terrifying juxtaposition to her robotic face.

M3GAN's hallway dance scene is just the beginning of her reign of terror. In the wild, animals that lack strong defenses often engage in deimatic displays, or bluffing behaviors to distract, scare off, or confuse predators. While M3GAN's childlike appearance and size may, like other killer dolls, incorrectly lull fully-grown adults into a false sense of safety, nothing about M3GAN's dance moves are deimatic. She's in control and in charge, and she's warning everyone that she's ready to bring the pain.

In step. On beat. And with flair.