World War Z's super-dark, pre-Lindelof ending finally revealed

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Jun 24, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT (Updated)

Despite all odds, Brad Pitt’s zombie epic World War Z had a very respectable opening this weekend and is garnering some solid reviews from fans and critics alike. A big part of that buzz comes from the final act, which is a taut bit of filmmaking that had to be rewritten and reshot after the studio figured out the original ending was a trainwreck.

So how the heck was this flick supposed to end the first time around, before Damon Lindelof was brought in to completely rejigger the ending into something resembling a finale? The folks at have the answer, and it’s pretty obvious why the studio pulled the plug and opted for such a massive reshoot.

As we’ve already heard, the new ending kicks in when Brad Pitt’s character boards that plane toward the late-middle of the film. But in the original version, things went a whole lot differently from there. In the original cut, Pitt’s character is captured by the Russians and forced to join the zombie-fighting military for a very long time.

While he’s gone, it’s implied that his wife has to start trading her body to keep herself and their children safe, which eventually sets Pitt’s character on a globetrotting trip back to find his family. It’s (really, really) dark, and sounds like a scattered, narrative mess.

Check out an excerpt from the breakdown below, and click here to read the whole thing:

“The plane Gerry and Segen board is bound for Moscow. Upon safely landing, everyone on board is rounded up by the military. The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry's cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia's zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter. He looks almost dead inside, but the reality is that over this time he's become an experienced and ruthless zombie killer, and he's the leader of his own equally capable unit...

Gerry reaches Karin. He explains to her that the cold is the way they'll win battles, which does her no good because it just so happens she and the kids are in a refugee camp in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. They're in the type of camp where you have to have something to trade to survive, and it just so happens the one thing Karin had to trade was herself. She doesn't explicitly tell Gerry this, but after she hastily hangs up the phone we see that she's in some kind of reluctantly consensual relationship with the soldier who rescued them from the rooftop at the beginning of the movie.”

Quite a bit of this story was actually filmed before the studio starting reworking the film, though it’s doubtful the studio will actually ever release it. Here’s hoping at least some of those scenes will show up on the Blu-ray.

Did you prefer the final, rewritten ending or this insane original?


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