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!

A Monet Experience

Monet Experience (noun): The process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something for the first time, or without any preconceived notion as to what might be entailed or encountered. To be a blank canvas.  I went into the movie without even seeing the trailer, it was a total Monet Experience.

“Water Lilies at the Bridge” by Claude Monet – 1890

This is the coining of the term; its first non-spoken use.  Monet, like me, often longed to see the world without any preconceived notions, prejudices, or expectation whatsoever.  To see the world for the first time, like a child, but with an adult mind with the capabilities to appreciate such a thing.

When you taste a new dish for the first time, when you read a book with no idea what it’s about, when you visit somewhere you’ve never even seen pictures of — you’re having a Monet Experience.  In the fashion of an Epicurean, I find no greater bliss than experiencing something new; no matter how small.  So when I read that Monet felt the same way, it finally gave a name to what I’d been feeling all along.

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
– Claude Monet

And to be frank: I’m not narcissistic enough to call it a “Schannep Experience”.  I like the name “Monet Experience”.  Associating a man so full of passion, genius and talent adds an element of beauty to a concept near and dear to my heart.

As both a purveyor and rabid consumer of books and movies, a Monet Experience is essential to my enjoyment.  Friends call me a “Story Purist” because I don’t like to know anything about a book or movie going into it.  The writer intends information to be revealed in a specific way, and it tickles my senses for the process to unfold in such a manner.  Spoilers, an apt name if ever one was writ, ruin that experience.

Ever watch a movie trailer, then say “Thanks for showing me the entire movie”?  This is far too commonplace, in my opinion.  Teasers do much better, but if I know I’m interested in something, I’ll skirt any conversation or exposure to that work.

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” – Claude Monet

My love of the Monet Experience was cemented by a single event.  I’ve served in the military, and during basic training we were cut off from the outside world.  After we were able to leave the gates for the first time, I went to see a movie with a few friends.  We had no idea what any of the films playing were about.  “What should we see?” we asked one another aloud.  A patron leaving said, “The Ring is a really great movie.”  We all shrugged and bought tickets.  It remains to this day one of my favorite movie-going experiences.

“So how do you pick movies and books?” you might ask.  Simple: by recommendation.  Trusted friends and critics say something is amazing and worth my time, and I check it out.  Or by reputation.  There are writers and filmmakers whom I believe produce quality art.  Once I’m a fan, I’m hooked till they lose me.

Bottom line: Sometimes you can’t avoid the hype, but I find it more pleasurable not to seek it out.  Give it a try.  Only a Monet Experience can provide the joy of unadulterated perception.

© James Schannep and jamesschannep.com, 2011-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.