Here’s the thing about the Fifty Shades movies: For the most part, these films stick to their source material. And much like the second film in the franchise, Fifty Shades Freed was written by book author E.L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard, which roughly translates to: It remained very true to the book.
However, that’s not to say the film didn’t make some changes. Although we won’t be focusing on every minor change — What about Ana and Christian almost having sex in the ocean?! What happened to Christian’s nightmares? — we have outlined a number of the larger changes that took place. (Okay, fine, and we also care about some of the smaller ones.)
1. All those wedding changes
The film dives right into the wedding, and then rushes right past it. There are vows, there’s a bit of dancing, and then Christian and Ana are off on their whirlwind honeymoon. Christian doesn’t stop on his way out to dance with Grace’s mother, there’s no final “good luck” speech from José, and there’s no big goodbye between Ana and her parents. There’s simply no time — they gotta get to all the sex!
2. No mile high club
Okay, so this is a minor change … OR IS IT?! In the book, Ana and Christian waste no time spending their wedding night on an airplane. In the movie, they might do the same, but if they do, we don’t see it. The only plane action we get involves them toasting their love with some champagne while fully clothed.
3. No prenup talk
Remember how the prenup was such a topic of discussion in the book? In case you forgot, Christian is very, very, ridiculously rich. And yet, in the film, the only money talk is whenever he tells Ana that his stuff is THEIR stuff now. That plane? It’s yours too, girl!
4. All those other honeymoon changes
In the film, Christian and Ana’s honeymoon is summed up in a number of beautiful images: The two of them on a beach, the two of them on a boat, the two of them on a hillside overlooking a beach, etc. And then when someone sets a fire at Christian’s company, they rush home. In the book, however, we get a lot more detail about what goes on during the honeymoon. There’s the big fight that happens after Christian purposefully covers Ana in hickeys so that she won’t go topless on the beach again. And then after Christian finds out about the fire, they don’t rush home. Rather, he stays on the boat to do some work while Ana and Taylor head into town — she drives her own jet ski! — so that she can do a bit of shopping. Ultimately, she buys Christian a nice camera as a surprise.
5. Christian’s song of choice
One of the more awkward/hilarious moments of the film comes when Christian randomly breaks into song and starts singing Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” when he takes Ana and the gang up to Aspen. In the book, however, he sings at a family dinner — the first one after they return from the honeymoon — and his song of choice is a bit different. He sings “Wherever You Will Go.”
6. The car chase
When it comes to the big car chase sequence, there are two minor changes. In the book, Ana drives home from the aforementioned family dinner, not from meeting Gia at their new house. Also in the book, she breaks down in tears after the car chase (but before the car sex). So yeah, the sex still happens, but she takes a moment to emote first.
7. No TV bonding
In the book, Ana and Christian get to know each other better by having sex while watching TV — mainly The X-Files — and talking about life. For example, sitting in front of a TV is the place where Christian reveals he’s never JUST made out with a girl, and she talks about her previous make-out partners, and he gets all possessive. Fun, right?!
8. No Grey Publishing
It’s made clear in the movie that Christian is Ana’s “boss’s boss’s boss,” but there’s no discussion of Christian’s ultimate plan for the company: In the book, he wants to rename it Grey Publishing and give it to Ana as a wedding present. Suddenly, Christian’s anger about Ana not wanting to change her name makes a bit more sense…
9. No love for Taylor and Mrs. Jones
Guess what! These two are a couple! You’d never know it from watching the movies, but Mrs. Jones and Taylor are an item. After all, they both spend so much time at Christian’s place, it’s kind of impossible not to be. Also missing from the film? Any mention of Taylor’s daughter. In the book, Ana seems very concerned with letting Taylor’s daughter come live with them and be with her father.
10. A lack of emails
This is a change not only from the book, but from the previous movies as well. The third and final film cuts way back on the email correspondence between Christian and Ana. I’m sure no one was bummed.
11. Jack’s arrest
Ana coming home to find an unconscious Jack had broken into her apartment is not nearly as exciting as Ana coming home to find Jack holding a knife to her throat, so you can imagine why the movie let him stay conscious for just a bit longer before Ana’s security team took him out.
12. All those Aspen changes
Much like the first two films, the third film pretends like Ethan, Kate’s brother, does not exist. Instead, it’s José who tags along on the Aspen trip, where there’s no sign of Mrs. Bentley, the woman who takes care of the house. There’s also no rain. In the book, the hike is ruined by the weather, which is why the girls go shopping and the guys go fishing. In the movie, Christian stays behind to work while everyone else gets a hike in, and that’s where Ana gets some one-on-one time with Elliot.
And then there’s the proposal: In the book, Elliot asks Kate to marry him at a restaurant before the group goes clubbing. The movie combines the events: He proposes AT the club, after which they all hit the dance floor. And speaking of the dance floor, there’s one big event missing: Ana slapping a stranger after he dances with her … followed by Christian punching him. It’s an event they clearly intended to put in the film because we saw the punch in a trailer, but it didn’t make the final cut.
13. Jack’s bail hearing
The movie features a scene where Ana stops by the courthouse for Jack’s bail hearing. Ultimately, his bail is set at $500,000, and the two make eye contact as he heads back to jail. She then heads to the bathroom and throws up, which prompts the doctor’s visit where she finds out she’s pregnant. In the book, Ana simply gets word of Jack’s bail situation. There’s no hearing. As for her pregnancy, the doctor tracks HER down after she misses her birth control shots.
14. No Leila
Sure, the film mentions Leila, but in the book, Christian’s ex-sub makes an appearance when she shows up with another of Christian’s subs — they call themselves the Sub Club — at Ana’s work. There, Leila apologizes to Ana before Christian storms in and Leila gets a chance to thank him and wish him well. It’s an event that causes Christian to fire Prescott, a member of Ana’s security team.
15. No Dr. Flynn
Much like the first two films, Christian’s psychiatrist does not make an appearance.
16. Ray is totally fine
If you didn’t read the book, you’d never know Ray was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. In the book, Ana spends many a day by her dad’s side. She even spends her birthday at the hospital — another event that doesn’t make the film. In fact, the charm bracelet you see Ana wearing on her honeymoon in the film? In the book, Christian gave that to her on her birthday, and he followed it up with a surprise party and a surprise Audi R8 of her own. (Hers was white.)
17. The big fight
We all know the story: Ana accidentally gets pregnant, Christian storms out and gets drunk with Elena. They fight. And then everything goes to hell when Jack kidnaps Mia. But in the book, the fight is a much, much bigger deal. For starters, Christian and Ana spend multiple nights apart before the kidnapping. And when Christian talks to Ana at the bank, she has to convince him that she’s leaving him. She tells him repeatedly that it’s over while he asks questions like, “Was it always about the money?”
It’s an elaborate lie that leaves Christian heartbroken … until he hears that Jack Hyde was released on bail. In the film, however, he doesn’t even shed a tear before he realizes Ana must be in trouble because there’s no way she’d leave him.
18. When Christian Met Elena
One of the bigger pieces of Christian’s background is his relationship with Elena, which, in the book, he tells Ana about in detail. He explains their first encounter and how their sexual relationship began. In the film, well, that doesn’t happen. There’s also no mention of “Linc” in the film, Elena’s ex who posted Jack’s bail in the book.
19. No moment with Carrick
Ana’s hospital stay in the film is very condensed. It’s clear that she’s unconscious for a bit, but when she wakes up, she has one talk with Christian and that’s about it. In the book, it’s much more drawn out, during which Ana has a one-on-one with Carrick when he thanks her for saving Mia’s life.