There's an abundance of sci fi and fantasy films out there that geeks among us swear by. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter have come to define the best of their respective genres through intricate stories and complex characters. But what if Darth Vader wasn't redeemed at the end of Return of the Jedi? What if Sam was the one to destroy the ring instead of Frodo? What if Harry had kept all three Deathly Hallows? Here, we'll examine what would have happened if the endings for these three opuses went down the road not taken.
Picture this: Luke fails to redeem his father from the dark side. Choosing between his master and son, Darth Vader decides to remain loyal to the Emperor. Luke dies in horrible pain at the hands of the Emperor's lightning attack. The Emperor then orders Vader to throw his son's body into the chasm he was thrown down in the actual ending, and Vader obliges. Leia, through her connection with Luke, feels his death and becomes demoralized. Though Luke is dead, this does not stop Lando and Wedge from destroying the Death Star, killing Vader and the Emperor. However, before his death, the Emperor orders one final laser blast, which destroys the Home One and kills Admiral Ackbar along with the crewmen onboard. The collateral explosion also takes out several Rebel fighters. Though the day has been won, the Rebel fleet is in tatters and the Alliance faces an uncertain future. The Jedi are now completely extinct, and with the last of their fire extinguished from the universe, the Empire is the real winner in the conflict.
Lord of the Rings
On the precipice of Mount Doom, Frodo finally succumbs to the evil powers of the ring and claims it for his own. Before he can react, Sam is momentarily knocked senseless by Gollum. Gollum then proceeds to bite off Frodo’s finger and holds the ring up, finally united with his precious. Enraged, Frodo attacks Gollum, and in their thrashing, the ring is knocked out of both their hands and onto the ground. Just as Sam awakes, Frodo and Gollum go too close to the cliff and both tumble into the fires of the mountain. In his immense grief, Sam is able to resist the ring’s power and throws it into the pit, eliminating Sauron once and for all. When Gandalf ascends to Mount Doom with the Eagles, he finds only Sam on a rock surrounded by lava, weeping for his dear friend. Though Sam is honored as the destroyer of the ring, he feels empty and torn in two after the death of his best friend. And so, after writing down the Fellowship’s story in the Red Book of Westmarch, Sam boards a ship in the Grey Havens and sails to the Elven homeland of Valinor, never to return.
At the conclusion of the last book, Harry decides to keep all three Deathly Hallows, instead of just the Elder Wand. Though Hermione cautions him against the power the objects contain, Harry waves this off, figuring he can use the might of the Hallows for good. A few years pass, and Harry becomes the most powerful magic user of the century, using the Hallows to embody power, life, and unseen shadows—thereby controlling death itself. He even becomes the youngest Minister of Magic to be elected, ushering wizards and witches into a new golden age. However, Hermione's warning begins to ring true, as the immense power that Harry possesses begins to corrupt him. Making a series of impassioned speeches, Minister Potter announces that magic users are far superior to lowly muggles, and that the time has come for them to rise up and become the dominant force on the planet. Enraptured by his rhetoric, wizards and witches alike make war on non magic users, slowly conquering Britain province by province until it is under complete magical control. Once again, the world is threatened, and it becomes clear that Harry Potter has not vanquished his family's killer... he has simply replaced him.
What other endings can you think of for these three classics?