Warning, spoilers. The following paragraphs contain spoilers for the Cube movie. If you don’t want to know anything, don’t read on.
A low-budget sci-fi film that marked the end of the 1990s, Vincenzo Natali’s Cube is available today on Netflix. Disturbing, unhealthy, violent and complex, this first feature film, very inspired by the episode “Five characters in search of an exit” from the series The Fourth Dimension, by the Canadian director features six protagonists trying to escape of a cubic structure of several rooms containing deadly traps. Cube is often seen as a critique of society and a metaphor for the conditioning of human beings through the six protagonists, locked in these thousands of moving parts, who kill each other instead of helping each other.
You should know that a single cube was built for the shooting with a single door that can support the weight of the actors. The color of the room was changed thanks to sliding panels, which required quite a bit of organization in terms of filming sequences. Another partial cube was built for scenes where filming required the points of view of a protagonist looking from room to room. The particularity of the film is that no clue has been left on the origin of the cube, its function, who controls it, nor what is outside.
After several setbacks, only one manages to survive and escape the cube: Kazan (Andrew Miller), the young mentally handicapped, who finds himself in a very bright room and disappears in a very white light. We do not know what became of Kazan or what the cube really is and where it came from. But this end open to multiple interpretations could have been quite different. In the very first version of Cube, Vincenzo Natali shot an ending that explained the evil structure and what was outside. But the Canadian director hated it so much that he took it off in the edit and even destroyed the footage.
An alternate ending gone
According to ScreenRant and the wiki LostMedia, the spectators of the very first projections were able to discover this final scene where, according to them, one sees Kazan coming out of the cube and standing outside on a cliff. The young man then discovers an endless ocean and understands that he is on … a purple alien planet. When he turns around, the entrance to the cube disappears. Some even speak of a sky full of exoplanets. This alternate ending could have completely questioned the philosophical message of the film and be just another sci-fi film about aliens. It is difficult to know for sure if this sequence really contains this passage but one thing is certain, it did exist.
Vincenzo Natali confirmed it on Twitter by answering a few questions from Internet users on Cube: “Yes, a brief scene was shot and immediately removed from the editing sequence”. When another user asks him if this scene is available in DVD / Blu-ray bonuses or elsewhere, the Canadian filmmaker’s answer is clear: “No, she will never be seen. I burned her and stomped on her”. Unless a team member has kept a copy without permission, there is no longer any record of this alternate ending.
To corroborate the alien track of the alternate ending, some viewers take as evidence one of the film’s promotional posters showing the cube floating above an ocean. But another tweet from Vincenzo Natali calls out to the veracity of the accounts of spectators on the passage in question. The director denied a rumor that we see an alien candy bar wrapper : “I think the myth around this candy wrapper comes from my other movie Nothing, which also stars Andrew Miller (Kazan)”. The Canadian filmmaker wants to keep the mystery on this famous sequence which could have spoiled the content of Cube and its cryptic outcome.
However, in October 2019, Vincenzo Natali shared on Twitter his personal website full of precious archives and unpublished documents, among which we find no less than seven versions of the Cube script, written between 1994 and 1996. The initial project had a more comical tone and there are some notable differences between the scenarios, in particular the names of the characters. Some scenarios contained scenes outside the cube or elements suggesting that the protagonists were in fact in prison. In some scripts, the characters had access to food and water, but these elements have been removed to increase the sense of urgency of the characters in the middle of an escape attempt.
Regarding the end of Cube, we can see in a script from November 1994 that Vincenzo Natali had annotated an idea of epilogue in the woods while in the last scripts of 1996 the epilogue was a sequence featuring Kazan with his nose on a metal wall similar to cube. The man then turns around and finds himself in the middle of the city and absorbed by the crowd. The last shot then showed an overview of a city in full consumerist activity.
This ending, which has probably never been filmed, could be yet another justification for a critique of our modern society, but perhaps also a way of saying that the whole cube experiment happened in Kazan’s head. . In any case, the myth around the alternate ending of Cube has for the moment no denouement as Vincenzo Natali refuses to say more, which gives free rein to the imagination of the spectators.
The Cube trailer: