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'Terminator Salvation': The shocking, bummer of an ending you didn't see!

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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you don’t want to know plot details of Terminator Salvation. Seriously! You’ve been warned!

Two weeks before Terminator Salvation hit theaters, the film’s director, McG, sat in his L.A. production office for an interview with EW. He was talking about the swirl of rumors and gossip surrounding the film — about how bloggers had posted all kinds of far-fetched speculation during production and how it drove him nuts.

And then, out of nowhere, McG smiles and says, “Here’s something I’ve never talked about before…”.

Now, before we go any further, there’s some backstory about the movie’s plot you’ll need to know if you haven’t already seen it. Terminator Salvation is set in the year 2018 — after the apocalyptic Judgment Day, which was prophesied in the earlier films. There are three main characters in the story: John Connor (Christian Bale), the son of Sarah Connor who will lead the resistance against the evil Skynet; Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), the young resistance fighter who will grow up and eventually travel back in time (as seen in the 1984 original when Reese was played by Michael Biehn) to impregnate Sarah Connor with the young savior, John Connor; and Marcus Wright, a mysterious dude who’s half human, half machine programmed by Skynet (the fact that he’s unaware of this makes for some of the most poignant scenes in the film).

Okay, now back to McG’s big, juicy secret. A secret, by the way, that Bale will back up as you read on.

addCredit(“Richard Foreman”)

“There was talk on the Internet about an alternate ending where

Connor dies and they take Connor’s likeness and put it on top of Marcus

Wright’s machine body. So that it’s actually a machine that’s leading

the resistance! And the Internet caught wind of that and people went,

‘That’s bulls—! We don’t want that!'”

McG grins. “Well, that’s not really what the ending was.”

Actually, the bloggers were on the right track. Except, McG adds, the original ending actually went even further.

“Connor dies, okay? He’s dead,” McG continues. “And Marcus offers his

physical body, so Connor’s exterior is put on top of his machine body.

It looks like Connor, but it’s really Marcus underneath. And all of the

characters we care about (Kyle Reese, Connor’s wife Kate, etc.) are

brought into the room to see him and they think it’s Connor. And Connor

gets up and then there’s a small flicker of red in his eyes and he

shoots Kate, he shoots Kyle, he shoots everybody in the room. Fade to

black. End of movie. Skynet wins. F— you!”

F— you, indeed.

We tell the director that this would be the darkest, bleakest summer blockbuster ending of all time. He agrees.

“It’s the most nihilistic thing of all time. And Christian went

f—ing crazy, of course. He was insistent that it be done that way! He

wanted the bad guys to win! Can you imagine the oxygen going out of the

theater?! What just happened! It would piss you off! But maybe two

years from now, you’d think it was ballsy. But in the end, it just felt

like too much of a bummer.”

He pauses, thinking about the alternate ending that wasn’t. “Maybe we blew it.”

McG says the studio had signed off on this original dark-as-night

ending. But something about it didn’t smell right to him in the end.

How could a movie with a reported budget of $200 million and a possible

future of sequels possibly end that way?

EW sits down with Bale the next day and tells the star how McG let the cat out of the bag. Bale laughs. “There’s not much McG can keep in, is there?”

Was he really, as McG says, gung-ho to shoot that everyone-dies ending?

“I’m not the director,” says Bale. “There came to be a different

option that almost everyone, except myself, felt was the better way to

go. I took a bit of convincing, but you know, at the end of the day,

you need a director to make that call.”

But doesn’t he think that his Salvation would have been a depressing bummer, not to mention suicide at the box office?

“Done the way I saw it? No. But am I disappointed with this one? No.”

“There was talk on the Internet about an alternate ending whereConnor dies and they take Connor’s likeness and put it on top of MarcusWright’s machine body. So that it’s actually a machine that’s leadingthe resistance! And the Internet caught wind of that and people went,’That’s bulls—! We don’t want that!'”

McG grins. “Well, that’s not really what the ending was.”

Actually, the bloggers were on the right track. Except, McG adds, the original ending actually went even further.

“Connor dies, okay? He’s dead,” McG continues. “And Marcus offers hisphysical body, so Connor’s exterior is put on top of his machine body.It looks like Connor, but it’s really Marcus underneath. And all of thecharacters we care about (Kyle Reese, Connor’s wife Kate, etc.) arebrought into the room to see him and they think it’s Connor. And Connorgets up and then there’s a small flicker of red in his eyes and heshoots Kate, he shoots Kyle, he shoots everybody in the room. Fade toblack. End of movie. Skynet wins. F— you!”

F— you, indeed.

We tell the director that this would be the darkest, bleakest summer blockbuster ending of all time. He agrees.

“It’s the most nihilistic thing of all time. And Christian wentf—ing crazy, of course. He was insistent that it be done that way! Hewanted the bad guys to win! Can you imagine the oxygen going out of thetheater?! What just happened! It would piss you off! But maybe twoyears from now, you’d think it was ballsy. But in the end, it just feltlike too much of a bummer.”

He pauses, thinking about the alternate ending that wasn’t. “Maybe we blew it.”

McG says the studio had signed off on this original dark-as-nightending. But something about it didn’t smell right to him in the end.How could a movie with a reported budget of $200 million and a possiblefuture of sequels possibly end that way?

EW sits down with Bale the next day and tells the star how McG let the cat out of the bag. Bale laughs. “There’s not much McG can keep in, is there?”

Was he really, as McG says, gung-ho to shoot that everyone-dies ending?

“I’m not the director,” says Bale. “There came to be a differentoption that almost everyone, except myself, felt was the better way togo. I took a bit of convincing, but you know, at the end of the day,you need a director to make that call.”

But doesn’t he think that his Salvation would have been a depressing bummer, not to mention suicide at the box office?

“Done the way I saw it? No. But am I disappointed with this one? No.”

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