Every so often, a scene that is essential to a full understanding of a movie's plot ends up on the cutting room floor, leaving the audience feeling confused. Here are 10 of those instances.
1. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
In the original theatrical release of Blade Runner, audiences were confused when Deckard (Harrison Ford) found an origami unicorn that Gaff (Edward James Olmos) left for him during his escape with Rachael (Sean Young). For the next 20 years, this very ambiguous moment was a mystery to many viewers until Ridley Scott restored the deleted scene back into Blade Runner for its 20th anniversary in 2002. The scene featured Deckard’s daydream of a unicorn, which fleshed out the idea that he’s a replicant, and that Gaff knows his true identity.
2. THE GOONIES (1985)
At the end of The Goonies, a number of news reporters surround the titular group of teens and ask them questions about their adventure. Data (Jonathan Ke Huy Quan) tells one of the reporters that the octopus attack was “very scary and very dangerous.” But the audience never saw an octopus attack.
A deleted scene explains what Data was talking about: The group was attacked by a giant octopus before they make it onto the pirate ship. Although the scene was cut out of the movie, it appeared in its computer game tie-in.
3. BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)
In Back to the Future, Marty (Michael J. Fox) pretends to be a visiting spaceman to scare George McFly (Crispin Glover) into asking Lorraine (Lea Thompson) to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. He wears the same radioactive fallout suit he wore to get to 1955 and uses his portable AIWA cassette player to play Van Halen to wake up his father. However, Marty also appears to be wearing a modern hairdryer on his belt, which he actually uses as a heat ray in the extended version of the scene.
Here’s where he got it: In a deleted scene, Doc from 1955 rummages through a suitcase of his future self’s personal belongings, which contains a Playboy magazine and a hairdryer. The extended scene also reveals why George overslept instead of going to school the next day.
4. ALIENS (1986)
At the beginning of Aliens, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is rescued while in hypersleep after drifting in space for 57 years. When she’s told her daughter died while she was away, Ripley appears to shrug it off and proceeds to take an assignment with a group of space Marines on LV-426.
While Ripley finds Newt (Carrie Henn) on the planet and looks after her as if she were her daughter, a scene that was deleted from the theatrical release reveals Ripley's heartbreak over her own daughter’s death. The scene fleshes out her character and frames the entire film as a woman trying to piece together her life after fighting Xenomorphs in outer space. Although the scene is short, James Cameron reedited it back into the director’s cut, which emphasizes the family aspects of Aliens.
5. BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989)
In Back to the Future Part II, old Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) steals the DeLorean time machine in 2015 to give his younger self the Grays Sports Almanac. When old Biff returns to the future, he’s visibly hunched over and in pain when he staggers out of the DeLorean—with no explanation as to what happened to him.
However, a deleted scene shows old Biff Tannen hiding behind a car and vanishing away from existence. Director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer/producer Bob Gale explained that old Biff disappeared because he no longer existed in 2015 (Lorraine shot him sometime in the 1990s). The scene was deleted because test audiences didn’t understand what was going on, so the filmmakers decided to make it ambiguous—and only slightly confusing—instead.
6. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991)
At the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 sacrifices itself to save the future from more Terminators being made. Before it lowers itself into molten steel, John Connor (Edward Furlong) pleads with it not to kill itself. The T-800 tells John that it now understands why people love and why it can never return the emotion to others.
There was a deleted scene that explained how the T-800 now understands human emotions. In the scene, John and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) reset the CPU chip in the Terminator's head to make him seem more human. Director James Cameron restored the scene in the film’s extended edition.
Fun Fact: The deleted scene also features Linda Hamilton’s twin sister Leslie as a body double in the mirror reflection. The mirror is just a hole through a wall with Linda Hamilton and a mechanical puppet on one side and her twin sister and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other.
7. THE LION KING (1994)
In The Lion King, the grown up Nala (Moira Kelly) accidently bumps into adult Simba (Matthew Broderick) after he was exiled from the Pride Lands. But how did Nala run into Simba in the first place? Her expression suggests that she was surprised and confused to see him out in the wilderness, because she believed him to be dead.
There’s a deleted scene that featured two extra songs called “The Madness of King Scar” and an early version of “Be Prepared.” Apparently, Scar wanted Nala to be his new queen, but she refused. As a result, Scar banished Nala from her home. While the song was cut from the film, it was featured in the Broadway version.
8. INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)
One of the biggest plot holes in Independence Day happens during its climax, when tech wiz David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) uploads a crippling computer virus with his trusty Mac PowerBook in order to disable the aliens' mothership. Since the film’s release in 1996, fans have questioned how a laptop could be compatible with advanced alien technology.
Well, there’s a deleted scene that shows how David formulated the virus when he was given access to the old alien spaceship from the Roswell crash in Area 51. Considering that he figured out the alien’s countdown clock and how they were coordinating their attack, we'll just have to trust that he’s also probably smart enough to attack their computer system directly.
9. IRON MAN (2008)
Just before Tony Stark takes Iron Man into combat for the first time, he’s watching a TV news report about potential terrorists from his home in Malibu, California. In the next scene, he’s flying to Afghanistan to stop the terrorist threat. But how does he get from Southern California to the Middle East so quickly? A deleted scene (above) explains how Stark used a party with supermodels at his Dubai house as a cover to travel to Afghanistan.
10. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)
At the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, an imprisoned Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) warns Batman that “the bell cannot be unrung. He’s hungry. He’s found us and he’s coming!” Many people left the theater wondering why Luthor was in jail, and who he meant by “he.”
Three days after the superhero movie was released in theaters, Warner Bros. actually released a deleted scene on YouTube that (somewhat) explained the ending. The scene featured Luthor and who many people assumed was supervillain Steppenwolf together with three mysterious Mother Boxes, as a S.W.A.T. team advances on the young billionaire. (Some people weren't sure whether it was Steppenwolf.) To avoid confusion, director Zack Snyder added the scene back into the extended edition home video release.