(WARNING: Spoilers for Netflix’s Extraction will be found below.)
Thanks to our ongoing self-isolating conditions, Netflix may have another hit on its hands with the Chris Hemsworth actioner Extraction. The high-octane film is also receiving a nice bump thanks to its Marvel connections that go beyond featuring Thor getting his John Wick on. Not only is Extraction directed by Marvel stuntman Sam Hargrave, but it’s from an original story by Joe Russo, who directed the epic, billion-dollar blockbuster Avengers: Endgame with his brother, Anthony. (The Russo Brothers are also producers on Extraction.)
With Extraction out in the wild, fans are already speculating about what the film’s ending means, and in a new interview with Collider, Hargrave provides a somewhat definitive answer and also reveals that a different ending was shot, but it left test audiences split down the middle.
In the film’s climactic battle, Hemsworth’s character Tyler Rake seemingly dies after completing his mission and getting Rudraksh Jaiswal’s Ovi to safety. But in the final moments of the film, Ovi emerges from a swimming pool to see a dark silhouette standing there waiting for him before the credits roll, which raises the question, is Tyler Rake alive? According to Hargrave, the answer is… maybe? “What would hopefully happen is people will be discussing that afterwards, and you get to say which one you feel is right for you,” he tells Collider.
If that seems frustratingly ambiguous, Hargrave explained the process behind the decision. Turns out, they originally shot an ending where Rake is unquestioningly dead. No questions asked. The problem is test audiences were divided on the outcome:
People were torn; it was almost down the middle. We want to appeal to as many people as possible without compromising the integrity of the story. And so, we think a pretty good compromise is to make an ambiguous ending. If people on one hand feel like the story is complete and is a story of redemption through sacrifice, then for them, it’ll be where the kid is imagining [Rake standing there], and then now you go, ‘Yes, I’m satisfied.’ If you feel like you love Tyler Rake, and you love Chris Hemsworth, and you want a sequel, and you’re like ‘There’s no way, you can’t kill him!’ then that’s Tyler Rake standing there looking at you. So we kind of purposefully did not pull focus to the character standing there.
Personally, Hargrave preferred the ending where Rake died and made the ultimate sacrifice to save Ovi. But there were also factions on the filmmaking side who wanted Rake to live, so he’s satisfied that the ending appealed to both camps. “We’ll give you the best of both worlds.” Hargrave said to Collider. “We’re gonna have this ambiguous ending where you can choose your own adventure.”