The Fault In Our Stars Almost Had A Drastically Different Ending

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest
The Fault In Our Stars is one of the most beloved love stories of our generation, with a conclusion even more tragic than Jack meeting his icy grave in Titanic. Hazel reading the lovely eulogy that Gus wrote for her prior to his death may have made us bawl well before Hazel said, "Okay," but I'll take all the Kleenex in the world over what author John Green said was his original idea for the novel's ending.

Green originally had way, way darker plans for the ending of his beloved novel. In his original version, Green wanted to have Hazel take action following Gus' death, so he wrote a 40-page ending that had her and author Peter Van Houten track down a drug dealer and kill him, leading to their own deaths in a hail of bullets.

That wasn't the only deeply disturbing ending that Green came up with: in a recent interview with TV writer and Nerdist Writers Panel podcaster Ben Blacker, Green admitted that he wrote an ending so ludicrous his editor still refers to it every time he puts something bizarre in his novels:

"In the second draft of The Fault In Our Stars, the novel ends shortly after reclusive Dutch-American author Peter Van Houten ties one of the characters to railroad tracks as an exploration of the trolley problem, which is a really interesting idea to me in philosophy."

Green is referring to the ethical dilemma created by British philosopher Philippa Foot in 1967. The trolley problem asks whether it is ethical and reasonable to change the course of a trolley in order to save five people — if doing so will certainly kill one. It's an interesting idea, though it's not at all what The Fault In Our Stars is about.

"[My editor] was like, 'I can't tell if this is a joke,'" Green says of the alternate ending. "I was like, 'No man, this is a really interesting way into the trolley problem.' And she said, 'I don't think this book is about the trolley problem.'"

So yeah: Green almost tied someone to train tracks in The Fault In Our Stars, instead of writing the beautiful ending that left us sobbing.

It's not the only book that the author almost ruined: according to Green, he nearly made Paper Towns an exploration of the American postal system, instead of a story about growing up and understanding the complexities of the people we put on a pedestal.

Points for big ideas, Green, but, you know...maybe write them into another novel?
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