Endings Part 4 supplement — 2001: A Space Odyssey


Shots of the stargate through which protagonist David Bowman travels in the final minutes of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Images via www.collativelearning.com and www.sci-fi-o-rama.com.

A newspaper contest—probably the Washington Post Style section—once invited readers to send in alternate film endings that would have changed the history of film.  One of the winning entries said something like, “At the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, something comprehensible happens.”

Near the end of the film, the film’s protagonist, David Bowman, an astronaut who is investigating a mysterious monolith, is pulled through something of a magic portal, a stargate.  (See the pictures above.) 

Soon after this we see him as an old man, looking up from a bed in an otherworldly chamber.

The ending can dissected in many ways, but Stanley Kubrick, the director, seems not to concern himself with whether his audience can explain what happened.  Instead, having pushed us out through a magic portal, he leaves us drifting through the weightless sensation that whatever awaits us is beyond our understanding.

Thank you for reading.