But - what happens next?

Occasionally I'll read a book or watch a movie where it's clear the ending is supposed to be this joyous moment where the characters run off into their happily ever after - but I'm left thinking what happens next is where the real story should have been.

Such is the case with the 2005 movie THE ISLAND with Scarlett Johansson and Ewan MacGregor. If you haven't seen that movie, and you still plan to, then skip this post, because there are spoilers from here on out.

Now, I actually really enjoyed THE ISLAND.  In it, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta think they're survivors of a global apocalypse and long to win the lottery so they can go to The Island - the last unsullied outdoor paradise on Earth.  But then they find out they're clones and going to The Island means dying and donating their organs to their sponsor (original). What ensues is a series of preposterous chase scenes (seriously - how likely is it that the cloning company has no on-site security team to track Lincoln & Jordan down?), an innocent romance and ultimately the freeing of all clones set to dramatic music. Cue the credits.

But - what happens next?  How is society going to deal with this influx of clones? How are the originals going to treat their copies? That's the part of the story that would interest me - far more than just seeing a bunch of things blow up.

How about you? What stories do you think might have worked even better if they started in a different place?


Kelly said...

I feel a lot of middle books in a trilogy suffer from this same problem; instead of telling their own story, they fill in some (or generally, a LOT of) information, and then build up a conflict which will be resolved in the finale. This "middle book syndrome" always leaves me with the feeling that a lot of what was told could have been condensed and added in to either the first or the third book, as it always ends right where it begins to gain my interest again.

Radiant Shadows

Mandy P.S. said...

I completely agree about The Island! After all, Lincoln Six Echo already took over his original's life. What kind of precedent does that set? If one clone can get his original killed and take over his life, why can't the rest of the clones? I'm foreseeing a massive clone extermination. They may be free, but for how long one people realize the implications of exact copies of them running around?

That said, I hope Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta got to live happily ever after. It would be nice.

Laura S. said...

I thought the same thing after seeing this movie! I liked it fine, but I was far more interested to know what happened after the credits rolled.

Lily Cate said...

I really like these kinds of endings in contemporary, character study type stories. For instance, the non-ending endings of Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, or the Coen's No Country for Old Men.
That kind of continuing narrative fade out can make the characters more whole, and the edges of the story can bleed across the page without frustrating the audience.

In stories that involve elaborate world- building those non-ending endings can seem like a cop out, like the writers just didn't know where to go, so "leave it up to the audience to decide." I like to know enough about a character to have some ability to predict where they might be headed.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Kelly - But at least with series, you have the hope that issues will be addressed eventually.

Bittersweet - Especially since the originals were obviously people of means (and likely power), I'd think the clones would definitely be in trouble on the outside too. Maybe even worse off.

Lily - I agree.

Bethany said...

Island sounds like a movie I would like! I know a lot of people don't see this as a solution, but I try to not let the unanswered questions a movie leaves impact on how I view it unless it's really obvious.

Lissa Price said...

What Lily said.