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!

When Your Work Rises From The Dead

This is an essay I wrote for the blog Fictional Candy to coincide with a book  giveaway.

Fictional Candy

Indie writers have a bad rap. There’s a stigma that these authors couldn’t cut it in the real world of publishing, and therefore used the resources of the internet to bypass the gatekeepers of talent. Some writers, admittedly, deserve this stereotype. For your first story, you probably shouldn’t publish it. You should email it to friends and family for their enjoyment, ask for feedback from strangers online, and grow before you try to stake a professional claim.

But what about projects rejected for reasons other than talent? Those rejected because they are considered “not marketable”? Marketability is actually more important than talent to the business side of publishing. Don’t believe me? How else can you explain this? Sure, at some point, talent is marketability, but not always. You could’ve penned the best vampire novel ever written, but the odds of getting accepted by a publishing house are extremely low—the market is flooded with vampires and therefore it might be rejected based on marketability.

You could try writing a Twilight prequel!        Or not.

So they will kill your work before it’s even born, and it’s up to you to resurrect it. You have the power. It’s no longer “Can I?” but “Should I?” Short stories are a perfect example. You can’t market a single short story as a publishing house, but you sure as hell can self-publish it online as an indie author. And if it’s good enough, you should.

Which brings me to INFECTED and “Click Your Poison” books. No, it wasn’t rejected by a publishing house—it wasn’t even submitted to a publishing house—it was rejected by Hollywood. Back in 2008, INFECTED was a screenplay. It made some ripples in the pond, did well in contests, and even won me a little money. What it didn’t do was attract studio attention. Why not? It was good, I was told, but it needed to either be based on existing intellectual property or be a zombie musical rom-com. Read: Marketability. Not wanting to compromise my story, I shelved the project.

Cut to four years later and an idea to make a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series for grown-ups.* I knew right away that INFECTED needed to rise from the dead. A book where the reader can finally find out for themselves if they would survive the zombie apocalypse? Marketable! I believed this so much so, in fact, I decided not to even attempt the traditional publishing route. It’s the new Wild West in publishing, and that makes indie authors the new outlaws. But soon, very soon, “self-published” will no longer be a dirty word.

*Choose Your Own Adventure® is now a registered trademark of Chooseco, LLC, and is not associated in any way with Click Your Poison™ books.

Head on over to Fictional Candy to enter the giveaway for a free copy of INFECTED!

Scripts vs Novels

Disclaimer: I am not a legal professional, and nothing found on this site should be taken as legal advice.  Always consult an attorney.

I’ve already written about the differences of Screenwriting vs Prose from a writer’s perspective.  Now I’d like to touch a little on the differences between the finished products: Scripts (screenplays) and Novels (books).  Physically, here you go:

The Script: Three-hole-punched 8 1/2″ x 11″ computer printed paper, bound with two brads.
A Book: Bound pages, professionally printed, in a variety of shapes and sizes.









As for the format?  There’s plenty of nuts and bolts books written on formatting screenplays and you can google manuscript specifications for agents or publishers (or ebook format), so if you’re looking for that, keep looking.

What I’d really like to talk about in this post is what the rights a writer keeps if they sell a script versus selling a novel.

Here’s what it boils down to: when you sell a screenplay, you are (generally) selling the whole thing.  It’s no longer yours.  Other writers can (and probably will) make changes to your story without your permission.  When you sell a novel, you’re still the copyright holder and it’s still your writing, you’ve just given the publishing house the rights to print and sell it.

As a writer in the US, you have far more rights as a novelist than as a screenwriter.  In Europe, screenwriters have more rights, but for this purpose–I’m talking only about American writers making deals with American production companies.

There are ways to keep certain rights to a screenplay, such as the extremely complicated Theatrical Separated Rights.  On the flipside, there’s also terrifying loopholes like Hollywood Accounting, where you might never even get paid.  For the most part, though, screenwriters aren’t even allowed to distribute the very scripts they wrote once they’re sold.

But as a novelist, you keep your copyright.  Even if your book is getting adapted to film–in which case you only license the material to the studio, allowing them to make the film, much like you allowed a publisher to print the book.

Really, we can chase this rabbit down the hole as far as we want, but I think if we go much further we’ll need a pack of lawyers to read the map.  So… that’s it for now.

Lesson learned: write the book first.  Sell it twice, keep the rights!