Back in 2012, I went out with a well-developed plan for a space opera, one with a beginning, middle and end to every storyline and character arc, answers to every question.  It was to be a self-contained and satisfying narrative.  But after the show was green lit and we went into production, those plans changed – slightly at first (ie. making our Android female), then more significantly (ie killing off the character of ONE).  And yet, while the changes required adjustments that necessarily echoed through future narrative threads, they didn’t really affect the promised answers to all the questions the show would pose, or the endings I had intended for these characters.  As time wore on, however, and I spent more time on the show, with these characters, interacting with fandom, I began to have a change of heart.  And I began to think that, maybe, that downbeat heartbreaker of an ending I had planned for the series wasn’t really appropriate anymore.  Maybe these characters, and fans, or at least some of them, deserved a more hopeful conclusion to Dark Matter.  So I began to make more adjustments, pulling up storylines, making slight character modifications, ensuring it would all track and those little set-ups would nevertheless pay off in some fashion down the line.

In time, I decided on another ending, one I began to seed and build toward – but, alas, never got to reveal.  That particular conclusion will remain a secret, for now. But as for that alt. dark timeline, here it is:

We see a version of this story play through Dark Matter’s second and third seasons.  In the show, Ryo’s relationship with Hiro isn’t emphasized to the extent I’d originally planned and the murder of his half-brother is decidedly deliberate rather than accidental.  Of course, as outlined in my recent #DarkGate Q&A, the plan wasn’t for TWO to execute Ryo (although she comes tantalizingly close in Episode 312, “My Final Gift To You”) but for the Android to essentially “restore” FOUR via the transfer transit pod he used in Episode 207, “She’s One Of Them Now”.  Still, I loved the bittersweetness of this ending and I can only imagine what a fantastic scene TWO’s farewell conversation with her old friend could have been.

Again, we see echoes of this intended storyline in season 2 and 3 – the guilt that weighs on him for his past actions (turning in the crew, his indirect responsibility for the destruction and loss of life on Hyadum-12), knowledge of the family he left behind – but rather than succumb, our SIX fights through it and actually helps TWO battle parallel inner demons following the destruction of EOS-7.  Again, as explained in my recent #DarkGate Q&A, the plan was for SIX to seemingly sacrifice himself at the end of the show’s third season – only to find his way back to our reality by drawing an assist from a most unlikely ally, the mercenary and mercurial Alt. Tash.  In hindsight, I really loved this planned ending for SIX because it touched on Dark Matter’s central theme of our memories making us who we are.  It also offered up the single hopeful end to our crewmembers’ individual journeys.

Ah, now this was a change that required a little more fiddling, chiefest of which was a rethinking of TWO’s essential being.  In my original vision, her physical being, while still biological, was nevertheless more bio-synthetic in design.  When I abandoned this ending, I moved up the storyline involving her failed nanites, addressing the issue, instead, in the show’s second season.  Another bittersweet conclusion which echoed one of my favorite anime of all time, and an inspiration for Dark Matter as a whole – Cowboy Bebop.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment I had to make pertained to the character of ONE who I’d envisioned continuing his role as the angel to THREE’s devil, developing that love-hate bromance to the point where, in their last moments, either has the opportunity to save themselves by abandoning the other but, instead, choose to go down fighting – a nice little bookend to our opener.

Most heartbreaking of all was this intended ending for our lovable Android that, again, harkens back to the recurring memory theme that is the heart of our show. Of course, this would have worked much better if FIVE was younger (closer to 12) and if the Android’s sad demise wouldn’t have triggered the inevitable mass fandom uproar.

And our last show would have been of FIVE on the bridge of The Raza, all alone.

End of series.

And, at the time, I would have been satisfied with this conclusion – but even then, I did consider the possibility that fans may not have shared my feelings for the ending I had given them.  And so, just in case, I had a back-up plan…and the in to one final miniseries adventure…

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congotim
congotim

I look at this like the poetic ending I would have enjoyed but not the one I would have hoped for. This crew was like a family and I’d much rather have seen them find some kind of happy ending. I feel like the original intent was for them to be a little more hardened than they ended up being on the show we watched. Maybe the original story and ending would have worked better in a comic, but we grew more attached due to the TV medium?

Danine Dolphin
Danine Dolphin

I see how those dark ending pieces work at the outset and why your own memories because of the actual actors and environment begin to shape a new course. I can see a spin off story for 5 with her tesseract and resources too. So much potential. Thank you for sharing these closing vignettes. Part of me is glad we will never see them. It would be a remarkable miracle to be able to visit this world again someday. I’m glad you’re holding on to the other ending for now; although I think that one may have to shift some more as well, depending on how and when we could all return.
It’s all been about memory. Fitting that us all we have.

Kathy
Kathy

Ooo I can’t wait to find out your second version of the ending to compare the two.

I have no problem with your original ending, as my favorite Five lives. Hee hee.

gforce

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this, Joe. They would have been poignant endings, certainly. But I agree that after getting to know the characters, I think a more redemptive and positive ending for them would be so much more satisfying.

maggiemayday

These are powerful endings. Dark finales are fine with me, for dark is there to balance the light. Who knows when the next dawn will come?

Randomness
Randomness

Van Helsing renewed by Syfy for a third season.

Recent three ratings for Van Helsing

0.10 18-49, 335k viewers
0.14 18-49, 487k viewers
0.08 18-49, 358k viewers

Compared to say Dark Matter

0.14 18-49, 602k viewers
0.14 18-49, 642k viewers
0.15 18-49, 682k viewers

Van Helsing has absolutely horrible DVR numbers, while Dark Matter more than doubled its audience.

What bullshit.

unsafecrayon
unsafecrayon

Thank you.

TheOtherOne
TheOtherOne

This is quite amazing!
I love the fact the characters you created, evolved and influenced you (with a little help from us!) later on to change their story arcs!

With the Dark timeline, I strangely find comfort in the fact that, although ONE yet again (!) dies, this time he would not be alone but with a crew member as loyal as THREE by his side. The ‘Blaze of Glory’ sequence they shared in that second episode was the very heroic camaraderie I fell in love with and hoped to see more of in Dark Matter before it was unjustly cancelled.

Thank you so much (again!) for sharing your thought processes with us.
It’s so, so appreciated

Neil
Neil

Ooooh that end section read like a 6th series or ending film or mini series….

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

Very dark but ..very interesting too. I agree to a certain extent about memories making us who we are but we are animals. If animals aren’t socialized by a certain age, they become feral. The nature vs nurture you’re saying though, right?

Wish we could experiment on a few convict volunteers to test your theories. I bet some of them would jump at the chance to start over. Have you ever read about Charles Manson’s life. Was he born a sociopath. made one or was it a perfect storm of both?

Anyhoo, it sounded like you were slowly going to work the characters off the show. Was this going to be abrupt departures through the seasons (Like One-although you did say he was coming back) or a slow evolution during the last season?

I’ve been watching you on Goodreads, you’re flying through those books at an astounding rate. Impressive! I’m re-reading The Expansion Wars by Joshua Dalzelle. His books would make a good show.

ceresis64

OK, for me, this made for an emotional read!

Neil Ottenstein

Thanks for sharing this. A fascinating look at the creative process.

Thogar

I wouldve happily taken any ending you served. Thank you for a look into an alternate universe.

Star_Climber (@Star_Climber)

I am a sucker for happy endings, so this ending wouldn’t make me that happy, but it is a wonderful written one. I just wish we had the chance to see an ending on TV. sad

Chem_Is_Try
Chem_Is_Try

Thank you for this. I’ve felt like I had an open, bleeding gash that wouldn’t heal ever since SyFy acted the fool. Now I think maybe I can start to heal.

luis811

finish Dark Matter off in Comic book’s

Marco
Marco

Do not stop Dark Matter until the actors are 150 !
he Fanbase in Germany is waiting for more, much more wink

Risk some and if you Need bucks, as us, i bet you get trillions of it.
Dark Matter rules on TV and cinema, not in Comics.

Go on, make us a happy X-Mas.

Diana Todd
Diana Todd

It sucks every time something good comes on TV you guys end it you ended Farscape you ended dark matter you ended all these things that people love and forward to watching and no wonder your station is not making the good credit said it should be you keep ending all good series

Brad Apling
Brad Apling

“our last show would have been of FIVE on the bridge of The Raza, all alone.”
As a nod to Eli left alone on the Observation Deck of Destiny (SGU S2E20 which you also scripted)?

dasndanger
dasndanger

SIX – <3

Ethan Lesley CC, author (@ethananarchy)

Five, left alone in the Raza, trying to bring back her crew… Damn, that breaks my heart.

Christie
Christie

Because Dark Matter ended up getting cancelled by SyFy, I’d say these endings you had planned are especially (a)Dark(Matter)! It makes me feel a little sad even, but without that last season I have a hard time picturing the emotional journey to the end. But it’s hard to say! Each season got better and better, and I loved the plot twists. It’s very possible even though these endings are sad, that I would have loved them.

I would have personally liked to see everybody have a happy ending.

Here’s my ideal ending:
That Four would have gained wisdom and peace, by rejecting the throne and going on a solitary buddha like journey (spinoff!). That Two would have softened and found love, and got a dog with her life partner. That Six didn’t die, and then dedicated his life to peacekeeping and justice. That Sarah merged her consciousness with the Ship (To become the ships last defense if the crew and android were incapacitated), and so that she could always be together with Three. That Three allowed himself to love Sarah. That Android continued her arc of being almost human, that Five would become the new leader and that she gathered her own crew through her space travels.

Dark Matter is the new Firefly! May the TV gods have mercy upon this fandom!

PW
PW

What happens to the universe? The crew should have saved the universe.

Ken
Ken

I am hopeless. I’m still hoping for some kind of resurrection of the show and it can finish its natural course.