Devon Sawa Didn’t Know He Was in ‘Final Destination 5’ Until He Was at the Premiere

“I’m sitting there in my seat, and all of a sudden, I am in a whole brand new scene.”

Devon Sawa talked about finding out he was in Final Destination 5 on the Inside of You podcast hosted by Michael Rosenbaum.

Devon Sawa sat down with podcast host Michael Rosenbaum (who horror fans may recognize from his role in 1998’s Urban Legend) on the Inside of You Podcast. The two discussed the ups and downs of the film industry, including Sawa’s personal struggles that led him to quit acting for five years when he was 24. After Rosenbaum shared about another actor who learned he was cut from a film while at its premiere, Sawa shared his own shocking realization. “Funny story, I didn’t know I was in Final Destination 5, and I was invited to the premiere,” he told Rosenbaum. 

A baby-faced Devon Sawa as Alex Browning in Final Destination (2000).

In case you forgot about Sawa’s iconic performance, he played teenager Alex Browning in Final Destination (2000). He and his classmates board Volée Airlines Flight 180 to embark on a class trip to Paris. After taking his seat on the plane, he has a vivid and horrifying premonition. In his vision, the lights flicker as the aircraft shakes violently. The oxygen masks drop, but they’re not of much help when a fire erupts, and the plane falls apart midair. He watches as seated passengers are thrust through the large gash in the plane, falling from the sky. His premonition ends with the fire taking over, clearly killing everyone on board. Snapping back to reality, Alex panics as he notices the events unfolding exactly as he had foreseen them. Fearing the worst, he announces the impending explosion to the passengers. He and another classmate, Carter Horton (Kerr Smith), get into a fight, and the two are escorted off the plane. A few others from the group, along with one of the supervisors, disembark with him. The group then watches in shock from the airport as the plane explodes.

Flight 180 explodes in the background while the students fight at the airport.

While Alex survives Final Destination (at least in the theatrical version), his character is killed off-screen between the events of the first and second films.

During his Inside of You interview, Sawa talked about his shock at seeing his character resurface in Final Destination 5, which he was not informed about ahead of time. He stated, “They cut me in…they used old footage from number one, and they spliced it together.” He was surprised to see his younger self on the screen over ten years later.

Sawa continued, “I’m sitting there in my seat, and all of a sudden, I am in whole and brand new scenes.” It’s surprising that they didn’t alert him before the premiere, and even Sawa isn’t sure why they failed to mention it. “I want to say that they didn’t tell me because they didn’t want it to get out. I’m hoping that’s the reason,” he speculated. While we don’t know if that’s the actual motivation as to why he wasn’t informed, his reappearance is no doubt central to the big twist in the fifth movie.

Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers for Final Destination 5 (2011).

Final Destination 5 begins with Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) experiencing a premonition of the impending collapse of a bridge. Similar to the first film, he urges everyone to get off the bus so they can get to safety. Molly Harper (Emma Bell) and Sam are among the few who survived the tragedy. Fast forward to the end of the film, Sam and Molly are boarding an airplane traveling to Paris with an eerily familiar flight number on their ticket. The camera pans to none other than Devon Sawa’s character in the first Final Destination, who is getting escorted off of the plane, revealing the fifth movie was actually a prequel.

Miles Fisher, Emma Bell and Nicholas D’Agosto as new characters in the fifth Final Destination installment.

Rosenbaum suggested that the filmmakers “can’t do that,” and implied that Sawa is entitled to a “big paycheck” for being in the film. “They did it,” Sawa responded, “Something in the contract about being able to use stock footage. When you sign it, you think, ‘OK, they’re gonna use it for trailers or whatnot.’ It was footage we shot, I guess, stuff that they didn’t use. New footage they shot and old footage we shot,” he explained.

The reused footage showed Alex Browning and his classmates fighting and being escorted off of flight 180.

Although it’s a quick scene, you may notice there are quite a few of the other original characters. One of the actors, Kerr Smith, learned he was in Final Destination 5 during an interview with toofab. Smith played the role of Carter Horton, the teen involved in the dispute with Alex Browning, resulting in both being removed from the flight. The interviewer asks if he’s seen the other films, including “the one where you pop up again.” Smith responded, “Oh, I haven’t seen that one. What happens?” He briefly explains the prequel twist before telling him, “And you’re there.” Smith, somewhat surprised, responds, “That’s cool.” Laughing, he continued, “I’m glad someone told me.”

The central character of Final Destination 5, Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto), realizes that that he and his girlfriend are on a doomed flight to Paris.

It doesn’t appear that anyone was cut a check for their brief appearance in Final Destination 5. In a now-deleted tweet, Sawa wrote, “I never got paid a cent for Final Destination 5. They didn’t even tell me I was in it when they invited me to the premiere. In the first contract for part one there was a section that stated they owned the footage and could use it in the future. I assumed for press. I was wrong,” Sawa tweeted. “This has nothing to do with the filmmakers by the way. I loved FD5. I love them all to be completely honest. And I’m super excited to see number 6.”

Final Destination 6, titled Bloodlines, is set to release in 2025, marking the franchise’s 25th anniversary.

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Brandy Eaklor is a writer, artist, and content creator who specializes in entertainment and horror subjects. Her favorite horror movies are Hereditary and The Strangers.