Edge Of Tomorrow Had An Alternate Ending That Was Even More Confusing

It's time to strap into your exosuit. "Edge of Tomorrow" was the sci-fi sleeper hit of 2014 we had all been waiting for and gave Tom Cruise the perfect vehicle to explore time-travel shenanigans through the cold-blooded lens of all-out war.

Doug Liman's sci-fi action film stars Cruise as William Cage, a cocky U.S. Army Major with zero combat experience who's forced to join a landing operation against a race of alien predators known as Mimics. But when Cage is exposed to alien blood, he develops their ability to loop through time, allowing him to find different ways to defeat the alien invaders.

Based on the 2004 novel "All You Need Is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the film already had a built-in fanbase before it debuted. But some fans, new and old, weren't so fussed about the film's ending. Essentially, Cage learns a valuable lesson by the end of the movie, but some folks felt he should have had a more finite end. It turns out, this was on the cards in some of the script's early versions.


Throughout "Edge of Tomorrow," we're shown Cage's ability to loop through time. It's the pivotal device the entire movie hinges on, with Cage eventually training alongside The Angel of Verdun, aka Rita "Rose" Vrataski (Emily Blunt). He's determined to shift the odds in humanity's favor, and that means stepping up.

But no amount of military training will prepare him for what's about to go down. Cage and Vrataski locate a powerful Mimic known as the Omega, who studies the battlefield and loops time in order to always ensure that the Mimics win. Unfortunately, Cage is gravely injured when they try to take it down, and he's given a blood transfusion, stripping him of his ability to loop time.

The entire film revolves around the United Defense Force and its invasion of France to take the country back from the alien invaders. And while it plays out many times in the movie, this final run is the only one that matters. Upon landing in Paris, Cage's entire squad sacrifices themselves to ensure Cage and Vrataski get to the Omega. And then one particularly nasty Mimic, an Alpha, which has the power to reset time loops itself, kills Vrataski and wounds Cage. All looks lost. But before he dies, Cage manages to drop a grenade belt, destroying the Omega, the Alpha, and all their fellow Mimics. And as a dying Cage floats down into the Omega's blood, he seemingly gains the ability to loop through time once more.

Awaking several days before the invasion, right back at the beginning of the film, Cage has avoided certain death. What's more, he's now in an alternate timeline where an energy blast has wiped out all known Mimics just as the UDF touch down in France. His squad mates are all still alive, including Vrataski, and while they may not know who he is, it looks as though Cage has saved the day, and become a changed man in the process.


One of the things some fans hated about "Edge of Tomorrow" was that William Cage lives at the end.

Many simply felt that William Cage's story would have been all the more poignant if he sacrificed himself to save his squad and the woman he has clearly fallen in love with. Well, it turns out there was one version of the script where Cage didn't get the happy ending after all... but it was a bit dark, and a bit confusing.

Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who has worked with Cruise on numerous projects as a writer and director, explained what happened, via MovieWeb:

"When Tom loses the power, and they go to Paris, and Tom is preparing the team as they go into Paris where he's telling them the rules of the movie, he tells the team everything the audience knows. Basically, he told them: 'Kill as many Mimics as you want, but do not kill an Alpha. If you kill an alpha we'll be right back here having this conversation, and we won't even know it. The enemy will know we're coming and they'll kill us all.'"

A rather ominous speech... and it looks like that's what happened, originally:

"When they get to Paris there's the classic horror movie scene where one of them gets separated from the group, and he gets attacked by an Alpha and kills it. As he kills it, you see the Omega reset the day and you see the point-of-view of the villain. We cut to the plane and hear the same speech all over again. This time when he gets to the line, 'You can bet they'll have a plan to kill us all,' the ship gets hit. As the audience, you realize the enemy knows they're coming. The problem was you were so exhausted by the time you got to that point."


Ultimately, the ending where everyone dies was scrapped in favor of a more upbeat conclusion. Although the alternate ending is certainly far smarter, you have to admit — getting to that point where it starts to click into place sounds like one hell of a slog. Instead, they ended up going with a much happier ending and that was all down to Tom Cruise.

"I was always arguing it has to end on the helicopter," said McQuarrie. "You have to be thrown back to wondering, 'Did the movie even happen? Did any of this really happen?' To that end, there were a million things you had to do with the writing and visually, to serve that ending. That presented a lot of challenges and debate for us."

McQuarrie explained that Tom Cruise felt the movie needed to be a bit lighter, and the ending that sees everyone die was eventually scrapped:

"We really struggled to deliver what the movie needed to be emotionally. I know the ending was somewhat controversial, with some people who didn't like it. I think the only way to make those people happy would be to end the movie in a way that wasn't happy. We weren't interested in doing that. It needed to end in a way that wasn't harsh."

The theatrical ending almost feels like a compromise, with Cage's entire squad, as well as Vrataski, having no idea what went down. Meanwhile, Cage is a better man for it. It's not quite the poignant act of self-sacrifice that would have made Cage a legend, but it's still a neat way to tie it all up.