It's hard to write a satisfying conclusion to a story that famously ends in disaster. Nonetheless, James Cameron was able to follow the tragic climax of Titanic (1997) with a denouement that left viewers feeling uplifted. The last chunk of the film—which (spoilers!) shows 100-year-old Rose dropping the Heart of the Ocean in the same spot where she said goodbye to Jack, and later reuniting with him in a dream or in death—helped make it a movie people wanted to see again and again. But this sequence was almost much less elegant. As The A.V. Club reports, deleted footage shows that the movie nearly ended on a much different—and goofier—note.
The research crew led by Bill Paxton's character Brock Lovett played a bigger role in the original ending. As you can see in the video below, old Rose is interrupted by them as she prepares to toss the Heart of the Ocean off the ship. Lovett begs her not to throw away the priceless item they've been searching for, but Rose reveals that this is something she's been planning for a while. When she releases the diamond into the Atlantic, Lovett reacts by laughing and asking Rose's granddaughter to dance.
Putting aside the corniness of this scene, the addition of other characters makes Rose's actions less about her personal grown and more about Brock Lovett and the crew. At some point in the editing process, James Cameron must have figured out that the story—and thus the ending—really belonged to Rose and Jack. The result is a much quieter, more intimate conclusion that feels welcome after all the drama and heartbreak.
After watching the full deleted scene below, check out these fascinating facts about Titanic.
[h/t The A.V. Club]