‘The Butterfly Effect’ Alternate Ending Involves An Umbilical Cord Strangling

The concept of going back in time to fix mistakes only to face unintended consequences is nothing new. The video game Life is Strange has the main protagonist use her rewind powers to go back and choose new options. Mr. Nobody explores the possible decisions that the character could have made. 

The Butterfly Effect is another film that deals with time travel. The main character has the ability to go back to his childhood and make the necessary changes. The ending of the movie may be considered bittersweet, but the alternate ending is grimmer. 

‘The Butterfly Effect’ shows the multiple outcomes

The Butterfly Effect is a film from 2004 that stars Ashton Kutcher. It is a sci-fi thriller about a college student named Evan Treborn.

Evan suffers through several traumatic events in his life that cause him to blackout. He discovers that he has the ability to travel back in time after reading his childhood journal. 

He goes back to the traumatic moments in his life and tries to change them for the better. However, Evan’s actions lead to various altered futures, and most of them are not great.

Ashton Kutcher at a premiere.
Ashton Kutcher | Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

In one timeline, he becomes an inmate, and in another future, he lost his limbs due to an explosion. His friends also suffer due to the character’s intentions of fixing the past.  

On top of changing his future, Evan’s brain gets affected severely when memories of his life in the new timeline flood his mind. While the concept itself may feel cliché after being done so many times, viewers might still enjoy watching the film. 

Originally, Evan prevents a friendship from occurring

At the end of the film, Evan realizes that he is hurting his friends more than he is helping them. So, he decides to remove himself from their lives. He travels back to his childhood one last time to the moment he first met one of his friends, Kayleigh. 

Evan upsets her so that she will want to move away and live with her mother. Despite being in love with her, he knew that this choice was for the best. She and her brother go on to live happier lives, and Evan wakes up in his dorm. He knows that they did not have to deal with a destructive childhood. 

Satisfied with this timeline, Evan burns all his journals and videos to prevent himself from traveling back again. Of course, he does run into Kayleigh years later. The two of them continue to walk past each other.  

It would seem sad to see him give up his relationship with her. However, it is hard to create a life where everything works out.  

The director’s cut ended the story differently


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Some people may not see the original ending for The Butterfly Effect as satisfying, but there were multiple alternate endings. One is a happier ending where Evan and Kayleigh stop and talk on the sidewalk instead of walking past each other. However, the one for the director’s cut is a lot darker. 

According to ScreenCrush, Evan travels back to when he was in his mother’s womb. It may seem strange as to how he could go back so far in time. The film established that he uses his journals that recount old memories to activate his powers. Hardly anyone has memories of when they were in the womb. 

In this new ending, Evan gets admitted to a psychiatric facility. He manages to watch a video of when his mom was giving birth. He transports himself to that point in time and strangles himself with the umbilical cord. While his friends do not have to deal with a terrible childhood, his mother has to face the fact that she lost another child.