The ‘Final Destination’ movies have carved out their own space in the horror stratosphere because of their careful subversion of the genre tropes, including a traditional antagonist. The film’s use of death as the unrelenting force opposing the protagonist adds a sense of inevitability to the narrative.
In 2006’s ‘Final Destination 3,’ a high-school graduate named Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) serves as the character that gets the premonition, manages to save herself and a few of her friends, and then inadvertently sets off a chain of events where those friends start to die one by one. Realizing that she will be the last one to die, Wendy races against time to break the pattern and free herself from the prospect of imminent death. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Final Destination 3.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Final Destination 3 Plot Synopsis
The film begins as Wendy, her boyfriend Jason (Jesse Moss), and their friends Kevin (Ryan Merriman) and Carrie (Gina Holden) stroll around in an amusement park in Pennsylvania, where the most popular ride is the Devils Flight roller coaster. Jason, Carrie, and Kevin are all looking forward to riding it, but Wendy feels a deep sense of dread, as if something horrible is about to happen. She gets a premonition of all the riders dying in horrible ways after the hydraulics of the roller coaster fails.
Wendy subsequently has an emotional breakdown and pleads to be let off the train. Worried for her, Kevin also gets off. A few others, including Ashley Freund, Ashlyn Halperin, Frankie Cheeks, Lewis Romero, Erin Ulmer, and Ian McKinley, also get off during the commotion. Despite their attempts to get to her, Jason and Carrie are unable to do so and die in the same way as Wendy saw in her premonition.
What Wendy hasn’t realized is that her sister Julie and one of her friends were also on the train and got off. Some time passes, and it is revealed that Wendy has isolated herself from her friends and family. Filled with grief for Jason as well as shame and guilt that she couldn’t save him, she decides not to attend the graduation ceremony. She runs into Kevin, who tells her about Alex Browning (from the first Final Destination film) and Flight 180, revealing that she is not the first person to whom this has happened.
Initially skeptical, Wendy comes to believe it to be true when the survivors start dying in the same order she saw them die in her premonition. Moreover, their deaths are hinted at in the last picture she took of them with her camera. Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin are burned alive on tanning beds. In Wendy’s photo, they appear flame-red because of too much exposure in the picture. Frankie is seen with a fan behind his head in Wendy’s photo. Half of his head gets chopped off by the motor from Kevin’s car.
Lewis Romero is standing close to the school’s mascot Sultan in Wendy’s photo. The mascot has a pair of scimitars. Wendy and Kevin visit the school gym to warn Lewis and watch him die in front of them as the decorative scimitars fall on the Bowflex machine Lewis has been using, and his head is squashed between loose weights.
Wendy and Kevin then try to convince Erin and Ian, both of whom work at a DIY store, about their impending deaths, but like Lewis before them, they don’t believe what Wendy and Kevin are saying. In Wendy’s photo, Kevin is standing under a “kill” sign while pointing a toy gun at Erin. The latter has her middle finger up in a rude gesture with the nail painted black.
Wendy realizes that Ian is supposed to be killed by falling wooden stakes that are pointed like the sign from the photo and tackles him in time, saving his life. However, Erin is killed by a nail gun. After realizing that Julie and her friend are survivors as well, and they are supposed to die because of a horse, Wendy rushes to the McKinley Tri-Centennial fair they are attending. Kevin is there as well, working security. Wendy and Kevin agree that it’s now time to look at their photos and see how they are supposed to die. For Wendy, it turns out that Ian will be somehow involved. And Kevin is fated to be killed by fireworks.
Final Destination 3 Ending: Do Wendy, Kevin, and Julie Die or Live?
After Wendy, Kevin, and Julie survive the cycle of deaths, the film skips five months. By then, Wendy has moved to a new city and lives with a roommate. Once more, she starts to feel that sense of dread. While traveling by the subway with her roommate and the latter’s friend, she runs into Julie, who has come to see her earlier than expected. Suddenly, she notices that Kevin is also there. When she and Julie approach him to ask what he is doing there, he reveals that he was in the city for a game.
This series of coincidences makes Wendy realize that death has come for them. The subway train derails, and carnage ensues. Julie, Kevin, and Wendy die in the same order as they were supposed to on the roller coaster. However, it’s revealed that it was a premonition. The real thing is yet to happen. The three survivors make vain attempts to stop the train or get out, but this isn’t a roller coaster ride that hasn’t started yet; it’s a subway train rushing toward its doom at full speed. The film ends there, without offering any detail on their fates.
Winsted’s Wendy Christensen is perhaps the most impactful protagonist in the entire series. And her fate has become a matter of much discussion. Winsted herself believes that it’s up for debate. But given the circumstances in which Wendy, Kevin, and Julie are trapped, it’s impossible for them to survive. And their deaths are foreshadowed throughout the scene.
The singer in the subway train performs “Turn Around, Look at Me,” an eerie song denoting to the audience that death awaits these characters. Moreover, the subway announcements constantly inform Wendy that this is the “end of the line,” again implying that she is going to die on that train.
Wendy and Kevin save Julie from being dragged to her death by a runaway horse, while Wendy saves Kevin from the fireworks. Ian is supposed to cause Wendy’s death because he blames her for what happened to Erin. But as Ian is killed instead, Wendy, Kevin, and Julie conclude the death cycle, not realizing that it can simply start all over again.
Are There Alternate Endings to Final Destination 3?
Yes, there are three alternate endings to ‘Final Destination 3’ beside the theatrical ending. In one, the film ends with Wendy’s death in the subway, and it is never revealed to be a premonition. In another, after Ian’s death, Wendy, Julie, and Kevin leave the fairground together, but not before Wendy throws away her camera and tries to destroy it. But as they are leaving, the camera takes one more photo of them, implying that they are still part of death’s plan and will die in the manner they are in that last photograph.
Developed like a parody, the final ending is essentially an alternate beginning. Wendy gets off the roller coaster with Jason, Kevin, and Carrie, and all four of them survive and go on to lead eventful lives. Carrie breaks up with Kevin and attends Berkley for a year before becoming a groupie for Doctors without Borders. Kevin develops an unhealthy obsession with Wendy and briefly enlists in the military. Jason becomes a cult leader. As for Wendy, she embraces her gifts and becomes a professional psychic under the pseudonym Ming.