Spoilers for Gravity follow.

Alfonso Cuarón won a Best Director Oscar for Gravity, so it’s safe to assume he knew what he was doing when he made the science fiction thriller starring Sandra Bullock. And yet, the studio really wanted the filmmaker to change the picture’s ending. According to Cuarón’s pal Guillermo del Toro, producers tried to make Cuarón tack on a needless rescue scene during the Gravity ending, but Cuarón stuck to his guns – and took home an Academy Award for his troubles.

In case you need a refresher, Gravity, the 2013 sci-fi film that throws one problem after another at astronaut Sandra Bullock, concludes with Bullock’s character crashing down to earth into a lake, and emerging from the water in a manner that recalls the stage of evolution when life first stepped out of the sea and onto land. And then the movie ends. That’s it – we don’t see where Bullock goes from there, or what happens next. And that works wonderfully – her journey is concluded, and in a sense, she’s been reborn. Here’s the scene in question, in case you want to see it.

Gravity Ending

But that wasn’t good enough for the studio heads, who wanted director Alfonso Cuarón to add a somewhat more generic ending. Fellow filmmaker and close Cuarón friend Guillermo del Toro spilled the beans on Twitter, as he’s wont to do. According to del Toro, the studio was hoping that Cuarón would add some shots of helicopters coming to rescue Bullock, and Cuarón was having none of it.

I’m glad Cuarón stuck with what he knew was right, and I’m glad he was able to get away with it without the studio forcing his hand. The ending works well as-is – the whole movie is essentially Bullock’s own personal journey. Throwing in some random helicopters coming to save her at the very last minute would almost feel like a cheat. This is an experience she needed to go through on her own, and now she’s done. We don’t need everything spelled out for us – we can draw our own conclusions as to what happens next.

“I think rebirth in many ways is part of the journey for everybody, not only every human in Earth, but it’s also the journey of great characters. Great characters in literature or in cinema they go through the stages of rebirth and of a new understanding,” Cuarón said of the ending in the past. “And also while in the dirt, [that] was something that we wanted to have as a nurturing aspect of life. A character who has to reconnect to her inner nurturing side. The amazing side of life, that keeps us alive. Even if inside you feel you want to die, there’s a bigger life impulse that keeps us alive.”

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