Edge of Tomorrow Ending Explained!

I know, I’m late to the party (or early if we’re talking DVD release!) but EDGE OF TOMORROW was easily my favorite big budget action-er of the summer. It was funny, exciting, creative, and thrilling. Until the last five minutes. Skip past the spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.


While I wish I’d seen the movie as a Monet Experience (I mean, how much more intense would that opening 30 minutes have been if you didn’t know he was coming back after death?!), that wasn’t my main gripe. With few exceptions (CABIN IN THE WOODS comes to mind) a movie’s ending can make or break the experience.

First, a quick re-cap, just to refresh your memory. Because you’re not reading this if you haven’t seen the movie, right?

Cage (Cruise) loses the ability to “reset the day” after a blood transfusion, which he had gained via Alpha, so he and Rita (Blunt) mount a final attack against the Omega with the stakes at an all-time high. What results is a brutal, hard-wrought victory where both our heroes die. That is, until the Omega’s blood seeps into Cage’s lifeless body and the day resets before anything bad has yet happened, but somehow the Omega is still dead in the past, so Cage is able to greet Rita with a smile and offer the audience a happy ending.

Bullshit Hollywood rewrite, I thought.

So I went and read the 2010 screenplay ALL YOU NEED IS KILL by Dante Harper based on the novel of the same name by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and…wow that was different. As in, huge changes to the plot such that the different endings had nothing to do with one another. No help there.

Then I found the answer I was looking for in the unlikeliest of places: an internet comment thread. Such occurrences are usually reserved for your birthday, when the planets are aligned, after you’ve just found a four-leaf clover sitting atop a head’s-up penny–so I’ll count myself lucky.

Allow me to paraphrase the new, improved version of the ending:

When Cage killed the alpha on the beach, he didn’t share its abilities, but instead (and here’s the key) he stole them. So that particular Alpha can never come back again. It’s dead. Off the timeline. No longer even existed. Which is why we don’t see it on the beach again when he resents the day time after time. That’s point #1.
Point #2. The ability sends you back roughly 24 hours, but you only awaken the last time you gained consciousness. Which, in this case, was after he got tased and woke up.
So….when Cage later loses his resetting ability, then goes and fights the Omega, it’s still the day before the beach invasion. When he steals the Omega’s ability, it gets erased from existence. He dies much earlier than he ever had, and time resets roughly 24 hours earlier — which is BEFORE he gets tased, and instead he wakes up in the helicopter.

And the Omega is gone because it ceased to exist.

RECAP: He steals the ability from two different aliens, erasing each of their existences in the process. And he dies at two different times, so the “reset” sends him back to two different times as well.

Now the happy ending makes sense. Oh and Cage is now immortal, haha.


So, what do you think? Can a disappointing ending ruin a whole movie? Are you the type that clings to story logic or will you overlook some faults if you’re given a happy ending? Did the new ending work for you? Let me know in the comments below!

13 thoughts on “Edge of Tomorrow Ending Explained!

  1. I like what you wrote 🙂 but despite this other theory, one thing is for sure and that was hollywood didn’t like the ending so they cheated and made it into a happy ending… and that robbed the whole movie from me… it’s a brilliant movie, but by the end the movie studio decided their customer can only accept happy ending and so that ending was chosen.

    • That was my gut feeling coming out of the theater too. But the more I think about it, the more I’m okay with it. Probably because I enjoyed the rest of the film so much and that makes me want to forgive…

    • Interesting. I can see your point: If time resets to before the explosion sets off in Paris, then what explosion is the news reporting?

      Possible answer: The destruction of the Omega. I admit, I’m reaching, but if Cage waking up with the new powers results in the permanent death of the Omega, perhaps that permanent death causes the alien to explode?

  2. It’s a wrong theory. The timing has nothing to do with waking up again. There were many times when cage died much earlier but still he woke up at the same “get up, maggot” moment and not 24 hours earlier.

    • If you think of “resetting the day” as a full day in the past, it makes sense. When he dies on the beach, a full day earlier is the “get up, maggot” moment. When he dies the night *before* the beach fighting the Omega, a full day earlier is waking up on the helicopter. You have to consider “a day” as a solid unit of time and the ability goes to the nearest moment where you wake from being unconscious.

  3. Pingback: Five Books for Christmas! | jamesschannep

  4. hey all .
    note their will be a sequel to edge of tomorrow.
    so the end it is this.
    the omega scenes and alpha was near (Note Cage) it last act before it died was a reset of the day.
    cage lying it a pool of it drug did not drowned fast enough.( hint Rita telling cage to make sure he dies
    in battle) that why he woke up in stunned to see he was alive. and he smiled at Rita at the end to have one more try at saving them.

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