This Is The End Had A Planned Post-Credits Scene That Was Never Shot

The premise of Seth Rogen's and Evan Goldberg's 2013 comedy "This Is the End" was ambitious. A group of Hollywood actors, all playing exaggerated versions of themselves, are merrily whiling the night away at a depraved mansion-bound party when the Biblical rapture takes place. The central joke of the film is that none of the Hollywood actors ascend to Heaven, and they keep on partying as if nothing has happened. It takes the Earth trembling and breaking apart for them to realize that something is going on. The film that follows is a hilarious survival story wherein a class of people specially ill-equipped to deal with the apocalypse. Comedians and actors don't necessarily possess a lot of survival skills, and the stars must learn to put aside their massive, massive egos and try to live with each other holed up together as the world succumbs to encroaching demons outside.

Rogen and Goldberg are laidback and affable people, making them pretty laidback and affable directors. In a 2013 interview they conducted for ScreenAnarchy, the pair talked about the tone on set and how there was a lot of joking around among the cast. Improv was encouraged, and gag reels were inevitable. It would take Rogen stepping into the center of his ensemble and using his code word, "Settle," to tell them to, in his words, "Shut the f*** up and start acting."

It's hard to spoil a film as relaxed as "This Is the End," but here comes a big spoiler. 

The ending is ultimately a happy one, as some of the actors — only some of them — learn that being selfless is a more Heavenly way to live, and if they do noble things then they too will ascend to Heaven. And while several characters end up partying in Paradise with the Backstreet Boys, it turns out that Goldberg and Rogen also wanted to have a brief epilogue in Hell.

Heaven and Hell

The vision of Heaven in "This Is the End" matches a caricaturized version of the Christian afterlife as typically seen in old Warner Bros. cartoons: a lot of clouds, people dressed in white, golden halos, etc. Also, your every wish can be magically granted, and Rogen uses his halo to light a joint and magically manifests a Segway, something he wasn't able to ride in life. And, just to make sure everyone is in a good mood, The Backstreet Boys arrive to perform one of their signature songs. The world may be over, and all the main characters may be dead, but everyone is in a better place. 

However, originally "This Is the End" would have featured a post-credits stinger that delved into Hell, revealing what had happened to those who never ascended. Jonah Hill and James Franco would have ended up in The Bad Place. But Rogen and Goldberg eventually scrapped the idea when they realized their version of Hell would be nowhere near as good as the once seen in Pete Hewitt's 1991 film "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey." As they recalled:

Rogen: "No one could possibly do it better than 'Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey,' so..."

Goldberg: "We did briefly write a hell sequence where Franco and Jonah were smoking weed with Hitler."

Rogen: "But we just thought, too soon. That's what we concluded, ultimately."

Goldberg: "If we make a sequel, we'll probably start in Hell."

Rogen: "Yeah, exactly. But yeah, 'Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey' ... It was a good Hell. What can I say?"

Goldberg: "We're no 'Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.'"

One of Hollywood's last spiritual filmmakers

Apart from Terrence Malick and Martin Scorsese, Rogen is one of the few Hollywood directors who is interested in delving directly into matters of religion and spirituality. "This Is the End" may be a raunchy comedy about actors panicking mixed with a sendup of the various "Left Behind" films (Christian movies that take place on Earth following the Rapture), but it's also about decency, ego, and the lightweight, forgiving attitudes that allow one into Heaven. Rogen also went on to write a very, very raunchy animated comedy called "Sausage Party" about the existential horror that anthropomorphic grocery items go through when they realize that humans are not gods, but beings out to eat them. The film is explicitly atheist. 

So "This Is the End" should be read as an actual moral parable, however laidback it may be, and however weed-centric many of the film's jokes are. Though Rogen didn't send James Franco to Hell, he did draw a line in working with his longtime collaborator and friend again. When Franco was accused of sexual misconduct in 2018, Rogen said that he would no longer make films with him. Franco and Rogen had appeared in multiple films together, including "Pineapple Express" and "The Interview." 

"This Is the End" is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms everywhere.