Director David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) originally ended differently than what made it to theaters, which was fortunate because the alternative version was a far less fitting conclusion to the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). In the final cut, Laurie – with a major assist from daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) – saw Michael successfully locked inside her basement bunker as it went up in flames. Three surviving generations of Strode women then escaped in a truck as the house burned, seemingly ending Michael’s reign of terror. In reality, the outcome set up a trilogy with two planned sequels.
A previous version of the script’s final moments surfaced, however, featuring a very different conclusion. While trying to protect her granddaughter, Laurie and Michael fought again in one last confrontation that left her mortally wounded after the masked killer stabbed her in the chest and twisted his knife. Laurie’s daughter then shot Michael with a crossbow, and he fell among Laurie’s training mannequins before taking what appeared to be one last labored breath. While the symbolism of Michael succumbing to his wounds among the evidence of Laurie’s decades of training may have been compelling, it’s the fact Laurie died, too, that would have undermined the story.
In fairness, the character has been killed before. First, when Curtis declined to return for 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Laurie was written off as having died in a car accident. The next death came after the events of Halloween: H20 (1998), where it was revealed she’d faked her death and hid under a pseudonym. The difference is that when Michael finally bested Laurie in Halloween: Resurrection (2002), the loss felt earned because she’d escaped him so many times before. But 2018’s Halloween disregarded previous sequels and served as a continuation of the original 1978 film only. This version of Laurie encountered Michael only once before and had planned for the rematch ever since. Dying in her first encounter after would’ve been a disappointing end to an iconic character who has proven herself an equal match against Michael Myers the past forty years.
Audiences seemingly agreed as the film underwent reshoots following initial test screenings. With the feature originally billed as Laurie and Michael’s final confrontation, expectations were that at least one of them would die. However, after exploring Laurie’s PTSD and the consequences of raising her daughter in a manner befitting Terminator’s Sarah Connor, anything but an uncontested victory would’ve felt like a disservice to Laurie’s journey and to the film itself. Producer Ryan Turek weighed in on Halloween’s ending, saying, “what we ultimately went with delivered more of what you want to see on both a cat-and-mouse, stalk-and-kill level as well as emotionally fulfilling a lot of the character arcs we set up.”
Indeed, the theatrical ending of Halloween proved Laurie’s sacrifices worth the cost when Karen, who spent the majority of the film resenting her militant upbringing, fended off Michael and sprang the long-awaited trap. Karen’s win became Laurie’s win, too, because the cause of estrangement between mother and daughter was the very thing that saved them all in the end. Laurie falling to Michael immediately after would have weakened any victory and rendered the personal price she paid exiled from her family far too high.
That being said, Laurie surviving Green’s trilogy is certainly unlikely as a passing of the baton to the next generation of would-be victims seems inevitable. Curtis surpasses Donald Pleasence’s record for appearances in the series with Halloween Kills, and a seventh performance anticipated in Halloween Ends will ensure it’s a long time – if ever – before another character faces off with their evil counterpart as many times as Laurie Strode. That fact alone demands Curtis and Laurie get a better send-off than originally planned, and thanks to filmmakers abandoning the alternate ending to 2018’s Halloween by allowing Laurie to live to fight another day – at least for now – they will get that chance.