Words – Jill Layton
The Fault in our Stars is sweet and basically perfect, with the book leaving us in puddles of our own emotions (which is why it made our list of movies that make us cry our actual eyes out). But, the ending was almost completely different. In fact, The Fault in our Stars had two alternate endings, and now we’re not even sure what’s real any more. Author John Green wrote two entirely different endings because he wasn’t completely satisfied with the original tragic ending.
Thankfully the alternate endings weren’t included in the final story, because they’re straight up cray. Green referred to the alternate endings as ‘epically terrible.’ Once you read them, you’ll know why.
He shared the first original ending with actor Nat Wolff back in 2014. He explained that he wanted Hazel and Peter Van Houten to honor Augustus’s life in a ‘sacrificial way.’ So Green wrote a 40-page ending that had Hazel and Peter tracking down a drug lord and killing him.
But it didn’t end there.
After they kill the drug lord, Hazel and Peter ‘die in a hail of bullets from all the security around the drug lord.’ So, yeah — the novel definitely would have taken a turn for the WTF. His editor called him and said, ‘The last 40 pages, I can’t tell if you’re kidding.’ He wasn’t.
Things got even crazier in his second alternate ending. Green wanted the ending to connect to British philosopher Philippa Foot’s idea called ‘The Trolley Dilemma.’ The idea involves a scenario that presents an extreme environment that tests the subject’s ethical prowess.
In an interview on the Nerdist podcast, John explained how he tried to tie this philosophical dilemma into the novel.
‘In the second draft of The Fault In Our Stars, the novel ends shortly after reclusive Dutch-American author Peter Van Houten ties one of the characters to railroad tracks as an exploration of the trolley problem, which is a really interesting idea to me in philosophy,’ Green explained.
Again, his editor saved the day (and the novel) by also shutting that idea down. As much as we hate to admit it, we’ll stick with Hazel and Gus’s tragic ending.