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The Most Iconic Scenes Of The Past Decade That Were Never Supposed To Happen

An iconic scene isn't always the work of the writer or director, and it's not always created on purpose. After all, movie shoots rarely go according to plan. Circumstances change, actors improvise, unexpected problems arise, and mistakes happen. But going off-script isn't always bad. Sometimes, an offhand line of dialogue, a weird coincidence, a production snafu, or a flat-out catastrophe is exactly what a filmmaker needs to spin solid gold.

These movies and TV shows would've been great on their own, but they would've been among the best of the '10s without these unintended scenes ? We're not so sure. Thankfully, we don't have to find out. Every one of these iconic scenes made the final cut, elevating the final pictures from something good into the very best of the past decade. Check 'em out. Whether they were originally supposed to happen or not, once you see these scenes, you'll never forget them.

You're really doing it, aren't ya'?

The food poisoning sequence in Bridesmaids isn't just a funny scene. It's a statement. The scene, which begins with Bridesmaids' cast succumbing to indigestion in an all-white bridal shop and ends with Maya Rudolph dropping a deuce in the middle of the street, proves once and for all that female-led comedies can be just as raunchy, gross, and memorable as their male-led counterparts. No arguments. Discussion over.

And yet, it almost didn't happen. In the original script, the bridal shop adventure replaced bodily fluids with a fantasy sequence. Kristen Wiig's character tries on a dress and immediately imagines herself in a fantasy castle, where a shirtless Christian Bale is chopping wood. However, director Paul Feig worried that it would be hard to get Bale and other big-name stars to sign on for the role, and asked co-writers Wiig and Annie Mumolo to come up with something a little bit "harder."

Wiig and Mumolo only had a weekend to write the new sequence and weren't particularly keen on the change. Thankfully, Feig and his producer, Judd Apatow, let the writers bring a "female perspective" to the scene. Ultimately, it paid off. Feig shot numerous versions of the sequence, each one a little grosser than the last, and adjusted it eight or nine times during test screenings, and the end result re-defined comedy — female-focused or otherwise — for the rest of the decade.

Remember me?

Mad Max: Fury Road is a perfect action film. Its lead actors, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, turn in two of their best-ever performances. Its elaborate action sequences are filled with insane stunts and breathtaking production design, and were almost all created with physical, not digital, effects. Best of all, though? Furiosa's sendoff to Fury Road's main villain, Immortan Joe, couldn't be better.

Compared to the rest of the film, it's a small moment. Furiosa spears Joe's breathing apparatus, then attaches it to the wheel of his car, ripping off Joe's face. Furiosa's dialogue is what makes it memorable. "Remember me?" she growls, dredging up years' worth of implied history and making Joe's fatal blow a very, very personal triumph for the wasteland warrior.

Remarkably, the line wasn't in the script, which is even more remarkable when you consider how meticulously director George Miller had to plan, well, everything. Theron came up with the line on her own, on the same day that the scene was shot. "I remember Charlize on that day said that she wanted to say the line," Miller recalled. He approved the addition immediately. "It just hit a sweet spot in amongst that action."

What is your definition of ridiculous?

Leonardo DiCaprio is a dedicated actor. He's not going to let a minor annoyance than an open, bleeding wound get in the way of his performance. To wit: the harrowing dinner room scene in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained

In this scene, DiCaprio's slaver, Calvin Candie, faces off against Jamie Foxx's Django and Christopher Waltz's Dr. Schultz, having just learned that the two men have been trying to scam him and free Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington. During his impassioned and deeply racist monologue, DiCaprio slams his hand on the table, accidentally hitting a glass. That inadvertently slices the actor's hand wide open, but does DiCaprio stop? Not at all. Not only does Leo keep going, but he actually uses his flowing blood as a prop, smearing it all over Washington's face.

The gore might've been an accident, but it transformed a good scene into a great one, lending it a visual intensity that matches its gruesome dialogue. The Django Unchained crew must've thought so too: Allegedly, after the take, the set gave DiCaprio a standing ovation.

No one's ever really gone

It took 34 years, but Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia finally reunited on the big screen. The moment comes near the end of Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Rise of Skywalker. As the First Order closes in on the last remaining Resistance forces, who have hunkered down in an old Rebel base to make one final stand, Luke Skywalker emerges from the shadows. Despite the danger, he takes a moment to joke with his sister. He passes her Han Solo's dice. He pecks her on the forehead.

It's hard not to find the scene touching, especially given that The Last Jedi was the last movie that Carrie Fisher ever filmed (she's in The Rise of Skywalker, but that's cobbled together from archival footage). It's even more emotional when you realize that Luke's tender kiss wasn't planned. It was a Mark Hamill ad-lib.

"The kiss was unscripted & spontaneous in the moment," Hamill wrote on Twitter, "summarizing his/my feelings in a way words could never have conveyed." Or, to put it another way: the kiss wasn't just about Luke and Leia. It was Hamill's tribute to his co-star, who'd been his friend for almost 40 years. Whether or not you like The Last Jedi, that's more than a little heartbreaking.

You know I can't give you the keys, right babe?

You remember that scene in Jordan Peele's Get Out, right? The one in which you realize that Daniel Kaluuya's Chris Washington is absolutely, utterly screwed? If not, here's a quick reminder: After spending a day with his girlfriend Rose's "liberal" white family, Chris realizes that something's not right and decides to, well, get out. But there's a problem. Rose has his car keys, and her family is blocking his exit. As Chris screams for help, Rose acts confused — right up until she shows her true colors and her family goes in for the kill.

It's a carefully calibrated scene that deploys its twists and scares like clockwork. It's also entirely improvised. "I couldn't do that scene the way it was scripted," star Daniel Kaluuya told Slashfilm. "What was scripted didn't feel right in the space it was in." Kaluuya and the other actors expressed their concerns, and Peele gave them room to create something new. "All that stuff was made up in a day," Kaluuya admitted, but you wouldn't know it — the sequence ended up as one of Get Out's most memorable and menacing moments.

You use a scalpel. I prefer a hammer

It's the moment that launched a thousand memes. While Mission Impossible: Fallout's trailer is full of breathtaking stunts and death-defying action, it was a small moment that went viral. In the middle of a fistfight in a stark white bathroom, series newcomer Henry Cavill "reloads" his arms. People went crazy for it. GIFs of Cavill's arm-reload flooded social media. On the Fallout red carpet, Cavill gave onlookers "arm reloading lessons." It was a whole thing.

And yet, not only was the moment an ad-lib by Cavill, but director Christopher McQuarrie claims he had no idea it had happened. "I don't even think I was aware of it until we were editing the scene," McQuarrie told the Sun, although Cavill remembers things differently. "I did it, and then I didn't do it for the next take," Cavill said in an interview with Yahoo!. "And then [McQuarrie]... took me to the monitor and showed me the arm reload and he said, 'Do that again.'"

However, both agree on one thing: Tom Cruise, who's famous for doing his own stunts on the Mission: Impossible films, has been thoroughly upstaged. "You've got Tom... falling off of mountains... and the single biggest reaction is Henry Cavill reloading his arms," McQuarrie lamented. "Tom's actually flying a helicopter... what do I have to do?"

Music time's over!

Watch Jennifer Jason Leigh's face carefully in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Specifically, watch her face when her co-star Kurt Russell smashes her character's acoustic guitar. Her look of concern? Her panicked screams? Those aren't an act. Leigh is genuinely concerned, and with good reason: The guitar that Russell smashed was 165 years old.

The antique instrument was lent to the production by the Martin Guitar Museum, which archives instruments made by Martin & Co. The guitar was made in the 1860s, a few years before The Hateful Eight takes place, and cost a whopping $40,000. Leigh speculated that Russell either didn't know how much the guitar cost or assumed it had been swapped out for a dummy before the scene, because "his eyes literally welled up" when he realized what he'd done.

Tarantino apologized to Leigh, who was devastated by the instrument's destruction, by getting her an 1880 Martin as a wrap present, and the production repaid the Martin Museum for the loss. Still, the damage was done: The Martin Museum says it'll never lend an instrument to a film production again.

You'll always be my brother

The Fast and Furious movies keep coming, but Brian O'Conner's story is over. At the end of Furious 7, the cop-turned-criminal gets a happy — and very final ending — as he drives alongside Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto one last time. Their cars separate, and Brian drives into the distance, presumably to retire with his wife, Mia, and his children.

That wasn't how Furious 7 was supposed to end, of course. Originally, Furious 7 concluded with Brian, Dom, and the rest of the crew gearing up for another heist. Brian was still happily a family man, but he wasn't quite ready to leave the game quite yet. In fact, as writer Chris Morgan told Collider, Furious 7 would've ended with everyone "going more outlaw" than ever before.

Then, calamity struck. During filming, star Paul Walker died in a real-life car crash, forcing the filmmakers to improvise. For a while, Morgan admits, the team considered scrapping the movie entirely. After taking some time to grieve, however, Morgan and the rest of the crew decided to reconfigure the ending to pay tribute to their departed friend. Walker's death was a tragedy, but at the very least, his most famous character received a happy ending.

Think of them... great big monsters. They'd conquer the world

One of the highlights of Game of Thrones' rocky final seasons was the kinda-sorta romance between Tormund Giantsbane, the scraggly-haired wildling who went from being one of Jon Snow's biggest foes to his right-hand man, and Brienne of Tarth. While Brienne didn't have much time for Tormund, the Wildling remained absolutely smitten, and their one-sided flirtations provided many of the series' best moments.

The writers never intended for Brienne and Tormund to be a thing, and their relationship began as an ad-lib between Gwendoline Christie, who played Brienne, and Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund. In season six, episode 4, "Book of the Stranger," Brienne escorts Sansa Stark back home to Winterfell. Showrunner David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly that the stage directions simply stated that Tormund "stares at Brienne because he's never seen a woman like that before," but Hivju decided to play it like his character was lovestruck. Christie replied in-character, and they were off.

Christie and Hivju improvised other moments like that throughout season six, inspiring the writers to devote more time to the not-so-smoldering love story in later seasons. Sadly, Brienne and Tormund never actually got together, although it could've been worse: While promoting season seven, Benioff said, "We need to kill one of them now... But we're not going to tell you which one."

I couldn't let you go without a proper goodbye

The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale might've been the heart of the Hunger Games series, but was an even better love story lurking in the background the entire time? According to Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, maybe, maybe not. In the film's closing moments, Elizabeth Banks' Effie Trinket says goodbye to Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). Katniss gets a heartfelt hug, but when it's Haymitch's turn, the former Hunger Games champ kisses Effie twice — once on the cheek and, when that's not enough, again right on the lips.

Fans started buzzing almost immediately, but not only was the kiss not planned by The Hunger Games' writers, it wasn't even inspired by Harrelson and Banks' characters. Harrelson just wanted to kiss Banks. "I have a crush on Elizabeth Banks," Harrelson admitted to ET. "I think she's a beautiful woman, I think she's a marvelous actress, and I just love her as a person."

Depending on your point of view, that's either sweet or kind of icky, but Banks took it all in stride. After Haymitch's gentle peck, Effie smiles back at him, and Harrelson hopes that could lead to something more. "Hopefully, once we do the sequel to this that no one's expecting — including the author — something will pick up for these two."


If you've watched Breaking Bad, you probably remember the third-to-last episode of the series as the one where everything falls apart. In "Ozymandias," which was directed by The Last Jedi and Knives Out helmer Rian Johnson, Walter White's brother-in-law Hank dies. Neo-Nazis kidnap his former sidekick, Jesse, and steal most of his money. Worst of all, the authorities realize that Walt is the elusive Heisenberg. His time as a criminal mastermind is over.

With his family turning against him and the police on the way, Walt panics and kidnaps his infant daughter, Holly. The abduction doesn't last long. When Walt is alone with Holly, the baby calls out "Mama" and brings Walt back to his senses. He leaves Holly at a fire station, assuming she'll be reunited with the rest of his family, and prepares for a life in exile.

Holly's first word is a powerful and shocking moment, and it was completely improvised — by the baby — on the very first take. "It was like somehow she understood what was going on in that scene," producer Melissa Bernstein told The Ringer. "That was one of the best performances in the whole series," Johnson claims. Star Bryan Cranston agrees. As he put it, as soon as the baby uttered those fateful words, "We knew we had gold."

It's a one way street, whichever way I go

Matthew McConaughey's odd, chest-thumping chant in The Wolf of Wall Street is the most iconic moment in a film full of them, but it wasn't necessarily something new to McConaughey. "It was a relaxation technique, a way to get out of my head," the actor told the Independent. It's something he does between takes to lower his voice and clear his mind. He does it all the time.

McConaughey's Wolf of Wall Street co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, didn't find it quite as normal. "I explained what I just explained to you," McConaughey recalled, "and he goes 'Well you wanna try that in the scene?'" And so they did. Scorsese liked it, and film history was made.

Oh, and in case you're wondering: McConaughey still performs the exercise on set, although it's not always exactly the same. "It's a different tune that I'm humming or beating on my chest for each character," he says, and it's based on the "tone and rhythm of the character."

Open fire!

We'd always known that Darth Vader was powerful, but it wasn't until Rogue One that he was scary, too. At the very end of the movie, the Death Star plans are in the hands of the Rebel Alliance, thanks to the heroic sacrifices of Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and the rest of Rogue One's main cast. They're not safe, though. As the Rebels hurry to rush the schematics to Princess Leia, Darth Vader is hot on their trail, carving a path of destruction through the harried freedom fighters.

It's the first time that the Star Wars movies ever showed Vader completely unleashed, and it's arguably the best scene in Rogue One, if not all of Disney's new Star Wars material. It also wasn't supposed to happen. As revealed by the Film Facts Twitter account (and later confirmed by Rogue One writer Gary Whitta), the scene was added to the film a mere two-and-a-half months before release as part of some last-minute reshoots.

Apparently, Rogue One editor Jabez Olssen decided that the movie needed one final moment of Darth Vader kicking butt. Since Rogue One was headed back in front of cameras for some well-documented changes anyway, filming the new scene just made sense. On the Star Wars internet, Rogue One's big reshoots have mostly been used as an argument against Disney's handling of the beloved franchise, but you know what? If they give us scenes like this one, we find it very hard to complain.