The Thing (2011) ending explained: the dog & the 1st movie

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The Thing is a 2011 horror movie by the Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. It starts from an ambitious idea: to provide a realistic prequel to the classic film of the same name, The Thing, directed by John Carpenter in 1982. There was a good reason to do that: Carpenter’s movie starts, in fact, with a mystery, an escaped dog reaching an American research station in Antarctica, chased by a Norwegian man with a rifle. The 2011 movie provides the events before 1982’s film, and its ending intertwines with the beginning of the first movie. In this article, we will analyze the plot of the 2011’s film and how the dog joins the two movies, having everything carefully explained.

You can watch the official trailer for The Thing (2011) here on Youtube.

The Thing (2011) ending explained: how the dog connects with the 1982 movie

As the prequel to the 1982 movie directed by John Carpenter, 2011’s The Thing explains what happened at the Norwegian research station “Thule” in Antarctica. In the plot, the team of scientists discovers an alien creature frozen on ice and starts studying it. Among those scientists, we meet Kate, a paleontologist who makes an incredible discovery: the alien creature’s cells are able to imitate the prey’s cells, mimicking the host’s organism. 

By watching how the alien kills the scientists, we understand its behavior: it infects the human organism as a virus and slowly takes over by eating the human cells. All that is done secretly, hiding inside the human body while transforming it into an alien. This way, it’s hard to understand if a person is an actual human or an alien. But Kate comes up with an element that helps to prove that someone is human: if they have inorganic elements inside their body, like a prosthesis or dental fillings, they must be human. The alien creature cannot handle the inorganic matter, so it would eject it from its body.

That’s how Kate understands that Carter is an alien at the ending of The Thing (2011) and how the movie explained her insight: she notices that Carter no longer has the earring and cannot even remember in which ear he had it. Seeing this, Kate understands that Carter is now an alien and burns it. This is the last scene of the movie before the ending credits, but then we see something more happening during the credits: this is the most fascinating aspect of the film because those scenes show the events that directly connect with the beginning of the 1982’s movie.

In those scenes, we see Matias and the helicopter back at the Norwegian station. Lars threatens Matias with his rifle, and at some point, we see Lars’ dog running in the snow. Lars’ dog was the first victim of the alien creature at the movie’s beginning, so it’s evident that the dog we see at the ending of 2011’s The Thing is alien. Indeed, this is precisely how 1982’s movie begins: a dog reaches the American station in Antarctica, chased by a Norwegian man (Lars). It will become famous as the Kennel-Thing, or the Dog-Thing.

There is a fascinating video made by a fan on Youtube that crosses the ending of 2011’s The Thing with the opening of 1982’s film. You can watch it below.

The Thing (2011) cut into The Thing (1982)

This way, the ending of 2011 The Thing movie perfectly explained how the first movie began. What happens next is what we know already from John Carpenter: Lars gets killed by the Americans, the Dog-Thing will attack the other dogs, and from there, The Thing stays alive, threatening other humans.

The movie The Thing, released in 2011, does an excellent job keeping the events and all details loyal to the story from the 1982 movie. The dog, the helicopter, and even the famous axe in the door are all homages to Carpenter’s classic, carefully reenacted in the prequel.

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