Ending a movie sure isn't easy - get it right and it can provide a crowd-pleasing cherry on top of a great story, but get it wrong and you can end up throwing away so, so much of the audience's goodwill that you've earned.
As such it's little surprise that climaxes and third acts tend to be the most workshopped and revised aspect of just about any film, with filmmakers going back and forth over how things should wrap up in order to send viewers home happy.
And because filmmakers naturally love discussing the creative process, they're all too eager to talk about those endings that very nearly came to pass.
Over the past year, these 10 movies almost ended significantly differently, whether with a dead character surviving, an alive character dying, or a climax of a totally different style or scale.
For the most part it's incredibly easy to appreciate why these endings were changed, even if many of them are still intriguing enough that it's a shame they've not been released as deleted scenes for fans.
But if a few creative meetings had gone a little differently, this is indeed how these movies would've ended...
10. Wenwu Survives - Shang-Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings climaxes with Shang-Chi's (Simu Liu) father Wenwu (Tony Leung) being manipulated by the Dweller-in-Darkness into opening the Dark Gate that contains it, unleashing it upon the village of Ta Lo.
Shang-Chi ultimately ends up battling and defeating Wenwu but decides to spare him. Yet in a tragic twist, Wenwu is killed when the Dweller-in-Darkness consumes his soul while he sacrifices himself to protect his son.
But director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton confirmed shortly after the film's release that an earlier version of the script actually had Wenwu survive the final battle.
And while he didn't elaborate further on the implications of Wenwu being alive, it clearly would've created a totally different dynamic for the film's ending.
As for why Wenwu was killed? Cretton said that it felt like a "cheat" for the character to survive in their original version:
"Some things work and some things don't... We're constantly searching for the version of the story that feels most authentic to the characters... I mean, even though these characters are operating on a very operatic level, there's still things that you try that just feel like cheats. And [Wenwu surviving] was one of them."