The new Netflix movie Extraction, which stars Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, is lighting up charts and setting records at the streaming platform. The action-heavy film ends in dramatic fashion, and the director has now revealed that his original script was even heavier. It wasn’t until testing the movie and a conversation with an executive at Netflix that director Sam Hargrave was convinced to change the ending. Read on to get the full story, but of course, be aware that this includes heavy spoilers.
SPOILERS FOR EXTRACTION FOLLOW BELOW
In the ending of Extraction that made the cut, Hemsworth’s character, Tyler Rake, is shot by the teenage boy who is trying to make a name for himself with a local drug kingpin. Rake, breathing his last breaths, tips himself over the edge of bridge and collapses into the river below. It’s assumed that Rake died as part of his journey to save and rescue a young boy named Ovi.
However, it’s never explicitly confirmed that Rake succumbed to his injuries. And in the movie’s final frame, a character who bears a strong resemblance to Rake is seen, albeit in a fuzzy shot. Director Sam Hargrave, who made his directorial debut with Extraction, said the original ending was much more clear.
Rake would die. But this did not go over so well in testing.
“It was not surprising that a lot of people wanted the character to live, and some people wanted him to die. People were torn; it was almost down the middle,” Hargrave told Collider. “We want to appeal to as many people as possible without compromising the integrity of the story.”
The compromise that Hargrave made was to make it look like Rake died–he was shot through the neck, after all, and was coughing up blood when we see him last–but also give viewers the opportunity to believe that he might have survived. Hence, the ambiguous ending that you see in the film.
“If people on one hand feel like the story is complete and is a story of redemption through sacrifice, then for them, it’ll be where the kid is imagining [Rake standing there], and then now you go, ‘Yes, I’m satisfied,'” Hargrave said. “If you feel like you love Tyler Rake, and you love Chris Hemsworth, and you want a sequel, and you’re like ‘There’s no way, you can’t kill him!’ then that’s Tyler Rake standing there looking at you. So we kind of purposefully did not pull focus to the character standing there.”
Hargrave’s own preference would have been to kill Rake. It would have completed his story arc of finding redemption for his past transgressions through sacrificing himself to save Ovi. “He made the choice he was okay with. He had come to terms with his past and the choice he made in the present saved this kid, and if that meant him dying, so be it. And that was his journey in my mind,” Hargrave said.
However, Netflix boss Scott Stuber convinced Hargrave to change his mind when he asked him to consider what would truly be a more satisfying ending.
“You have to remember the difference between an intellectually satisfying ending and an emotionally satisfying ending,” Hargrave said he recalls Stuber telling him. “And so we struggled with that concept of, ‘Is it more emotionally satisfying that Rake lives or that Rake dies?’ And truthfully, the vote was it’s more emotionally satisfying that he lives. Because the kid gave him something to live for, and now he’s living for that.”
Hemsworth recently said he would keen to return to Extraction for a sequel or a prequel. Given the immense success of the movie–it’s the most-watched Netflix movie of all time over its first four weeks–it seems likely that Netflix would be interested in getting the group back together.
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