The 4th Adaption of Richard Mathesons Sci-Fi Classic was shown pretty successfully in theaters around the world, but simultaneously it caused a problem for the publisher Warner. Because they want to film a sequel, they let the main character die while leaving a cliffhanger for the other characters and an opening for Warner to do a sequel.
The alternative ending shows, supported by 2 preparative scenes, the survival of all mankind, but with a bitter aftertaste. According to the Theatrical Cut, the darkseekers are displayed as monsters who deserve their annihilation. The Alternative Cut however gives them a more "human" touch and shows humanity as a disturbing factor for them.
Therefor the Alternative version stays closer to the book than the Theatrical Cut.
Theatrical Cut: 100:27 Minuten
Alternative Theatrical Cut: 103:52 Minuten
There were added 2 new scenes with 87 Seconds and one alternative ending, which has a running time of 124 Seconds.
Theatrical Cut: Minute 36
Alternative Cut: Minute 36
Cut Duration: 18,5 sec
While Robert examines the womanīs body, he sees a butterfly tatoo on her shoulder. This information is important for the alternative ending and mentioned later.
Theatrical Cut: Minute 73
Alternative Cut: Minute 74
Cut Duration: 68,5 sec
Anna asks at the conversation at the table "What happened to your leg?". Then the scene changes and Robert shows her the trap that the darkseekers probably had set and explains, that in fact his materials and techniques were used, but the darkseekers should not be that smart to use them. This gives the viewer unlike the theatrical cut the clue, that the darkseekers are more intelligent and human.
In the following scene we see the three sitting by a pool. While the boy swims with the fish, Anna asks Robert if it could be possible that the darkseekers have advanced in evolution and thus got smarter. Robert throws food in the pool and the fish begin to flounder, while the boy is visibly amused. But as he mentiones that he is cold, Robert remembers the woman "on ice" and they leave the building.
Theatrical Cut: Minute 88
Alternative Cut: Minute 89
Theatrical Cut: 4:17 min
Alternative Cut: 6:21 min
Difference: 2:04 min
Now we take a look at the alternative ending to which the 2 additional scenes have lead us. In both versions Robert, Anna and the boy are running into the laboratory, chased by the darkseekers who run against the glass. In both Cuts Robert says to them: "Stop! ... I can save you ... I can help you. You are sick and I can help you!". The cuts differ as the leading darkseeker keeps running towards the glass and is not willing to stop.
The Theatrical Cutīs Ending:
The leader is running against the glass while Robert points the gun towards him. In the cracks of the glass there materializes a butterfly and Robert starts thinking. He knows that the darkseekers will not stop running against the glass until its broken and they can break through. He grabs an injection, takes a bloodsample from the female darkseeker and hands it to Anna. He opens a secret passage and tells Anna to watch carefully for the sample, because it carries the cure within. Robert takes a picture of his family and looks at it with sad eyes, while the darkseekers continue to run against the glass. Robert takes a grenade from a drawer and waits for the glass to break, with tears in his eyes. As the leader gets ready to jump at him, Robert takes the opportunity and jumps first. As both collide in the air, the grenade detonates and the whole laboratory with all darkseekers in it explodes.
Change of scene. Anna and the kid are driving towards the mountains and discover a human colony. After they have stopped they trespass the gates.. Anna is happy, hands one man the blood sample and we see the place in bird's eye view.
The Alternative Cutīs Ending:
Also in the Alternative Cut the leader runs towards the glass, but then calms down a bit. Then he greases a butterfly on the glass and waits for a reaction from Robert. He realizes the sense in the leaderīs actions and from the off we hear the voice of his daughter: "Daddy, look, it's a butterfly". Robert realizes the humanity of the darkseeker and looks again at the tied up woman with the butterfly tatoo.
He loosens the infusions and the ties while the woman slowly changes back into a darkseeker. The leader waits in front of the glass for Anna to open the door. The other darkseekers start to run for the door, but stop as the leader is yelling. Robert moves the bed through the door and stands among the darkseekers. Anna quickly closes the door while the leader threatening breathes upon Robert and then walks to the female darkseeker.
Robert slowly walks to a closet to get an injection. The darkseekers come very close to him, but another roar from the leader holds them back. Robert injects something into her leg and she awakens. She happily recognizes the leader and the viewer realizes, that they are a couple. The leader hugs her while Robert says: "I am sorry". The leader gets mad and roars again.
Then he leaves with his woman and the other darkseekers the laboratory even thoug the walls are wallpapered with photos of dead darkseekers. Robert, who bargained for an attack, drops to the ground while gasping for breath.
Change of scene. Robert, Anna and the boy are leaving the town. We hear a taped radiomessage from Anna: "My name is Anna Montez. There are other survivors. I am traveling with Dr. Robert Neville and a boy named Ethan. We're heading north on Route 17 to Bethel, Vermont. Keep your radio on. Listen for our broadcasts. You are not alone. There is hope. Keep listening. You are not alone."