The series finale of ABC’s Castle still feels dizzyingly abrupt, given the frantic race for a ninth season amid multiple firings, and a tacked-on conclusion to the Season 8 cliffhanger finale. Longtime fans perhaps hoped the final season DVD might present the cliffhanger ending as originally designed, but producers have curiously declined to include it.

TVLine reports that where the Castle Season 8-turned-series finale abruptly pivoted from Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) shot and bleeding out on the floor of their home to a happy family flash-forward, the original ending won’t be found on the August 23 release of Castle: The Complete Eighth Season. The ending in question would naturally have left out the jarring final montage, but according to co-showrunner Alexi Hawley, the episode featured other changes beyond edits for time:

The only editorial difference between the two [shootout] scenes was the cliffhanger version used some different shots at the very end to highlight the two of them on the floor together, rather than getting us into the tracking shot that took us to the time jump to the happy family.

A ninth season would itself have jumped forward in time past the shooting anyway, ostensibly to write out Stana Katic’s character, though options to have faked the character’s death were at least entertained. You know, the ol’ “Just kidding! She’s been undercover the whole time!”

It’s something of a tarnished legacy all the same, but is Castle better off pretending it had no alternative plans for its final hour? Watch the aired version below.