alternate endings

Interstellar’s Ending Was Almost Much More Depressing

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in Interstellar. Photo: Warner Bros.

Thanks to the physicists and engineers at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Lab, we now know a little more about Interstellar. At a Q&A earlier this week, Jonathan Nolan revealed that — surprise, surprise — the film had a very different ending before his brother hopped aboard the project. (Get ready for spoilers if you’ve yet to see this movie.)

Recall the ending of Interstellar’s theatrical cut: Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) dives into Gargantua and flies around a five-dimensional bounce house, communicating with Murph via Morse code and dust to give her the data that will solve Brand’s equation. Well. According to a Nerdist writer who was in the audience, Nolan, who was plugging the movie’s upcoming Blu-Ray release, said the ending of his original script was more straightforward. There was no five-dimensional tesseract. Instead, “the Einstein-Rosen bridge (a.k.a. wormhole) collapse[s] when Cooper tries to send the data back.”

Nolan reportedly didn’t expand on whether or not the data would’ve made it back, but things didn’t look great for Cooper. Once he agreed to direct, Christopher Nolan tweaked the script to include the happier ending, and also to make some of the science more digestible for the public (e.g., the gravity anomaly Cooper and Murph discover earlier in the movie was supposed to have come from a wrecked neutron star’s gravity waves, which would’ve been picked up by the Laser Interferometer Gravity-Wave Observatory). You can re-watch the movie and fantasize about its alternate ending March 31.

Interstellar Was Almost Much More Depressing