'Everything Everywhere All At Once' Editor Reveals Film's Alternate Endings

Everything Everywhere All At Once has a moving story at its heart, about the importance of family and feeling accepted, of living in the moment even if life didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, but the Oscars frontrunner wasn't always going to end the same way, editor Paul Rogers told Newsweek.

The film, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert ("The Daniels"), follows Michelle Yeoh's Evelyn Quan, a Chinese American immigrant who is disappointed with her life and is struggling to connect with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

Evelyn is then unexpectedly tasked with saving existence when the multiverse is threatened by a menacing force known as Jobu Tupaki. However, she must first learn to navigate the alternate universes, no matter how strange, with the help of an alternate version of Waymond.

Rogers spoke to Newsweek about the process of editing the film, the scenes that were left on the cutting room floor, and what it's like to be an Oscar nominee.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Editor Reveals Film's Alternate Endings

Everything Everwhere All At Once
Michelle Yeoh (right), Stephanie Hsu (top left), and Ke Huy Quan (bottom left) in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'. The film's editor Paul Rogers spoke to Newsweek about the process of making the film and the scenes that did not make the cut. A24

Everything Everywhere All At Once was originally two hours and 45 minutes long, but it was cut down by half an hour which meant losing a lot of scenes that Rogers enjoyed.

One such scene would have been included at the end of the film—shortly after Evelyn manages to reconnect with her daughter Joy and encourages her to not feel jaded by the prospect of life being meaningless when all things are possible in the multiverse.

"After they reunite in the parking lot and Waymond rips up the divorce papers, [he and Evelyn] walk over, find the karaoke machine on the ground that Evelyn threw through the window and then they turn it on and start singing 'Barbie Girl'," the editor shared.

"And then everyone in the party comes out of the parking lot and they all sing 'Barbie Girl' together. It's this really fun, strange musical moment, [but] because we ended up cutting out an earlier scene where they sing 'Barbie Girl,' it just came out of nowhere and made no sense, so we ended up cutting that."

Everything Everywhere All At Once ends with Evelyn heading to the IRS office to file her taxes with Joy, Waymond, and her father Gong Gong (James Hong). At that moment, it is revealed that Evelyn can still hear all of the multiverses at once, but it took the team time to nail down that exact ending.

Rogers said: "We did talk a little bit about how we wanted to treat the very final shot of Evelyn—the film has that move in on her face. [We talked about] whether we wanted to feel peaceful like she's done it, she's living only in this universe at once, in one moment and she's blocked everything else out. Or, if we wanted it to be this cacophony of [sound], she's just barely trying to hold it together.

"So you can see that we treated it with the latter idea. Evelyn is still existing amid the noise, amidst the noise of infinite multiverses, and it's always going to be a struggle and it's not a classic happy end."

On Deleted Scenes

The ending wasn't the only part of the film that changed during the post-production process as there were a lot of fun scenes that had to be removed in order to save time.

"Everything we cut I miss," the editor said of the deleted scenes. "I think we made the right decisions obviously, and everything went for a good reason, but there was a whole universe called 'Spaghetti Baby Noodle Boy' where it was Evelyn as a piece of spaghetti and she had a little baby that was a noodle, like a macaroni noodle with a hole in it, voiced by Jenny Slate.

"Slate's character always felt like an outcast, it was the only noodle in the bowl that had a hole in it and it was this weird, crazy little universe, and I loved it when I read it. I loved it when I saw the footage. But every time we tried to put in the movie it threw everyone off the journey, you know?

"People would even comment on how they love that universe, but we could tell that it was still messing up the flow of the film, so we ended up cutting that. But not before trying everything, trying a complete re-approach, treating it like a bunch of different ideas."

"Then there was a great scene between another version of Alpha-Waymond and Jobu," he added. "Where they were travelling around in the RV and they were buddies, and they were listening to Tom Petty and talking about stuff, not crazy at all.

"That was another thing that just kind of grounded the film to a halt in this part of that scene, we didn't know how to cut it."

Rogers, who edited the film using Adobe Premiere Pro, explained that the film had an average of 300 cuts per reel when the normal number is usually 100, and so it took a lot of work to put the whole thing together, making it the "most challenging" film he's worked on but also one of the most rewarding.

One big scene that changed significantly in post-production was the one in which Jobu (an alternate version of Joy) makes her grand entrance in front of Evelyn. The scene demonstrates her ability to jump between multiverses to turn a policeman into confetti, amongst many other things.

"Stephanie Hsu just had so much fun in that scene and was doing such crazy stuff, we had a lot of really wonderful choices," Rogers reflected. "The day after they shot that scene, Zak Stoltz, the visual effects supervisor, was putting effects of the guy turning into confetti on set.

"The only thing that changed drastically in that scene was Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis) used to pop back up in that scene, [her] character was a big part of it and we ended up realizing late into the edit that her character just didn't need to be there, even though it was all really fun stuff.

"So we ended up digitally removing her from the scene itself. There are a lot of shots of Jobu walking down the hallway and Jamie's right behind her saying stuff, but we just cut her out. I was really worried about what Jamie would think, that she would be like, 'Oh, I had this big monologue in that scene and I worked so hard on it.'

"But apparently she told Daniel Scheinert after seeing that we cut it and was like, 'Yeah, I never understood that scene anyways.' I was like, man, sometimes these other people just know before you know! It was interesting."

On the Oscars and a Potential Sequel

Everything Everywhere All At Once
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once.' One big scene that changed significantly in post-production was the one in which Jobu (an alternate version of Joy) makes her grand entrance in front of Evelyn. A24

Everything Everywhere All At Once is nominated for nine Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards, which will be held this Sunday, including for best film and best editing, the latter of which Rogers is shortlisted for.

Rogers admits it is "very strange" to be nominated for an Oscar but also "wonderful" because it was completely unexpected. Reflecting on the other films nominated for editing, he added: "I love all the other contenders, especially in my category. I think Tár is a masterwork of editing. I think that it's probably, editorially, the opposite of our film but it's just as bold and incredibly fascinating.

"I love that Banshees [of Inisherin] is so pitch perfect, and Elvis is just insane, technically such a crazy achievement, and Top Gun: Maverick, they brought cinema back and what they did with that film was such a beautiful homage to Tony Scott as well.

"So yeah, in our field it was definitely very bombastic, we definitely did the most editing, I don't know if that means it was the best editing."

Rogers added that while the Daniels have expressed an interest in revisiting the world of Everything Everywhere All At Once, he feels that it might not be necessary.

"I don't know that I would want to see a sequel, maybe a spin-off or something," he said. "I think Daniel and Daniel had mentioned this idea that it would be fun to see spiritual sequels by other filmmakers.

"I am a big believer in if someone comes out of the screening of your film saying 'I wish I had more of this,' that's a good thing[...] It's better than them coming out and being like, 'Yeah, I had enough, that was plenty. I'm very satisfied with that.'"

He added: "But I think that anything that Daniel and Daniel do is going to be spiritually related to this."

Everything Everywhere All At Once is available to watch on Showtime.