The twist ending in “Don’t Worry Darling” remains one of the most talked-about aspects of an already much-discussed film. But, according to the original script — written by Carey and Shane Van Dyke and made public via 8FLiX — Alice and Jack’s fate initially played out much differently from the version we saw onscreen. Following all of the drama surrounding the cast and crew of “Don’t Worry Darling,” critics mainly panned the film (despite a booming $19.4 million box office debut). For many viewers, the Van Dyke brothers’ script, which was sold to New Line Cinema in 2019 and later revised by Katie Silberman per director Olivia Wilde‘s request, offers an expanded look at the original story. Read on to find out how the writers of “Don’t Worry Darling” originally intended the story to end, and see which version you like better.
“Don’t Worry Darling” Movie Ending
In Wilde’s version of “Don’t Worry Darling” (featuring the edited screenplay), Florence Pugh‘s character, Alice, eventually discovers that her cookie-cutter existence is actually just a simulation, and she is being trapped in this false reality by her partner, Jack, played by Harry Styles. In the real world, Alice and Jack are just two bodies lying next to one another, hooked up to machines that allow them to participate in the simulated reality. The fake world is referred to as “Victory,” created by a man named Frank (Chris Pine) in order to help modern men live the antiquated lives they truly “deserve,” with no regard for the consent of their partners.
Upon suspecting something is amiss, Alice tries to convince Jack to leave Victory before she is whisked away and issued shock therapy to help her to forget her skepticism. A familiar song later triggers a memory of her real life, in which she is a successful doctor and Jack is her unemployed boyfriend. Alice confronts Jack, killing him in the middle of an argument. Her friend Bunny (Wilde) then conveniently visits and finally admits to the simulation, telling Alice to get in the car and escape before the men of Victory get to her. In a narrow race, Alice manages to reach a portal leading out of the simulation just in time. The screen cuts to black, and we hear her gasp for air, indicating that she does make it back to the real world and leaving the rest up to the viewer’s imagination.
“Don’t Worry Darling” Key Script Differences
In order to fully understand the original ending in the online version of Van Dyke brothers’ script, there are a few important differences to highlight. First, Jack and Alice (named Clifford and Evelyn in this version) do not have the kind of blissful marriage we see in the final film. Jack discovers that Alice has secretly been using birth control without his knowledge, and this leads to a major conflict. Additionally, there is no “Victory Project” like the one in the movie, which is the mysterious cause the men go off to work for every single day. Instead, the men in the Van Dyke script seem to have real, tangible jobs, and the simulation Alice is trapped in is called “Alt-Life,” which Alice accidentally discovers via a portal disguised as a motel. It is through this portal, not a flashback or shock therapy, that she is able to figure out exactly what is happening to her.
“Don’t Worry Darling” Original Ending
After Alice first breaks through the simulation via the portal disguised as a motel, she finds herself in a machine resembling the ones used for modern MRIs. Confused and weak, she screams for help, and Jack rushes in, half-naked. He tells Alice that she’s found his “exit portal” but says he will simply program a new one, stabbing her with a syringe and assuring her that this is all just a dream. When Alice wakes up, she’s back in the simulation, only this time in the hospital, and the doctors explain that she’s suffered a psychotic break, sending her home with pills. Still, she’s not entirely convinced.
She follows Jack and finds the new portal he’s created, this time made to look like a house with an “alt-life reality” sign staked in the yard. Alice is once again transported to the MRI machine, but this time, she finds the energy to stand and explore her surroundings. Here, she finds that she is actually in the year 2050, and Jack has faked her death via a car accident. She also discovers divorce papers and a video describing Alt-Life as a haven made for men who are “tired of living in a world controlled by women.” All they have to do is fake their wife’s death (using the instructions provided), swap out the woman’s memories for new ones, and plug them into the “neurolink unit,” which is the machine Alice keeps waking up in.
Horrified by all the information she’s learned — but aware that Jack will soon be alerted to her absence — Alice hooks herself back up to the neurolink unit and returns “home.” She then confides in Bunny (Betsy in the script) about what she’s seen and her plan to escape. Unfortunately, Bunny quickly rats her out to the men of Alt-Life. They then take Alice away and give her shock therapy, once again making her complicit per Alt-Life standards, until she finds a motel key while doing laundry. Suddenly, all of her memories come flooding back.
In the last few action-packed moments, Alice borrows gardening tools from Bunny, using them to stab Jack in the hand and tie him up so she can confront him. In the process of getting him to confess to what he’s done, she pours hot coffee on him and threatens to sodomize him with a broomstick (which she ends up doing anyway). Jack owns up to trapping her in Alt-Life, and Alice goes to leave him forever. Unfortunately, he ends up freeing himself, and in their final struggle, Alice kills him, stabbing Jack in the eye with a screwdriver after he threatens to give her a DIY lobotomy.
The screen fades to black, and Alice wakes up in an Alt-Life hospital, where she’s told she imagined this entire thing — that she killed her husband in her thirst for liberation. The doctor tells her she dreamt up “a world where women were empowered . . . a fantasy world where women were no longer expected to stay in the kitchen. A world where they can be free.” Alice doesn’t believe him at first but slowly accepts his word as truth. Bunny comes to visit her, and for a minute it’s not quite clear why . . . until she leans into Alice’s ear and whispers, “I’m so sorry. There’s an exit portal through the doorway behind me.” Alice finds the door, turns the knob, and the screen cuts to black for the final time.