Recently Zack Snyder (‘Man of Steel‘, ‘Sucker Punch‘) sat down and shared his thoughts on the ‘Watchmen’ movie. He very clearly stated that he “made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world” and thought that Gilliam’s ending of the film was “completely insane..”
Terry Gilliam (‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’, ‘Twelve Monkeys’) had his own response that that was a little tongue in cheek.
According to Gilliam, “I thought Zack’s film worked well, but it suffered from the very problem that I was happy to avoid by not making the film.”
One can only assume that Gilliam meant that the problem he was happy to avoid was changing the ending. Snyder’s portrayal was nearly completely accurate aside from his own ending alterations, but one has to say that at least it wasn’t as drastic as what Gilliam’s script had.
So how would Gilliam’s ending have changed things? Well for those who had missed it, producer Joel Silver (‘Veronica Mars’,The Matrix’) clarified the difference:
What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from ‘Watchmen’ only became characters in a comic book.
So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.’ It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.
That is slightly different from the changed ending we’ve seen. I have to agree that I can see why Snyder said what he did. Gilliam’s ending just wouldn’t have had the same impact as what we actually ended up shown on the big screen.
What are your thoughts? Would Gilliam’s ending have ruined the film or was his version more of an interesting take? Share your thoughts below!