Most of the movies you love only came about after extensive rewrites ordered by some jaded studio head who'd insert a giant mechanical spider into Schindler's List if it would buy him another McLaren. Here are some of the most ill-conceived of their many, many ill-conceived ideas.
6 In Back To The Future, Marty McFly Was A Desperately Suicidal Alien
In the original treatment of Back to the Future, then titled Spaceman From Pluto (wow, this is already going poorly), Doc Brown's iconic time machine was a stationary device rigged up inside a car wash. Marty McFly was chronically depressed, and in a hilarious misunderstanding, he mistook the time machine for a Futurama-style suicide device and climbed into it to greet the sweet embrace of death.
According to screenwriter Bob Gale, "We thought that was a good idea for way longer than we should have." Eventually, Gale and co-writer Robert Zemeckis decided that a main character who desperately wanted to die wasn't in line with the upbeat tone of the movie they were going for. But that wasn't the only major change. The writers were under heavy pressure by the president of Universal Pictures, Sidney Sheinberg, to make a major plot point out of people in the past mistaking Marty for an alien. This was due to the runaway success of Spielberg's previous movie E.T., proving that the Hollywood mentality "if it worked once, just do it a bunch more times" isn't a new development.
"Maybe have his dick glow, like the finger."
The writers eventually got to write the script they wanted, but there was still one more key difference -- in the last scene, Doc Brown got Marty back to the present by rigging up a time machine inside a refrigerator and carrying it out to the Nevada desert, where it would be propelled into the future by a nuclear detonation.
It was too stupid to make the cut back in the day, but Spielberg recycled it for the "nuking the fridge" scene from the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, proving that you just can't keep a bad idea down.
Universal Pictures, Lucasfilm
"... So it's 'No Pine Mall' now?"
5 Return of the Jedi -- Obi Wan and Yoda Are Undead
The early draft of the script for Return of the Jedi was more or less the same as the movie we wound up with, until about halfway in, when it took a 12-parsec left turn into the crazy sector. In the script Luke Skywalker travelled to the capital of the entire Empire, a lava planet called Had Abbadon, to confront Vader in a final duel. He winds up stranded on a rock in the middle of a lava lake, and suddenly becomes aware of someone standing behind him. He turns around to meet ... Obi Wan Kenobi! Obi Wan explains to Luke that he's come back to help him defeat Vader and the Emperor because apparently he could just come back from the dead any time he wanted, which would have been super helpful the first time Luke engaged in a climactic duel against Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. And if this wouldn't have made the audience groan hard enough, the next line in the script is:
Suddenly, Yoda appears beside Ben.
"Be grateful the prequels don't exist yet, or the anthropomorphic fuzzy dildo Jedi would be next."
That's right, the entire cast of dead characters from the franchise return to life in the final scene, so that death in Star Wars would have been about as meaningful as it is in a Superman comic.
So did it culminate in an epic multi-Jedi, lightsaber gangbang? Nope. Luke still winds up dueling Vader alone while Obi Wan and the Emperor watch from the sidelines, offering commentary like it's Mystery Science Theater.
"Do a backflip, nerd!"
It ends pretty much the same way as the final cut -- Luke gets defeated but Vader has a sudden change of heart and throws the Emperor off a cliff, thus fulfilling the prophecy that "a Skywalker" would kill the Emperor. It's just that in our version, there are slightly fewer undead Jedi.