How WORLD WAR Z Originally Ended

The guys at Movies.com have uncovered extensive details on the original third act of Marc Forster's World War Z -- before those much talked about re-shoots. Click on to find out about the much less happy, but much more interesting ending. SPOILERS ahead..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 6/23/2013
I wasn't a huge fan of World War Z (review HERE) but not because it seemed in any way patched together (which many feared it would after the re-shoots) in fact I thought the climactic scenes in the research center were probably the strongest in the movie. My biggest problem was just how by-the-numbers it all seemed. This movie contained not a single surprise for me, but reading through Movies.com's report on the original ending I can see not only why re-shoots were called for, but that there was a much ballsier, more compelling film in there somewhere. The theatrical ending of World War Z sees Gerry (Brad Pitt) and Segen (Daniella Kertesz) manage to find a cure (or sorts) to the Zombie outbreak, and travel meet Gerry's family, where everything ends with hugs and kisses while we await the inevitable sequel. Safe, but exactly very surprising right? But have a read of this, which occurs after Gerry and Segen board that doomed plane from Jerusalem.



"The plane Gerry and Segen board is bound for Moscow. Upon safely landing, everyone on board is rounded up by the military. The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry's cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia's zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter. He looks almost dead inside, but the reality is that over this time he's become an experienced and ruthless zombie killer, and he's the leader of his own equally capable unit.

Gerry's unit is tasked with clearing subway tunnels of zombie hordes. This is the first time we see the Lobo, a perfected zombie-killing tool that's sort of a shovel/battle axe that would have been one of the few things from the book to make it into the movie. Gerry and his team use them to slice their way through every poor zombie that tracks them through the tunnels by following their sounds. It's all routine work for them, and when they're not in the tunnels killing, they're basically just preparing to go back in. During this downtime we see a bit of bonding between Gerry and another English-speaking friend, Simon. The two play a guessing game of what celebrities would have survived the outbreak.

We get a couple intense scenes of tunnel combat (at one point Gerry has to kill one of his own after being bitten), and eventually they emerge above ground and are right in the middle of The Battle of Red Square (pictured in the banner above, though this is likely not from the movie and was created just for marketing purposes). This is a much, much larger set piece that involves several different front lines constantly fighting the hordes. There's a kind of weird plot point of Gerry's team now getting re-assigned to different front lines based on what their religion is (Gerry and Simon are atheists), the logic being that people would fight harder alongside people of the same faith. But they're segregated and Gerry tries to convince the General in charge that his elite, tunnel-sweeping crew should be allowed to teach those other people how to fight with Lobos and makeshift shields and what not.

There's arguing with this Russian General, but eventually Gerry convinces him to let him teach some of the other front lines how to fight, but this involves having to go back into the tunnels with Simon so they can sneak past the zombies on the other side. It's there that Gerry notices the zombies are having a hard time dealing with the severe Russian winter by remembering just how fast they were in Jerusalem, and so it occurs to him that the way to defeat the zombies is to let their bodies freeze.

Gerry and Simon are now on a mission to inform the Russian command to extinguish all fires and move their battle lines so as to keep as many of the zombies in the cold as possible, but then they run into a generator room where the nasty Russian soldier who took his phone upon arrival in the country is boozing it up with some very reluctant girls. One of those girls is Segen. Gerry grabs a belt of grenades and tosses one into the room. He, Segen and Simon duck behind a couch to survive the blast before making a break for it.

Once again Gerry meets up with the General and convinces him to use Russia's cold to their advantage, as they have done in past homeland wars. This works and he orders everyone to extinguish all of their fires. Eventually this gives them the upper hand in the battle. Gerry takes this turn toward the offensive to retreat. He takes a couple of shots of vodka, then picks up the phone he retrieved from the soldier and calls his wife, Karin.

Even beyond the entire Russian battle sequence, it's this call to his wife that's the real game changer for the (aborted) tone of World War Z.

Gerry reaches Karin. He explains to her that the cold is the way they'll win battles, which does her no good because it just so happens she and the kids are in a refugee camp in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. They're in the type of camp where you have to have something to trade to survive, and it just so happens the one thing Karin had to trade was herself. She doesn't explicitly tell Gerry this, but after she hastily hangs up the phone we see that she's in some kind of reluctantly consensual relationship with the soldier who rescued them from the rooftop at the beginning of the movie.

Did you happen to notice that soldier on the helicopter was played by Matthew Fox? Did you wonder why they bothered to cast someone as recognizable as him in a role that was pretty inconsequential and had almost no lines? That's because his real payoff wasn't until the end.

Fox' parajumper soldier then calls Gerry back and explains to him that he should just stay wherever he is and start a new life like he and Karin have. Gerry refuses to accept this, though, and he embarks on a rage mission to get back to his wife and daughters. Trouble is the nearest port that won't be frozen is thousands of miles away, so there's a montage of Gerry, Simon and Segen crossing various terrain until they ultimately end up on a boat. They're now off of the Oregon Coast and they attack the American shore like it's D-Day. And that's how the movie ends. Not with Gerry having discovered a cure, but with him storming across the United States of America to get Karin back."


Obviously a much less crowd-pleasing, bleaker ending, but then they were making a movie about the aftermath of a Zombie apocalypse after all! I much prefer this version (maybe Karin trading her body for safety aside), and I may have been able to forgive the almost complete lack of tension in the movie if this is the direction they had decided to go it, but it's not clear if it'll ever see the light of day. Maybe on the Blu-ray? Anyway, what do you guys think?


Source: Movies.com
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36 Comments
PsyGuy - 6/23/2013, 9:23 AM
I ... actually like this better. Much less anticlimactic
Jolt17 - 6/23/2013, 9:33 AM
That sounds a lot better. I, for one, am not a big fan of the whole third act in the actual version, and since to me they've nailed the massive CGI zombie hordes in prior setpieces, I think I'd prefer to see more of 'em being exploited in such a way. Y'know, it just seems to go along better with the rest of the movie, which is more about zombie apocalypse in a wider scope than anything else. Keep playing with that scale, and I think the movie would've been something else.
Wildaniel - 6/23/2013, 9:34 AM
Watch The Walking Dead, or read the comic book.
marvelstudios - 6/23/2013, 9:37 AM
Why the fk didn't they go with this version. I wondered why the budget was so high, now i can see. What a waste.
ManCalledSting - 6/23/2013, 9:40 AM
This movie could have been awesome, instead we got a cookie cutter "one man must save the world" movie starring Brad Pitt. World War Z in name only.
RorMachine - 6/23/2013, 9:42 AM
I don't get it either. Gerry wasn;'t even particularly fleshed out or likable beyond "he cares for his family and is brave". They didn't give us enough of a reason to care if he survived..even though we knew he would! All tension evaporated.
RorMachine - 6/23/2013, 9:46 AM
AND how stupid was the ending in the research center? He's faced with a load of diseases, some of which may kill him and he doesn't know which to take. There's a notepad, a pen, the scientists that can tell him the safe ones to take are watching him on camera, and outside there's a phone...I think I see a way out of this!!
MistaNiceDude - 6/23/2013, 9:49 AM
This version is so much better.They should have kept this.
WireySpindell - 6/23/2013, 10:00 AM
No Todd Wanio? No thanks...
Slider13 - 6/23/2013, 10:01 AM
That would've been what we call "The Empire Strikes Back Ending"
campblood - 6/23/2013, 10:02 AM
it's sad that this bad movie is beating superman. and it's also sad that the book was wasted
Jolt17 - 6/23/2013, 10:08 AM
RorMachine: Exactly.
TonyChu - 6/23/2013, 10:09 AM
I was looking for Matthew Fox character the entire movie and could not find him.
MOVIELORD101 - 6/23/2013, 10:09 AM
As much as I enjoyed the version of the movie we DID get, I still hope all this stuff WAS filmed and that Paramount includes a cut of this movie with this version of the third act edited back into the rest of the film on the upcoming Blu-Ray release this year on the same disk as the theatrical cut (a la the I Am Legend 2-disk dvd and Blu-ray where they put the original, BETTER ending back into the overall film)! People would love that!
MOVIELORD101 - 6/23/2013, 10:11 AM
@TonyChu He was the Navy Seals Parajumper on the helicoper who saves Gerry and his family on the rooftop in Newark! He also has a small scene later on when he tells Gerry's wife about the potential bad news about her husband possibly being dead. He's hard to spot because there's only a few split-second shots of him in that scene but you'll recognize absolutely his face and voice!
A2ron - 6/23/2013, 10:19 AM
I did enjoy the movie but would like to have the opportunity to see this version. I think studios are afraid to do some movies closely adapted from books but I think this one would have made more money and more quickly too.
MarvelousMarty - 6/23/2013, 10:27 AM
Just back from watching it. Disappointed. 5/10
RorMachine - 6/23/2013, 10:37 AM
^^ I wondered all of that too, but even that wasn't enough to ruin the movie while I thought it could still take a few chances. It didn't, so all that silly shit I might have forgiven just heaps on the pile.
Battabing - 6/23/2013, 10:50 AM
I told you guys this movie was awful. It's got no business calling itself a zombie movie. It's the most bloodless zombie movie for sure. They don't even eat you. They just bite you and move on.

Zack Snyder did it better.
AMC does it better.

Pitt's laughing all the way to the bank.
NorseGod - 6/23/2013, 11:10 AM
This ending would have been much more satisfying!
HeadPool420 - 6/23/2013, 11:35 AM
@Battabing that's what I've been saying. These aren't zombies. They are people with rabies in my opinion. They bite once then run? :/
gaikinger - 6/23/2013, 1:14 PM
Damn fo
gaikinger - 6/23/2013, 1:14 PM
Damn focus groups is what happend
grimreaper - 6/23/2013, 2:05 PM
I do not consider this a zombie movie at all, more of a natural disaster movie. I went in to the movie not expecting much and enjoyed it. I would have liked to seen this version mentioned on the web as it had to safe of an ending.
aurorsand147 - 6/23/2013, 2:11 PM
there definitely was no tension in the film. i dont know if this done intentionally but in the WHO research part, people in my theater were cracking up. there still hasn't been a zombie movie to top 28 Days Later. that movie was a thrilling work of art.
CyberBishop - 6/23/2013, 2:56 PM
I saw it... To me it is not a true zombie movie, it is more similar to 28 days later with the rage virus. I feel that way because it seems their only purpose was to infect then move on and not feed. Kind of the reason why I left the movie perplexed and attempting to "soak it all in".
I don't like this ending and I was not thrilled about the theatrical ending either.
TimJude72 - 6/23/2013, 5:06 PM
Just got out of WWZ an I enjoyed it much more than I thought. To me, the movie kind of fell apart after Jerusalem and I don't think this ending would have saved it. Sill all and all fairly entertaining and better than I anticipated. I would have really liked to see the Battle of Yonkers and more story plots from the book make it in.

I hope that the sequel coming will take some of the above..would make sense that Gerry would be out there fighting and it would help make up some of the losses from filming most of the third act above.
BlackHulk - 6/23/2013, 5:51 PM
I saw the movie yesterday. Not a bad movie by any means, but it was pretty much a much bigger version of I am Legend. As far as the ending goes, I wouldnt have liked either ending as it stood.
MightyZeus - 6/23/2013, 10:40 PM
People said this movie was going to fail, they where wrong. I think this is a great movie. I thought it was engaging and interesting.
GLprime2814 - 6/23/2013, 10:56 PM
Pass.
JohnLamb - 6/24/2013, 2:30 AM
I don't like this ending.
ANIMUS84 - 6/24/2013, 5:21 AM
You should never need a big budget for a zombie film. 80 mill' max.
Alfredo27 - 6/24/2013, 6:18 AM
So instead of the boring predictable ending they had, they were going to make the most awesome movie ever, GREAT! Ruin my day, I just saw it last night and loved it but if it would have been like above im thinking this would have been 100% better.
8thDynasty - 6/24/2013, 10:17 AM
WAY better.
jp88 - 6/24/2013, 10:40 AM
WOW!! that would have been much better. I did like the movie it was pretty intense but that would have made it that much more. then you could leave it open for some great intense sequals. I hope its on the blu ray as an alternate ending, that would be awesome. I mean what else are blu-rays for other than to boost em up with some really cool stuff.
tacobender - 6/24/2013, 12:26 PM
Haven't seen it, probably not going to see it until it comes out on cable. After reading what the current ending is, it's sounds very unsatisfying and definitely NOT worthy of a sequel. It seems as though they didn't want any backlash over the harshness of THIS ending which sounds like something that is deserving of a sequel. I also read that at one point Gerry's unit uses sick and weak living as human shields. Even Karin trading herself for the safety of herself and kids makes so much more sense and makes it way more interesting.

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