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Here’s Why the The Tomorrow War’s Ending Feels Different from the Rest of the Movie

The Tomorrow War Ending

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The Tomorrow War was a great post-apocalyptic film. It had a kick-ass alien that was absolutely terrifying and legitimately tough to kill. It also had an enjoyable time-travel storyline where they tried to really explain why certain people could travel forward or backward in time and why others couldn’t. The apocalyptic feel of the future was on point. But there’s a certain point in the movie where many viewers feel like everything changed. In fact, the ending feels almost like it’s a different movie. Some motivations are dropped and the tone shifts quite a bit. As it turns out, this is because a different person wrote the ending.

This article will have major SPOILERS for The Tomorrow War. If you haven’t watch it yet, you can check it out on Amazon here (this is an affiliate link.)

The Director Rewrote the Ending

In an interview with The Wrap,  director Chris McKay revealed that he changed the ending (the entire third act) of the movie’s script because he was concerned the original version was too nihilistic and left out some characters who needed closure. One of those characters that didn’t have closure at the end of the original version was Dan’s dad.

He said the original script was too “bleak” and “nihilistic” in terms of how it ended, and he wanted to change that.

McKay said about the change: “[The script] was introducing all these characters in the beginning and none of the stuff was paying off, so why not pay it off? That’s what [Dan] needs to do as a human being. He’s trying to isolate himself and do everything himself, but he’s certainly not dealing with his relationship to his father and that kind of thing. Putting teams of people into the film was important to me… Movies like this can only sustain a level of self seriousness for so long before they kind of implode on themselves, at least for me. I wanted it to be a bit more complicated, so we could involve more stuff and characters in the resolution.”

While it’s not clear exactly which parts McKay changed, he did provide some insight into his thoughts and the process on Twitter.

He wrote about the Russia shoot: “It was a lot of fun (and really crazy) to shoot “Iceland for Russia”. We were two hours up a glacier. The crew really outdid themselves. And our Iceland team was amazing. We had about 6 hours of sunlight and we lost 20 minutes of light every day.

He also shared the reason why Chris Pratt’s character landed on concrete (when we were all convinced the vial was going to break):

While some viewers were critical of the moment that Dan jumped to try to save his daughter, even with the only toxin that could kill the aliens in his hand, McKay said he loved that moment. Some viewers argued that it was a natural reaction that a father would do, possibly without even truly thinking it through.

Many Viewers Felt Like the Ending Didn’t Quite Fit Right

Quite a few viewers felt like the ending didn’t quite fit well with the rest of the movie. All the governments in the world had joined forces, sending people to fight the apocalyptic alien race in the future. But now, all of a sudden, they didn’t want to fork over the money to deliver the toxin to the aliens in the glacier? Suddenly the US was worried about Russia again and would rather not take part at all?

My personal canon is that this wasn’t the first time Dan had been through the future war. I’m going to guess there was one previous timeline where he did NOT stop the war, and instead came back with major PTSD from watching his daughter die. As a result, this led to him having violent outbursts and ultimately leaving his family (which is exactly what happened to his dad and the PTSD he dealt with.) It’s also possible that the original iteration of the ending was more nihilistic because it had Dan suffering PTSD all over again because of his daughter’s death, EVEN IF they defeated the alien race, and he still ended up leaving his family just like his dad. There’s no proof of this, of course, but the parallels drawn between how Dan left his family just like his dad did just seem too big to be something that didn’t pay off in the original version.

I also think they could have still had Dan and his crew fight the aliens at the glacier, but had it all be just a little more believable. I think all the countries should have sent troops to the glacier, but still had Dan and his crew lead the team since they are the ONLY PEOPLE who faced the aliens and LIVED. Of course they’d lead this final battle. But once they realize the aliens were delivered by a sentient race, they need to do everything to preserve that ship so they know more about this other potential enemy. So they send the troops in with the toxins, and it all goes WELL, except the female manages to escape. (We know she’s smarter and more cunning than the males.) In the end, we could still have Dan and his dad have a final fight with the female, after seeing her tracks in the snow. But it would have felt more believable than being told that the world governments suddenly no longer had an interest in taking out the alien ship that started the apocalypse.

That’s just my opinion though. We’d love to hear yours in the comments below or on Facebook!

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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