I heard that the current ending was tracked onto the otherwise quiet and thoughtful film when cigar-chewing studio execs insisted that movie-goers would be upset that there wasn't an actual ”mine” in the movie (ugh).

Does anyone know what the original ending was? This is one of my favorites, warts and all.

  • 1
    First I've heard of that. You sure someone isn't pulling your leg?
    – user4963
    Mar 5, 2012 at 1:02
  • I hadn't even thought to connect the mine the movie with the title. That's just dumb. That's not to say that it might not be true. Just dumb.
    – Sam
    Mar 6, 2012 at 18:47
  • As it says below - the author, Barry Longyear, said it at a convention. But he might have been joking...for the sake of humanity, you've got to hope that he was. Mar 6, 2012 at 18:49
  • 1
    Enemy Mine is worth comparing with the 1971 episode of UFO entitled Survival, were almost the same plot is used, expect that in the end the Alien is killed by the SHADO rescue party, before the astronaut can tell them he is a friend. Jun 18, 2017 at 17:31
  • Oh the irony... It never even occurred to me that the ending was set in a mine! I always thought of it as a processing plant. Jun 18, 2017 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


From the imdb Enemy Mine trivia page.

Author Barry Longyear reported at a convention that the studio insisted on adding a subplot involving a mine, thinking the audience would not realize that the "Mine" in the title was a possessive (as in "My Enemy") rather than an object.

According to this thread on the Enemy Mine discussion board:

After Davidge is shot and left for dead, the book and movie take completely different directions. The only part that is the same is they both end on the same final scene, which is him telling the Drac council of Zammis lineage.

Apparently, it wasn't the ending that was different but some of the things leading up to it.


'Enemy Mine' was based on a book by the same name, which itself was based on an older movie called 'Hell in the Pacific' (staring Lee Marvin and Toshirō Mifune; two excellent actors for that style of movie.) The original movie did have an alternate ending that was changed due to being too abrupt. (And too much of a downer.)

Stealing from the IMDB Alternate Version notes:

American version featured an alternative ending where the two get drunk and walk off in separate directions arguing at each other; in the British version they start yelling and a bomb from the sky falls and blows everything apart.

To increase the viewer's sympathy with the characters,:

Enemy mine uses the Zammis sub-plot; he, in effect, replaces his parent, and is used as a foil to show Davidge's development as a character. The ending also takes things farther, with them becoming (in-effect) family. Basically kicking the emotional impact up a few notches.

I'd take a guess that an updated variant on the British version is what you are talking about.

A simple version would have ended with a subsequent bombing taking them all out after they have become friends/family. This style of ending was popular for a while in the 60s and 70s, although it was basically just a rather heavy-handed way of underscoring the horrors of war. (You've have seen two characters grow and develop, finding a common ground and showing that peace has a chance... and it ends up being pointless, as they both die. War sucks.)

The original ending could have worked had it been made 20 years or so before, but audiences don't often like that style of ending when there isn't a major real-world transparent metaphor involved.

Dunno how the 'mine' aspect fits in; I suspect it may be apocryphal and/or someone screwing with people. I suppose the scavenger's processing ship evokes images of a mine, but I can't imagine anyone would thing that would do anything except confuse the viewer, if they tried to associate it with the title.

I had a silly idea.. and e-mailed the author via his website. Here's his response (cleaned the formatting up, slightly to make it readable here)-- make of it what you will:

From: [email protected]
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 7:49 PM
To: Barry Longyear
Subject: Enemy Mine

Mr. Longyear,

A question was asked, some time ago, on the SciFi Stack Exchange site where
the following statement was given to back up the answer:

"Author Barry Longyear reported at a convention that the studio insisted on
adding a subplot involving a mine, thinking the audience would not realize
that the "Mine" in the title was a possessive (as in "My Enemy") rather than
an object. "

I'm just curious if this is true, or this is simply an apocryphal story, as
so many 'said at a con' stories are.

Thank you for your time :)

-[my email redacted]
-scifi nut

From: Barry B. Longyear
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 4:49 PM
To: [my email redacted]
Subject: RE: Enemy Mine

It was a guess, and since the script writer borrowed the slave-mine from
Robinson Crusoe on Mars and stuck it in the movie, probably an accurate
guess. bl

  • 2
    I didn't realize Toshiro Mifune ended up getting pregnant in Hell in the Pacific. I'll have to watch that again. The plot of enemies having to work together to survive is older than that movie.
    – Legion600
    Mar 5, 2012 at 1:42
  • @Legion600 - Heh. Based on, not flat out remade from. Although the image of a pregnant version of Toshiro is pretty hilarious. And you are right that it's not a new concept, but I believe the author acknowledged the source/inspiration; No proof for that, yet, though.
    – K-H-W
    Mar 5, 2012 at 1:49
  • Hell in the Pacific was also a two man remake of None But the Brave. I think a pregnant Lee Marvin would have been better.
    – Legion600
    Mar 5, 2012 at 1:52
  • 1
    Yep...I watched the British version of Hell in the Pacific and asked ”why the hell did I just waste the last 100 minutes?” Self-indulgent preening - a big disappointment. Mar 5, 2012 at 2:27
  • 2
    BTW - I nominate a pregnant Toshiro Mifune as the Scifi.stackexchange mascot. Mar 5, 2012 at 2:30

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