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11 Awesome Movie Scenes That Almost Didn’t Happen

 

Somewhat infamously, movies don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to. When you throw together so many creators and talents and ask them to sing from the same hymn sheet, things are bound to turn fluid pretty quickly. That’s why there are so many stories of alternate cuts of classic movies and why so many of them are completely unrecognisable from their earliest scripts.

A lot of the time, the changes work out well (given the state of some deleted and alternate scenes), but you have to wonder about those genius ideas and moments that ultimately didn’t make it into films that could have vastly improved them. That might sound fanciful, but there is evidence that some movie scenes that were only added at the very last minute – or which weren’t planned to happen at all – ended up being the best thing about their films.

Just imagine the others that could have been on this list…

11. ‘Pool Cleans Up – Deadpool 2

Fox

Ever since X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released, Ryan Reynolds had something hanging over his head. In his eagerness to bring Deadpool to screen, the actor became part of one of the worst mistreatments of any comic book movie character as ‘Pool became a laughable bastardisation of the beloved figure from the comics.

In Deadpool 2, though, he fixed that problem, using the finale’s time travel montage to go back and do some housekeeping, including stopping Ryan Reynolds from signing on to Green Lantern and killing off the Origins version of Wade Wilson. It’s legitimately one of the greatest meta comic book movie moments ever, and it almost didn’t happen.

It turns out that using the footage from Origins was actually a bit of a ball-ache, as Reynolds later revealed:

We had a dick of a time trying to get the actual raw footage though from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The movie was shot on film, it wasn’t shot on digital so it was harder to get. We were sitting there on the Fox lot, the exact piece of the movie we need had been damaged on whatever the transfer was, so we had to go to some backup which was in some vault somewhere in the middle of the country, the United States, and we ended up finally, at the last second inputting it into the movie.

For me, I was literally losing sleep over it though, I was thinking ‘oh my god, how are we going to do this, am I going to have to call Hugh and ask him to shoot this chunk that looks exactly like a movie he’s already done?’ I can’t think of a worse hell for a human being to do.

To be honest, it’s a pretty big shame they didn’t have to get Jackman to come back.

10. Darth Vader’s Massacre – Rogue One

Lucasfilm

Say what you want about the infamous Rogue One reshoots, but they definitely improved the movie (or they at least didn’t destroy it entirely as some people had suspected they might).

Sure, they meant that lots of footage from the marketing campaign didn’t actually make it into the movie, but they were responsible for one of the movie’s most enthralling, impactful (and let’s be honest, fan-baiting) scenes of all: the moment Darth Vader shows what he’s made of.

Rogue One’s version of Vader is a horror movie villain, mostly silent and menacing and more about presence than acts of villainy. That changes right at the end when we get to see him terrifyingly cut down a troop of Rebel soldiers in his attempt to retrieve the Death Star plans. He goes from 1 to 11 in a matter of seconds and cements his reputation perfectly.

And to think, this was one of the last scenes added in the reshoots and was close to not happening at all.

9. Bohemian Rhapsody – Wayne’s World

Paramount Pictures

As Mike Myers revealed recently on Stephen Colbert’s show while talking up Bohemian Rhapsody’s release, the iconic headbanging scene in Wayne’s World was almost completely different. The original script called for Wayne to play Guns N Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” in the scene, but Myers put his foot down.

Despite having basically no pulling power at the time and zero track record as a film star, Myers insisted that either Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was to be played or he would walk away from the film entirely. He had grown up listening to the song and it meant a lot more to him, hence his willingness to go to bat for it.

Stunningly, he got his own way and one of the most famous musical scenes of all time was committed to film.

8. Loki’s Shape-Shifting – Thor: The Dark World

Marvel Studios

Look, nobody here is going to try and tell you that Thor: The Dark World is a great film, even though some people improbably love it a lot more than it deserved, but it does deserve a little credit for some of its genuinely good moments. Sure, they’re studded far too sparsely in a boring mess of a film whose production issues and creative battles are emblazoned on it way too obviously, but they still count.

Chief among the best parts of the film are pretty much every scene Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is involved with. Even as the rest of the film sags, his performance shines and he’s just about the only character who emerged with his reputation improved. That’s probably why Thor: Ragnarok bothered to acknowledge this movie at all in its Odin sub-plot.

Oddly, one of the best Loki scenes – in which he shape-shifts to annoy Thor – wasn’t in the film at all initially and was a “very, very late addition” according to director Alan Taylor.

7. Spaghetti Romance – Lady And The Tramp

Disney

Infamously, PL Travers almost stopped Walt Disney from including the animated sequences and the musical numbers in Mary Poppins, but the great man convinced her to relent and a classic was born. What is less well-known is the fact that Uncle Walt was on the other side of that decision

The spaghetti date scene is without doubt the most famous moment in Disney’s 1955 animation, but Walt Disney himself thought the whole idea was a bit far-fetched and initially cut it from the film’s first storyboards.

“Walt wasn’t convinced that that would be a very clean-cut scene,” former Disney archivist Steven Vagnini told Yahoo Movies. “As you can imagine, if you have two pets and they eat a plate of spaghetti, it’s hard to envision that being too graceful.”

6. The Head – Jaws

Universal Pictures

Jaws is basically the archetypal example of how not to make a movie. Beset by production issues and the naivety of the film-maker, the shoot remarkably overran by more than 100 days, the sea made dependable shooting impossible and the infamously broken shark meant Steven Spielberg basically had to make the film on the fly.

It should have sunk to the ocean floor like a boat with a hole bitten out of it, which is a pretty professional segue into the key scene that almost didn’t make it into the final film. If you were to ask people what traumatised them the most about Jaws, it’s likely they’ll either cite the first kill, Quint being bitten in half, the cage attack or – more than anything – Ben Gardner’s head poking out of his wrecked hull.

Unthinkably, the best scare in the whole film wasn’t even in the version that screened to test audiences and their lack of reactions made Spielberg go back and add it in. So you can thank those unphased guinea pigs for you having to change your underwear when you first watched it.

5. Indy Can’t Be Bothered – Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Paramount Pictures

As has been pretty infamously discussed over the years, one of the most enjoyable moments in the entire Indiana Jones franchise was an improvised necessity borne out of Harrison Ford having a bad stomach.

In Raiders, when Indy is faced with an ostentatious sword-wielding baddy in the marketplace, he brilliantly reacts to his apparent menace by simply drawing his gun and shooting him dead. It’s one of those little moments that cements Jones’ reputation as a slightly different breed of action hero – owing a little more to the cynicism of John McClane than the swash-buckling heroism of the Golden Age of the genre.

The scene wouldn’t have gone that way, though, if Ford had been able to follow the script. There was supposed to be an elaborate sword fight between the two, but Ford was so ill that day that he demanded a shorter scene. The duel was cut, the gunshot was added and Ford was allowed to return to the safety of his toilet quicker.

4. Shawarma – The Avengers

Marvel Studios

Not every great scene needs to be entirely transformative to a film’s plot. Some of the most memorable and the most talked about can be throw-away moments that add something to the mythology of the characters, which is very much the case with the hastily added mid-credits scene that came with The Avengers.

Initially, the film’s only post-credits content was the reveal of Thanos but Joss Whedon decided that wasn’t enough and decided to build in a punch-line to Tony Stark’s mention of shawarma earlier in the film. Remarkably, he somehow got Marvel to agree to shoot the scene two days AFTER the world premiere, which has to be the latest reshoot ever on record.

In the process, Marvel beat Warner Bros to the punch by several years in the race to deal with an actor returning for reshoots with non-removable facial hair. They simply slapped a big rubber chin on Chris Evans (who had grown a beard for Snowpiercer) and made him cover it with his hand…

3. Damien’s Smile – The Omen

20th Century Fox

Richard Donner knows a thing or two about alternate cuts of movies, having been involved in one of the most notorious of all time in Superman II, but it wasn’t the only time his vision didn’t quite sit with the way the film was originally intended to be released. It happened when he made The Omen too.

Originally, that film was set to end with Damien and his entire adoptive family dead, suggesting, somehow that the actual devil could be killed, which sort of spoils the whole mythology of the character. And the chance for potentially lucrative (though mostly terrible) sequels.

Donner decided that couldn’t happen and turned to the studio to change things, which they greenlit to allow Donner to preserve Damien to terrorise more victims another day. And in the process, we got that haunting shot of the Devil Spawn turning to the camera and smiling weirdly before the end credits as the audience feels the pits of their stomachs fill with dread.

2. The Death Fake-Out – Fatal Attraction

MGM

Michael Myers and Halloween might have basically invented the “he’s not really dead” fake-out that all horror movies now seem to use as a staple, but there’s never been a finer example of the trope than in Fatal Attraction.

The movie that invented the “bunny boiler” term might not have been the most progressive, nor the most forgiving of human error but there’s no denying the simple appeal in the horror of a man (Michael Douglas) almost killed for his sins.

Ultimately, karma doesn’t get him – even though it probably should, on the balance of things – and instead, he and his way too forgiving wife end up killing said bunny boiler, played by Glenn Close. It takes both of them because she somehow survives a vigorous drowning only to be shot at the last minute by Douglas’ wife.

It’s a memorable scene that seemed to make Close’s character almost supernatural, but it almost didn’t even make the film as the original ending had her grimly slitting her throat to implicate Douglas, who was arrested. Talk about your downer endings. Unfortunately for everyone who rightly believed he deserved it, test audiences didn’t think much of it and we ended up with a classic ending all the same.

1. The Bike Flight – E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Universal Pictures

The history of ET movies could have been vastly different to what we actually got thanks to the still-mind-boggling suggestion that there was almost a sequel that would have been a horror movie called Night Skies that would have smushed the original’s more light-hearted spirit into the mud.

In reality, the original ET was almost a lot less uplifting than it became and we have test audiences to thank for that change in tone. Initially, Spielberg’s first version ended on the downer note of ET being killed off, which predictably didn’t go down well with the test audiences, because nobody likes seeing characters they’ve just fallen in love with horribly murdered by the government.

The reactions changed the film and we ended up getting to see ET escape the government stooges, including the iconic bike in front of the moon shot that is now pretty much the defining image of Spielberg’s career. And to think, it was basically an after-thought.

 

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