Jim and Pam Halpert just celebrated their 10-year anniversary, but we can remember their Niagara Falls wedding (well, weddings, since there were two ceremonies) like it was yesterday. The Office’s hour-long matrimonial event was the spectacle of teary declarations and rehashed viral content that we had come to expect from the network darling. But according to former showrunner Greg Daniels and the creative minds behind the show, there were a few ideas bouncing around the writers room that nearly made matters much more dramatic... and a wee bit darker.
In celebration of the anniversary, Entertainment Weekly released an oral history of the wedding. Daniels, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, and the episode’s director, Paul Feig, broke down some of the lesser known elements of one of primetime TV’s biggest events. One reveal involved a different ending that would have made the happy couple’s nuptials way more stressful: Pam’s ex Roy (David Denman) would have swooped in on horseback to stop the wedding as a last-ditch effort to win Pam back. Feig explains:
“All throughout the episode, Roy’s been kind of haunting around and unhappy that they’re getting married, so when they ask if anybody has reason why this couple can’t get married, he rides into the church on a horse to sweep Pam off her feet like a knight in shining armor and declares, “I have an objection.” And she’s like, “What are you doing? No, I want to get married.” She sends him away, so he has to ride his horse back out of the church.”
But instead of leaving town on the horse he rode in on, Roy would ditch his equestrian accomplice and opt to drive home. Why is this detail important? Because by that time, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) would have become obsessed with a historical painting that was on display at the wedding party’s hotel, which involved animals and people attempting to go over the falls:
“It was like Dwight got fascinated with this historical display at the hotel that talked about various animals. It started with a cow had been swept over the falls and survived, and then a couple of people tried to go over the falls in a barrel and were killed, and then some sheep went over the falls and survived. And he came up with this theory that you could survive going over the falls if you were riding a horse, because a horse would have the instinct of how to swim properly.”
So an abandoned horse would have provided the perfect opportunity for Dwight to test his theory, you see, and the alternate ending would have included him borrowing the animal for an unnecessary trip to the falls. But instead of going through with the stunt, Dwight would panic and hop off at the last minute, leaving the creature to fend for himself in the falls. Tragically, the horse would not have made it. Obviously, a dead horse would have been a huge damper on an otherwise joyous occasion, hence the rest of the creative team objecting to the idea and leaving its only advocate, Daniels, to fend for himself—just like that poor hypothetical horse. “I remember scouting this tank on the Universal lot and talking about how we’re going to shoot this horse being swept over the waterfall,” Daniels said. “Then we got to the table read and I was the last defender of the horse. The entire staff and actors were yelling at me: ‘Don’t ruin Jim and Pam’s wedding with a horse!’”
You should check out EW’s full oral history here.