Bullet Train ending explained. Directed by David Leitch from a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz, Bullet Train is based on the Japanese novel by Kōtarō Isaka. While the film managed to avoid being delayed too much because of the pandemic, its release date was pushed from April to July 2022 before Sony Pictures Releasing settled on an August theatrical release. Starring Brad Pitt, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Joey King, the film received mixed reviews from critics.
Bullet Train has an explosive ending that ties all of the loose plot threads together, connecting every single character and the reason for why they are passengers on the bullet train. As it turns out, the White Death admits to bringing them all together in the hopes the assassins would each kill each other. The plan was meant to exact revenge on all the characters for the death of the White Death’s wife, who was killed in a car crash assassination by Mr. Carver (Ryan Reynolds). Ladybug’s involvement in the bullet train chaos is ultimately revealed to be a mistake — the White Death assumed Ladybug was Carver, who was out sick and replaced by the former assassin to retrieve the briefcase. Ladybug survives the bullet train crash alongside Yuichi, his father, and Lemon, who runs over the Prince. Meanwhile, the White Death is killed, his head mostly blown off by the explosive planted inside the gun by his daughter, after he attempts to shoot Ladybug.
Despite the film’s many storylines, Bullet Train manages to pull everything together. Even the most obscure details and subplots the film introduces are resolved by the end of the film. However, there is plenty to explore and think about following the film’s ending. Here is a full explainer detailing Bullet Train’s ending, including why Carver actually killed White Death’s wife and the significance of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Bullet Train’s ending revealed Carver, an assassin and Ladybug’s colleague, was responsible for killing the White Death’s wife in a fatal car crash that was initially thought to be an accident. This infuriated the White Death, who went to great lengths to find out who killed his wife and plot to take out everyone who was even remotely involved (directly or otherwise). Carver was likely meant to kill White Death, but circumstances ultimately led the mob boss away on that fateful day. If Lemon and Tangerine hadn’t botched up the job in Bolivia, it wouldn’t have led the White Death to clean up their mess, which is why he was not the one in the car with his wife that day. It makes no sense if Carver was after the White Death’s wife all along. After all, there would be no point in killing her if it meant angering the White Death, who was already considered a danger. And so Carver’s mission was probably set up to take out the White Death all along and the change of plans led to her being collateral. After the death of his wife, it likely became harder to track and find the mob boss because he knew there was now a hit on him.
Carver was noticeably absent throughout Bullet Train, despite the fact that his actions led to the White Death’s revenge plot. Ladybug mentions Carver had a “stomach thing” and couldn’t take the job to retrieve the briefcase, leading Maria to assign Ladybug the task in his place. However, it’s possible Carver realized something was amiss and feigned being sick so he wouldn’t have to take the job at all, leading Ladybug to cover for him. While it’s unclear what kind of personality Carver has or whether he’d be fine with throwing his own colleague under the bus, it’s possible Carver knew that if Ladybug didn’t take his place on the bullet train, the White Death would never stop coming after him. This is something that isn’t explicitly stated or acknowledged in the film, but it’s not unfathomable to think Carver would try and save himself if he figured out the plan.
In a twist, the Prince is revealed to be none other than the daughter of White Death. Like her father, she also wanted her own form of revenge, though hers was due to the neglect she faced from her father, paired with feeling underappreciated and overlooked. In Bullet Train, the White Death says that the Prince was never a part of his plan, which is precisely why her involvement ruined his. If the Prince had not been on the bullet train and had not pushed Yuishi’s son off the roof, the White Death may have been successful in pulling off his mission. However, the Prince threw a wrench in his plan, bringing the two people — Yuishi and his father — who wanted revenge on the White Death into the fold, complicating matters. What’s more, the Prince’s theft of the briefcase, paired with her own plot to kill the White Death by planting explosives in the suitcase and her gun, was what led to his unexpected demise. Had the Prince not been on the bullet train at all, the White Death might have stood a chance at accomplishing his goal.
Throughout Bullet Train, Lemon explains that Thomas the Tank Engine is the key to knowing who is and isn’t to be trusted. The reasons why he loves Thomas and all the characters associated with him are unclear in the film, but it’s possible Lemon has such an affinity for them is because he associates his childhood memories to the series. There is a scene near the end of Bullet Train where Lemon and Tangerine are watching something on TV and laughing together, with Lemon riveted by whatever he’s seeing play out. It could be Lemon, from a young age, understood the lessons Thomas the Tank Engine was trying to convey and it shaped how he viewed the world. When considering how much his life changed, becoming an assassin who saw and committed a lot of violent acts, Lemon’s attachment to kids television series, something innocent and morally valuable, makes a lot of sense and shapes his entire outlook on people in a business where he can't trust them.
While Bullet Train wraps up its primary storyline rather neatly, killing off the film’s antagonists, the action flick sets up a few ways for the story to continue. Currently, there are no plans for a Bullet Train sequel or spin-off, but seeing as how the ending confirms Mr. Carver’s involvement, it’s possible a sequel could focus on the Ryan Reynolds character. He’s mysterious and there’s surely a lot of history between Carver and Ladybug, who doesn’t seem to like his colleague at all. A Bullet Train sequel could focus on Ladybug’s dynamic with Carver, perhaps seeing them on a mission together. There’s also a lot audiences still don’t know about Ladybug and an action sequel could explore more of his character, as well as who he works for and with. What’s more, Bullet Train sets up a spin-off that could focus on Lemon and Tangerine — arguably the most dynamic characters in the film. Considering Tangerine was killed off, the spin-off could be a prequel to the events of Bullet Train. The brothers share a history and their banter alone could carry an entire film, all while the story delves further into their lives and adventures.