Luca initial ending

Like all Pixar movies, Luca went through several significant changes on its path to its final cut – including a wildly different ending that was totally overhauled by the time the completed version was finished. The studio is famous for breaking down its stories over and over again until they shape the story into its ideal form, and for Luca, part of that process involved cutting out an initial ending which involved a kraken. Liam Neeson, eat your heart out.

During a recent interview with Luca director Enrico Casarosa, the filmmaker told me that the original pitch for the movie felt more like Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me than what it ended up becoming. “There was a larger group, we had another kid with Luca and Alberto as a sea monster,” Casarosa said:

“His name was Ciccio, so we recast him as a goon for our [villain] Ercole, and they were on a bigger quest. They were going to become human. They were going to turn fully human, and there were magical tokens, and we realized that it needed to be more focused on the friendship. We got rid of the third wheel, we kept Luca and Alberto a little more at the center, and we realized that is really what we’re interested in here.”

Release the Kraken

Along with realizing that the film’s focus needed to be on those two primary characters, Casarosa and screenwriters Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones also decided to pare down the scale of the story’s climax. “We also didn’t have our ending, so that was a key thing,” Casarosa said:

“We had a big ending with a kraken, Alberto turning into a kraken magically and Luca was going to protect him and defend him. And we realized that we want to tell a smaller kid-like movie world here, so the monster movie ending – which was very much about the two factions, very much about two worlds against each other – that might work with the Romeo and Juliet version of the story, but it didn’t really work for the one that we more and more fell in love with.”

The decision to zoom in and take away some of that scale helps give Luca an identity that is unlike most other Pixar movies, and also seems to give the story a bit more room to relish its quieter, more peaceful moments. I encourage you to read our review of the movie, which explores why those moments are among the film’s best.

Luca is available to stream on Disney+ right now.

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