Sandra Oh Reveals Killing Eve’s Original Alternative Ending

today5 May 2022

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Killing Eve star Sandra Oh has revealed there was originally an alternative ending planned for the show.

The hit BBC thriller came to a controversial conclusion last month, with fans and critics calling it out as “lazy” and “unoriginal”.

The show wrapped up with main characters Eve and Villanelle finally getting it together, before the deadly assassin was shot on the orders of Carolyn Martens and bled to death after jumping into the Thames with Eve.

Speaking to Deadline, Sandra, who played Eve, revealed that it was originally conceived that it was her character who would perish in the show’s conclusion.

“Honestly, it was going to be the other way around,” she said. “When I was talking to Laura Neal, our head writer – that was at the beginning of 2020 – and we were chatting about how we were going to end this. I was like, ‘You should kill my character’. I thought that would be the strongest and the most interesting ending.

“And not only that, I felt emotionally, it was the right place of where I was at, because at the end of season three, I just felt like Eve was starting to get into kind of like a nihilistic place, and we’re like, ‘Let’s just continue that line and let’s go straight into it’”.

Sandra explained that Covid – which caused numerous delays to the fourth series – meant things changed.

Villanelle and Eve finally got it together in the Killing Eve finale
Villanelle and Eve finally got it together in the Killing Eve finale

BBC America/David Emery

She continued: “The pandemic happened, and then somewhere in the summertime, they came to me and said, ‘We can’t do it. We need to change it. Eve needs to live’.

“Eve is the way into this world, she’s our everywoman, so it’s kind of really super depressing if she dies. So we switched it around and Jodie was very much on board with that.”

It was heavily criticised by fans and critics, who noted that the decision to kill a queer character played into the ‘bury your gays’ trope present in many works of fiction, whereby more queer characters – and in particular lesbian, bisexual female and transgender characters – die compared to their straight cisgender counterparts.

Luke Jennings – who penned the Codename Villanelle novels on which Killing Eve was based – later hit out at the ending in a piece for the Guardian.

Villanelle was killed at the end of the final episode
Villanelle was killed at the end of the final episode

He wrote: “The season four ending was a bowing to convention. A punishing of Villanelle and Eve for the bloody, erotically impelled chaos they have caused. A truly subversive storyline would have defied the trope which sees same-sex lovers in TV dramas permitted only the most fleeting of relationships before one of them is killed off.

“How much more darkly satisfying, and true to Killing Eve’s original spirit, for the couple to walk off into the sunset together? Spoiler alert, but that’s how it seemed to me when writing the books.”

One of Killing Eve’s writers Kayleigh Llewellyn also revealed the show was not originally due to finish with its fourth season.

All seasons of Killing Eve are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.

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