The best plot twists are the ones that make you feel like a dumbass and say, "Okay, I really should have seen that coming." But don't feel bad: often, not even the people behind those mind-blowing moments knew they were going to happen until they did. As evidence, we present a collection of famous plot twists that were almost completely different, proving that not even successful filmmakers know what the hell they're doing. 

George Lucas Wanted Luke To Put On Darth Vader's Helmet And Say "Now I Am Vader"

 

The Twist: 

In the second most famous plot twist in the Star Wars franchise, Return of the Jedi ends with Darth Vader's heart suddenly growing three sizes like the Grinch's, causing him to kill Emperor Palpatine to save Luke. Vader dies from all those Pikachu Thunder Shocks delivered by the Emperor, but not before asking Luke to take off his helmet, revealing that he looks like a zombie Mr. Potato Head. It's all very emotional. 

But Originally ... 

As we never tire of reminding you, George Lucas was very much making up Star Wars as he went along. An example of that is the moment in Return of the Jedi's story sessions when Lucas enthusiastically described an ending that would have turned the franchise's message from "nobody is beyond redemption" to "those Skywalker boys sure love genocide." Lucas imagined a situation in which Luke and a badly damaged Vader are escaping from the Emperor's exploding ship when Vader gets his cape stuck in a door and says, "Leave without me." Like in the filmed ending, Luke takes his father's helmet off ... but then puts it on and says, "Now I am Vader. Now I will go and kill the fleet and rule the universe."  

Triumph Books

Don't think we have to convince anyone that this is genuine George Lucas dialogue right here. 

Lucas called this "the ultimate twist" and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan agreed, saying: "That's what I think should happen." But it was Lucas himself who immediately shot down his own idea, because, after all, "this is for kids." In fact, Kasdan spent the next minutes arguing in favor of killing Luke, or Yoda, or whoever, just to give the movie "more emotional weight," but Lucas was suddenly against it, because, as he later put it, "This is a fairytale. You want everybody to live happily ever after and nothing bad happens to anybody." Except Boba Fett, because #@$% that guy in particular. 

The Surprise Bad Guy In Iron Man (2008) Was Almost ... Tony's Dad

 

The Twist: 

In a twist no one saw coming except for everyone who read the comic and the millions of people who speak Urdu, the villain in the first Iron Man turns out to be Tony Stark's mentor, Obadiah Stane, who steals Tony's technology and uses it to create an even bigger armor, at which point this turns into a Transformers movie for a while. 

But Originally ... 

Okay, so not a lot of people were taken by surprise by Obadiah's heel turn, especially since the trailer showed him inside his evil armor. But originally, the writers intended to use a surprise villain that would have been an actual surprise: Tony's dad, Howard Stark. Howard is the one who secretly sends terrorists to kill Tony, plagiarizes his tech, and ends up fighting him in another robot armor (called War Machine). He also murders Tony's love interest because he blames Tony for his mom's death in a boating accident. In the end, he tells Tony he loves him just before launching a missile at him ... which fails to launch, killing Howard instead. 

New Line Cinema

War Machine's taken. They should have gone with "Howard Machine." 

So, instead of being a noble inventor who helped create Captain America and inspired his son to sacrifice himself for the good of the universe, Howard Stark could have been an evil jackass who blows himself up by accident. By the way, it's possible that this was the script that made Tom Cruise decide he didn't want to be Iron Man anymore (for the time being)

Back To The Future Ended With Marty In A Coca-Cola-Fueled Utopia

 

The Twist: 

Back to the Future ends with Marty McFly making it Back to the Present and noticing a few differences caused by his time-traveling adventure: his dad is more confident and successful, Biff Tannen is now the family's hunchback manservant, and he can never look at his mother in the eye ever again. Just when you think the movie's over, Doc Brown shows up in the time-traveling DeLorean and drops the coolest final line in film history: "Roads? Where we're going we don't need (dramatic pause) roads." Then the DeLorean lifts off and flies into the future, once again making you forget that this was a terrible, terrible car

But Originally ... 

The movie's first draft had more than "a few" differences when Marty returns to his time period: there are now 87 states, everyone has flying cars, his family has a robot butler called Sparky, and instead using the primitive technology called "pens," people attach suction cups with wires to their foreheads and control them with their minds. 

Universal Pictures

Much simpler. 

Oh, and now everything runs on Coca-Cola, which appears to be the world's main source of fuel. This is all because of the technological advances created by Doc Brown in the '50s after getting a peek at his future self's time machine, which at that point consisted of a Coke-powered device inside a refrigerator. Now even scrapbooks are "hydraulic" and work via "pneumatic cylinders" -- all courtesy of the omnipresent E. Brown Enterprises. 

Universal Pictures

"Now to take out a robo-Playboy and mega-jack my future-dingus." 

Also, Marty's dad is now the middleweight champion of the world, having gained a taste for violence after beating up Biff in the '50s. On the other hand, Marty's guitar playing in the past was apparently so atrocious that rock n' roll doesn't exist at all -- mambo is now the ruling musical style. But Marty doesn't seem to mind: when informed that no one's heard of rock music, he simply grins and says, "Well, maybe it's time you did!" Presumably, this is followed by the exact plot of the movie Yesterday, only with every single famous band instead of The Beatles. 

This ending was actually one of the first things that inspired Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale to write this movie. They were fascinated by how people in the past imagined the '80s (flying cars, slick Art Deco buildings, etc.) and thought, "wouldn't it be cool to do a movie where you changed history and the world actually looked like that." So why did they scrap it? Because every single person who read the script, "without exception," seemed to hate that part. So they changed it and later ended up giving us a totally accurate depiction of our present, with its flying cars, hoverboards, and three-second dehydrated pizza pucks

Se7en Had, Like, Se7en Different Endings

 

The Twist: 

The first shocking twist in this movie is when the serial killer being chased by Detectives Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) turns out to be played by Kevin Spacey, that absolute sweetheart of a man. The second one is at the very end, when Spacey's character, John Doe, leads Mills and Somerset to the middle of nowhere promising he'll show them his last two victims, and then he does: the victims are Mills' wife, whose head has been stuffed in a box, and Doe himself after Mills snaps and shoots him. 

But Originally ... 

The studio hated this ending, a.k.a. the biggest reason most people even talk about this movie today (the second biggest is the fact that the Riddler in The Batman has similar journaling habits to John Doe). In fact, they hated it so much that they went through enough alternate endings to stitch together a whole other movie. First, they ordered the writer to ditch the "head in the box" scene and write a stereotypical cop movie ending where Mills and Somerset go on a race against time to save Mills' wife from the killer, who presumably has a large curly mustache and a monocle in this version. Another draft included a climactic shootout in an abandoned church, which ended with Doe burning alive near a convenient tableau of the seven deadly sins. 

New Line Cinema

This makes Zack Snyder's Jesus "symbolism" look subtle. 

That was the movie the studio wanted to make. Fortunately, someone screwed up and sent potential director David Fincher the wrong version of the script, and he signed on for the movie specifically to make the "head in the box" moment. But then, the studio was like "We didn't say whose head" and insisted on replacing Mills' wife with the family dog (in the ending, we mean, not the making out scenes and such). Pitt put his foot down and said no, his wife has to die in this movie, dammit. The studio went "Fine, we're going back to the original ending ... but Morgan Freeman shoots Doe, not you, for some reason." They even storyboarded this version, which ends with a one-liner worthy of Lethal Weapon

New Line Cinema

*cue saxophones* 

In yet another version, Mills shoots Somerset to prevent him from preventing him from shooting Doe. And then there's Fincher's preferred ending, according to the film's DVD commentary: he wanted the screen to cut to black right after Mills shoots Doe, followed by a few moments of complete darkness to let the brutal ending sink in. But when they screened the film in New York, the theater employees ignored Fincher's instructions and turned on the lights as soon as the gunshot was heard, so the director agreed to that add "irrelevant" epilogue with Mills arrested and Somerset quoting Ernest Hemingway. And that's how we got the seventh and final ending. At least Fincher got away with making the scene look as dark as humanly possible as a shout out to his Sopranos-esque idea. 

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Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com. 

Top image: Marvel Studios

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