The Last Man on Earth ending

The Last Man on Earth ended on a cliffhanger, but that wasn’t how it was supposed to go out.

The post-apocalyptic Fox comedy series was cancelled earlier this summer during the same week that its fourth season hit TV screens, and in a new interview, creator/star Will Forte explains how The Last Man on Earth ending would have played out if he was able to keep the show alive for a little longer.

Like Forte himself, The Last Man on Earth was an odd, lovable comedy full of goofy characters and genuine heart. The series began with Forte’s character, Phil Tandy Miller, thinking that he was the last human being alive on the planet after a devastating virus killed a majority of the population, but as the first season went on, he learned that he was not the lone survivor. The series shifted from being about the wacky antics someone would do to stave off loneliness to being about how to keep a healthy community alive during trying times. And in the midst of it all, the show balanced laugh-out-loud jokes with moments of reflection and moving character interactions. While it fully embraced its sitcom form, there somehow wasn’t anything else on TV quite like it.

Spoilers for the show’s ending ahead.

On the latest episode of Vulture’s Good Ones podcast, Forte sat down with host Jesse David Fox to talk about the end of the show, and how it would have ended if he had his way. As it stands, season 4 ends with the group deciding to settle down for good in Mexico instead of roving around looking for a better home, and just before the final credits rolled, we see that a bunch of humans wearing gas masks (unknown survivors!) have discovered our protagonists.

The Last Man on Earth gas masks

Here’s where Forte’s explanation of his intended finale comes in:

“…there’s so many smart people in that [writers’] room, we would have found something that would have been fitting for the audience. But the way that we would have handled these [masked] people — basically they had been in this bunker and they went down when the virus had first started. They had some kind of medical expert or scientist who knew, ‘At this certain point, the virus will be dormant. You’ll be safe to get back out.’ Then they see a bunch of stragglers — us. And we represent a real threat to them, because they’d thought everything was dead, so they quarantine us.

And we eventually communicate with them a little bit. They get comfortable with us. They’re very nice people. They look scary but they end up being nice people. They’re probably a couple famous people in there hopefully, or at least one. Somebody, I don’t know. Somebody’s acting. Somebody’s the main person. And eventually we’d all get comfortable with each other, and they would kind of let one person out. They wouldn’t be scared anymore.

But then we are immune to the virus but we’re carriers. And so we would infect them and they’d die like wildfire. And then we’re back to just us. And maybe one famous person we could talk into staying around. So that would have been it.”

Forte explained that this would have happened over the course of four or five episodes, because there were some rumblings that the show could have been renewed for ten episodes to close the whole thing out. That ended up not happening, but I’m glad The Last Man on Earth had the chance to exist for as long as it did and I hope people still discover its weird comedic sensibilities even if it’s over for good.

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