Sometimes a movie ends and you’re satisfied, sometimes it ends and you can’t wait for the sequel to come out in a few years to resolve a cliffhanger, and sometimes it’s a mix of both. Some movies end with their story all wrapped up but you’ve had so much fun with these characters that you want more.
In What Happens Next, we speculate on what happens after the credits roll. This week we’ll take a look at the Sergio Leone classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Be wary of spoilers:
The ending of this movie is pretty cut and dry. The Bad is dead, and the Good and the Ugly share the loot. The Good rides off into the sunset and the Ugly stands in a cemetery shouting obscenities at the horizon. The End.
For the Good, what happens next is easy considering that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a prequel to A Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More. So we get to see this cowboy’s adventures and then, if we speculate further, the nameless Good continues having adventures and collecting gold and leaving dead bodies in his wake until he becomes a legend as a cold-blooded killer. And then one day he settles down and, though they say there is no good left in him, he marries and has two children. His wife passes away and he is happy to raise his children and tend his farm. Until Morgan Freeman shows up and Unforgiven happens.
Tuco’s story is more interesting though. Throughout The Good, the Bad and the Ugly we get a sense that he is becoming a better person in bits and pieces, though he is a Western movie character which means he won’t shoot you in the back but he will still shoot you. We like to think that once Tuco escapes his bonds and finds a way out of the cemetery on Sad Hill he returns to his brother’s mission. He has seen the horrors of war up close and wants to do some good. Maybe the goodness of the Good has rubbed off on him, or maybe being at the end of a noose has made him have a life-changing epiphany about his own character. Either way, Tuco goes back to the mission, fixes things with his brother and gives a big chunk of the money to the mission, where he would also be a good deterrent to bandits thinking the mission might be an easy target. He spends the rest of his days rich enough to not need to be a bandit and comfortable to finally stop running from the law, because after all, who would look for a bastard like Tuco in a place meant for monks?