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All The Light We Cannot See Ending Changes From Book Explained By Director-TGN

Warning: This post contains spoilers for All the Light We Cannot See, both the book and show!


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Summary

  • Director Shawn Levy explains the changes made to All the Light We Cannot See’s ending, including a more substantial connection between Marie-Laure and Werner, and an open-ended, hopeful conclusion.
  • The ending of the Netflix miniseries differs from the novel by not solidifying the futures of Marie-Laure and Werner and omitting the epilogue details about Werner’s sister finding Marie-Laure.
  • Despite criticism from some fans of the novel, Levy and the creative team wanted to convey a message of hope amidst the loss and grief in the story.

Director Shawn Levy explains the changes made to All the Light We Cannot See’s ending. Set in World War II France, the Netflix miniseries follows the interconnected lives of Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind French girl, and Werner Pfennig, a German soldier. The cast of All the Light We Cannot See includes Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hofmann, Lars Eidinger, Marion Bailey, Hugh Laurie, and Mark Ruffalo. The show is based on Anthony Doerr’s award-winning novel, but since its debut, audiences have criticized some of the adjustments made, particularly to its conclusion.

During a recent interview with The Wrap, Levy discusses how the relationship between Marie-Laure and Werner changed. Similar to the book, they share a can of peaches after first meeting, but he noted that the slow dance added in the series “felt organic to those characters.” Levy also touched on the emotional fate of Werner, revealed in the epilogue, and explained how the show’s ending generates hope. Read Levy’s comments regarding the changes in All the Light We Cannot See below:

Werner and Marie always meet in the book, but Steven Knight and me and Aria and Louis, we spoke a lot about that scene, and it just felt organic to the adaptation, that these two characters might have a connection that is a little more substantial than a can of peaches. Obviously, when you adapt material, you make decisions and there are changes. And certainly, that dance that they share with that very brief and very gentle kiss is a difference, but it felt organic to those characters.

I’m hopeful that post-strike Arya will speak to this herself — it was really important to Aria to show this young woman who is blind as also someone capable of desire, desirability, and I hope that Arya can speak to this because she does so much more passionately and very articulately, and it’s one reason that we kept that in the ending. The ending is more open-ended than the book. I adored the book, but I will confess that the outcomes in the epilogue chapters for both Jutta and Werner were shattering to me.

There’s so much loss and so much grief in this story, and Steven Knight and I and all of us who made the show, we wanted to not shy away from the loss. There’s a lot of characters who lose their lives in this story, but that maybe there’s the possibility of hope in our ending. We’re not saying they will meet up in the future. We’re not saying they won’t, but the theme of this story is the possibility of hope. And so I wanted the final kind of emotional gesture of the series, to have a seed of hopefulness as well. And frankly, I’ve always believed in that theme, but as we talk here in October of 2023, I think the reaffirmation of that theme in this heartbreaking world is more important than ever.


How Is All The Light We Cannot See’s Ending Different?

Louis Hofmann as Werner and Aria Mia Loberti as Marie in All the Light We Cannot See's ending

The two characters met during the ending of All the Light We Cannot See, and after their kiss, Werner promised Marie-Laure that they could find their way back together, as long as she continued to broadcast over the radio, and then surrendered, getting taken by American troops. While Saint-Malo celebrated its freedom, Marie-Laure recovered the Sea of Flames and threw it into the ocean. These last few moments of All the Light We Cannot See change the original conclusion by not solidifying Werner or Marie-Laure’s futures.

In the 2014 novel, Marie-Laure gave Werner a way to retrieve the Sea of Flames, but he was seized by Americans and placed in containment, before eventually triggering a landmine. The epilogue also revealed that Werner’s younger sister Jutta found Marie-Laure in France after his death. Deciding not to include this information is one of All the Light We Cannot See‘s biggest changes, but as Levy mentioned, the ending they created instills hope.

It’s interesting to hear why some of these adjustments were made for All the Light We Cannot See‘s Netflix ending. Those familiar with Doerr’s work have expressed disappointment over the series, so it’s worth wondering what newer audiences think of the conclusion, or what it might have looked like had it stuck to the source material. All adaptations are forced to make changes to their source material, and while Levy and the creative team carefully thought out this one, it has still proven controversial.

Source: The Wrap

  • All the Light We Cannot See Poster

    All The Light We Cannot See

    Release Date:
    2023-11-02

    Cast:
    Aria Mia Loberti, Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Louis Hofmann, Lars Eidinger, Andrea Deck, Nell Sutton

    Genres:
    Drama, History, War

    Seasons:
    1

    Story By:
    Steven Knight

    Writers:
    Steven Knight

    Streaming Sevice:
    Netflix

    Directors:
    Shawn Levy

    Showrunner:
    Shawn Levy, Steven Knight

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