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SYFY WIRE John Carpenter

Kurt Russell and John Carpenter Discussed the Ending of The Thing "For a Long, Long Time"

"Why don't we just wait here for a little while... see what happens."

By Josh Weiss
The Thing Stills

More than four decades after he blew Outpost 31 all the way to kingdom come, Kurt Russell once again found himself confronting a horrific monster in the snow for an episode of Apple TV+'s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters series. As you can imagine, the actor's return to frigid pastures has officially set The Thing community ablaze, with many fans of the John Carpenter classic noting that Legacy of Monsters may be the closest we'll ever get to a sequel featuring the whisky-guzzling, flamethrower-toting helicopter pilot, R.J. MacReady.

RELATED: The Thing: John Carpenter & Original Producer Talk Sequel Hopes, What Could Be Next

MTV's Josh Horowitz brought up the similarities between the two projects during a recent conversation with Russell, before probing the seasoned Hollywood veteran about The Thing's ambiguous and much-debated ending. While the actor didn't have much to offer to the argument over who was a human and who was an alien, Russell did reveal that he and Carpenter agonized over how to conclude the story.

Kurt Russell talks about the ambiguous ending of John Carpenter's The Thing

"John and I talked about the ending of that movie for a long, long time. We'd trade ideas for the end," he said. "John was concerned about doing a movie that you would see for two hours plus and bring you back to square one. We tried different things and I just remember finally saying, 'John, I think this comes back to square one. I think that's what it does.' The only thing I could do was finish it with, 'Why don't we just sit here for awhile and see what happens?' It was the thing that it called for."

RELATED: Director of 2011's The Thing Prequel Reveals Sequel Would Have Taken Place Aboard Antarctic Oil Rig

And he was right. The Thing probably wouldn't be half as iconic as it is today had it featured a more clear-cut ending (an alternate scene of MacReady being rescued was filmed, but has since been lost). The endless deliberation over the fates of MacReady and Childs (Keith David) is what keeps the legacy alive. "It's fun to hear people talk about that one," Russell added. "I must say, that's a fun one."

Carpenter, meanwhile, continues to assert that he knows who was assimilated and who was still human, but vows to take the secret to his grave. "I know, but I'm not telling you ... I just feel like it's a secret that must be kept," he told SYFY WIRE when we spoke with the filmmaking legend in honor of the movie's 40th anniversary. "The gods came down and swore me to secrecy."

John Carpenter's The Thing — along with its divisive 2011 prequel — can be purchased from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the mood for more creature features? Terror of Mechagodzilla, Jumanji, King Kong, Land of the Lost, The Golem, Beast, and Jurassic World Dominion are all streaming on Peacock.