Did That Really Happen? 6 Books That Had Their Endings Changed For The Screen

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Okay, if you don't like spoilers – or if you haven't read The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – I recommend you stop reading right now. Instead, allow me to suggest that you check out Niall's fantastic Super Spicy Chicken Zinger Burger recipe, or maybe catch up on our most popular posts of this week.

Right. So you can't say I didn't warn you.

The book tells the story of a disparate group of characters from the twee, middle-English village of Little Pagford as they bid to replace a deceased town councillor, drawing upon Rowling's penchant for complicated, exaggerated and engaging personalities to deliver a scathing class critique with an utterly sobering ending – and those who have read the Potter author's acclaimed follow-up have long been stoked about the BBC adaptation, which kicks off tonight and runs over three episodes.

The excitement was tempered somewhat over the last week, however, as it was revealed that the infamously dark ending had been changed to something a bit more light-hearted, to cater for Sunday night audiences. And naturally, the switch hasn't been greeted with eager anticipation amongst fans – but it's certainly not the first literary adaptation to receive this treatment.

Here's six that spring to mind, and if you have any others to add to the list, let us know!

1. Jurassic Park

It would have been so visually pleasing to watch the island and its dinosaur inhabitants being blown to smithereens in the film, as happened in Michael Crichton's novel – but then, we wouldn't have had the myriad of sequels that followed.

Dammit, Spielberg, you could have saved so many lives...

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2. The Notebook

The classic tear-jerker went a bit easier on its audience when it was initially written – Noah and Ellie actually live out their final days together, happy despite the knowledge that their days are numbered. The film, on the other hand, features that parting scene.

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3. Forrest Gump

In the book, Forrest is kidnapped by cannibals. And he goes into space.

Let's leave it at that, shall we?

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4. Gone Girl

The changes in the David Fincher adaptation were pretty controversial at the time, sparking a huge debate over the wiggle room writers should have when adapting their works (or the works of others) for the screen. The changes are plentiful, from the death of the Desi character to the manner of Amy's pregnancy – but ultimately, critics agreed that the tweaks suited the adaptation.

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5. I Am Legend

Will Smith's character sets himself up with a fairly cushy new existence in a human colony at the end of the film – the book, on the other hand, sees him end up in a prison cell awaiting the death sentence for his crimes against the world's new alien overlords. Hard luck, mate.

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6. Fight Club

Ah, David Fincher – we meet again.

Remember Tyler Durden's plans to set bombs off in the city, executed with all the craziness we'd come to expect from a film where the main character turns out not to actually exist? Yeah, that plan fell to pieces in the book. But this is a movie, and what sort of director would Fincher be if he passed up the chance to add in some explosions?

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Written By

Aidan Coughlan

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