Summary

  • The film’s colorful town was designed to reflect Edward’s perspective, showing the hope he had in society.
  • Edward Scissorhands’ tragic ending was always intended, as he failed to integrate into society.
  • Edward’s story, filled with betrayal and prejudice, is made even sadder by his immortal nature and lonely existence.



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Edward Scissorhands is one of Tim Burton’s most beloved and heartbreaking stories, and one behind-the-scenes detail makes Edward’s story even more tragic. Back in 1990, Tim Burton brought Edward Scissorhands, a Gothic romantic fantasy movie written by Caroline Thompson from a story by her and Burton. The concept and design of Edward Scissorhands comes from a drawing Burton did in high school, and it’s one of his most personal works, as Edward’s story was a metaphor for Burton’s own life.


Edward Scissorhands tells the story of the title character (played by Johnny Depp), the unfinished creation of an inventor (Vincent Price) who gave him scissor blades instead of hands and was left alone after his creator’s passing. Years later, Edward was found by Peg Boggs (Diane Wiest), who took him with her and did her best to help him fit into society. Edward ended up falling for Peg’s daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder), while the town residents began to see him as a threat. Edward Scissorhands relied on its settings, color palette, and more visual details to tell his story, and one detail, in particular, makes his story even sadder.

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Edward Scissorhands’ Colorful Town Was Meant To Be Seen Through His Eyes

The Town In Edward Scissorhands Was Bright & Cheerful

The mansion became more decrepit and darker, so it was a big contrast when Edward was taken to Peg’s neighborhood, which was colorful, cheerful, and bright.

Edward was created by a lonely inventor in a Gothic mansion at the top of a hill. The inventor homeschooled Edward, teaching him about social etiquette and more, but he took too long to finish him. The inventor gave Edward blades instead of hands while he created these for him, and when he showed him the hands he made for him, the inventor had a heart attack and died in front of Edward. All alone for years, the mansion became more decrepit and darker, so it was a big contrast when Edward was taken to Peg’s neighborhood, which was colorful, cheerful, and bright.

The town was designed as how Edward would have seen it after years locked in a dark, Gothic mansion all by himself.


While this was a visually pleasing contrast that also illustrated the contrast between Edward’s past and new life, it has a much deeper meaning. According to Edward Scissorhands’ production designer, Bo Welch, (via Buzzfeed) the town was meant to be seen through Edward’s eyes, hence why it’s so colorful and “slightly more fantastical and appealing to him”. In a separate interview with Variety, Welch confirmed that they designed the town as how Edward would have seen it after years locked in a dark, Gothic mansion all by himself.

The colorful, bright town in Edward Scissorhandsshows Edward’s fascination with the outside world and a new hope for him, as he had never been outside the mansion nor had he interacted with other people aside from his creator. However, this makes Edward’s story even sadder, as that fascination and hope turned out to be wrong, as the town residents ended up turning against him purely based on prejudices and rumors, ultimately making his experience in town darker than his years of solitude.


Edward Scissorhands Was Always Meant To Have A Tragic Ending

There Couldn’t Be A Way For Edward To Get A Happy Ending

Kim (Winona Ryder) and Edward (Johnny Depp) embrace in Edward Scissorhands

Edward tried to integrate into a society that wasn’t ready nor open to someone different, and who let rumors influence their opinion of him.

Unfortunately, as hopeful as Edward’s future looked at some point, he was always meant to have a tragic ending. Edward tried to integrate into a society that wasn’t ready nor open to someone different, and who let rumors influence their opinion of him. In addition to that, Edward is understood to be an immortal being, meaning that, even if he had stayed with Kim and became a member of society, he would have had to see Kim, Peg, and his friends and loved ones die, which is enough to make his story a tragic one.


Knowing that the town in Edward Scissorhands was designed to show the audience how Edward saw it after years of living in a dark mansion all by himself makes the movie more interesting and heartwarming, but at the same time, it’s more heartbreaking as Edward was failed by the people he looked at with hope and thought he could trust.

Sources: Buzzfeed, Variety.

Edward Scissorhands

From director Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands follows the titular character, an artificial human created by an inventor, who has scissor blades instead of fingers. After his creator’s death, Edward is taken in by a normal suburban family and becomes attracted to the family’s teenage daughter, Kim Boggs. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder star as Edward and Kim. 

Release Date
December 14, 1990

Runtime
105 minutes

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