Final Destination’s first script was originally much darker

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

FINAL DESTINATION celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 17 and the popular film, which built a pretty lucrative franchise in the early 2000s, still holds up all these years later. I watched it again on the day of its anniversary and memories of seeing it on opening night with my friends definitely came rushing back. Like most films that celebrate major milestones, FINAL DESTINATION was the topic of conversation as the people behind the film took a moment to discuss its legacy and it turns out the film was originally intended to be MUCH darker than the one we received.

The first film, directed by James Wong, was a supernatural horror film that centered on a group of teenagers that cheat death. Alex (Devon Sawa) receives a premonition that the plane ride he is boarding with his high school on the way to France will explode. After Alex causes hysteria imploring to everyone that the plane will explode, he's removed from the flight along with several of his friends and in true horror fashion, the plane does indeed blow up. Soon "Death" arrives to claim the lives of those who were meant to die on the plane.

The film, and especially its sequels, became known for its elaborate and gruesome ways that "Death" would take out its victims but in a lookback with "Consequences of Sound", screenwriter Jeffrey Riddick revealed that the original idea of the film had the teenagers turning to suicide after their near-death encounter.  The characters would've been so tormented by "Death" that they would have been driven to take their own lives after their biggest fears were exploited. Riddick specified a scenario with one specific character, Tod, played by Chad E. Donella in the film. The original script had him hanging himself in his garage where his father would've found his lifeless body. Carter, played by Kerr Smith, was to jump in front of a subway train after being overcome by guilt and grief after his girlfriend died. The deaths do mirror some of the scenes in the final film. "Death" had Tod slipping in water and having a clothesline wrapping around his neck, choking him to death. Carter's girlfriend, played by Amanda Detmer, is infamously struck by a bus in one of the film's most iconic scenes and to try to prove that Alex's theory about "Death" is bogus, he parks his car on the train tracks as a train approaches. He tries to get out of the car but "Death"  traps him inside, although he's ultimately pulled out just in time by Alex.

Riddick explains that co-writers Glen Morgan and James Wong ultimately made the smart choice of dumping the suicide angle and suggested the elaborate kill scenes that have gone on to become a highlight of the franchise. FINAL DESTINATION and the subsequent sequels function much better as fun thrill rides so I'm not sure if the original doom and gloom nature of the first script would've worked in the end. 

Also starring Ali Larter and Tony Todd, the first film became a bit of a word of mouth hit after it opened to $10 million the weekend of March 17, 2000, before going on to gross $53.3 million domestic and $112 million worldwide. The franchise, across five films, has grossed $665 million worldwide off of a budget of $154 million across the entire franchise. A sixth film is apparently on the way as well so that's all the proof you need that there is no stopping "Death" on its quest.

Do YOU think the film should've kept its original dark concept? Are YOU a FINAL DESTINATION fan?

Source: Consequences Of Sound

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