[Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you haven’t seen “Get Out.”]
Jordan Peele‘s directorial debut, “Get Out,” ends with an unforgettable subversion of audience expectations. But as it turns out, Peele originally intended a far grimmer conclusion to his horror movie examination of American racism.
In the ending you’ll see in theaters, after Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) narrowly escapes enslavement and mutilation at the hands of the Armitage family — by killing them — he finds himself on a deserted stretch of road, leaning over his fatally wounded, vengeful ex-girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). At that moment, a police car drives up, and a very resigned-to-his-fate Chris raises his hands. Moviegoers brace for the worst — but instead of trigger happy cops, Chris’ friend Rod steps out of the car. Thus Chris is saved.
But Peele initially intended a much darker outcome for Chris that goes exactly where you think it’s going in those final moments.
“There is an alternate ending in which the cops actually come at the end,” Tracy Clayton, BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast co-host, said she had heard. “He gets locked up and taken away for slaughtering an entire family of white people and you know he’s never getting out, if he doesn’t get shot there on the spot.”
The director agreed with her with multiple “mhm’s” and said he initially wanted a darker ending: “There were several endings to this movie. Several of them were pretty dark.”
He continued, “In the beginning when I was first making this movie the idea was, ‘OK, we’re in this post-racial world, apparently. That was the whole idea. People were saying, ‘We’ve got Obama so racism is over, let’s not talk about it.’ That’s what the movie was meant to address. Like look, you recognize this interaction. These are all clues, if you don’t already know, that racism isn’t over. […] So the ending in that era was meant to say, look, ‘You think race isn’t an issue? Well at the end, we all know this is how this movie would end right here.'”
But when he realized that the conversation around racism was changing in America in light of the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, he decided to give fans a more hopeful ending.
“It was very clear that the ending needed to transform into something that gives us a hero, that gives us an escape, gives us a positive feeling when we leave this movie. […] There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the audience go crazy when Rod shows up,” he said.