Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan confirms that he briefly toyed with ending Season 1 on a cliffhanger instead of the more serene, closed-ended conclusion viewers witnessed. And the auteur has zero doubt that he made the right creative call.
“It didn’t look like anything I’d want out there in the world, which is why we abandoned it quickly,” Flanagan says of the scrapped climax. “It was part of the very, very early conversations we had about it, but it never really took a shape that I’d want to talk about.”
Aside from that one tweak, the EP notes that the Netflix hit’s finale essentially sticks to the original script. “Whatever other ideas we entertained, the ending we shot is actually very much in keeping with how it was first conceived and presented,” he maintains. “I think the other ideas were just detours, but they all led back to the same place.”
Case in point: Flanagan says the monologue recited by Michiel Huisman‘s Steven in Episode 10‘s closing moments is “almost exactly” the same as he initially envisioned. “A few weeks ago I looked back at the initial pitch document that we took out, and was surprised to see that the monologue survived almost entirely un-changed,” he marvels, “right down to ‘Most times a ghost is a wish… I wish I’d been a better husband. I wish I’d been a better brother.'” (With reporting by Diane Gordon)