McG, who directed Terminator Salvation, told a group of reporters that he did change the film's original ending to a more hopeful conclusion. (Spoilers ahead!)
Leaks and early reports suggested the film could end with John Connor's somehow becoming a combination of man and machine. In a group interview on Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif., McG revealed that Connor's original outcome was even more dire.
"There was this leak that Connor dies and they put Connor's face on top of the machine body of [half-man, half-machine] Marcus [Sam Worthington]," McG said. "Everybody went, 'Booo! What's that?' That's half of it. We had a jet-black ending. Connor dies, we're in a room with all the people we care about. You take Connor's likeness, you put it on the living machine of Marcus. He sits up now looking like Christian Bale, takes a gun, kills Kate, kills Kyle, kills Star, kills everybody, eyes flare red, the end."
That ending was so bleak that it may not even appear as a DVD extra. "I haven't decided," he said. "Just take a deep breath. Imagine that's the ending. I would hope the oxygen would just go right out. You'd be like, 'They can't do [that]. That was the biggest bummer I've ever seen in my life.'"
Screenwriter Michael Ferris added that the filmmakers toyed with different versions of the dark ending before settling on something more hopeful. "There was an ending of intermediate darkness in which the transition to the mechanical Marcus takes over as Connor and goes on to lead the resistance," Ferris said during the same interview. "It's essentially a secret to everybody except the inner circle that John Connor is now a robot, is now a Terminator. We're going for some irony there."
The revelations appear to confirm the early leaked reports and also put the lie to McG's denials that the leaked endings were accurate. Terminator Salvation opens May 22.