Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of the craziest movies in recent years. But an early draft of the screenplay, written for Jackie Chan, might be even crazier. We’re going to break down the Everything Everywhere All at Once script by looking at its quotes, plot, and ending. In our video, we also break down how the Daniels and their team shot the film. From the cameras, lenses choices, aspect ratio and color palettes to the insane VFX. By the end, you’ll know why the script is so insane, and how it laid the groundwork for a critically-lauded film.

Video Essay: Everything Everywhere All At Once

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Everything Everywhere All at Once Script PDF Download

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Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert Headshot Featured

WHO WROTE Everything Everywhere All at Once SCRIPT?

Written by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are a filmmaking duo known collectively as “Daniels.” Daniels has directed music videos for artists such as The Shins and Tenacious D, as well as two feature-films: Swiss Army Man (2016) and Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022).

STORY BREAKDOWN

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE SYNOPSIS

Here is the story structure for the Everything Everywhere All at Once screenplay:

Exposition

Professor Jackie Chan is interrupted by a seemingly omniscient young woman named Jobu Tupaki while giving a lecture on quantum physics.

In another universe, Jackie Chan struggles to sort out a government audit, whilst trying to reconcile relationships with his ill father Yieh Yieh, tired wife Winona, and absent daughter Joy.

Inciting Incident

Winona from Jackie’s universe wants a divorce. A Winona from another universe tells Jackie that “a great evil has taken root” in her world and has “begun spreading its chaos throughout the many verses.”

Plot Point One

Winona from the Alphaverse explains that Jackie from the Alphaverse discovered a way to “temporarily create a link between your consciousness and that of another version of you.” Then, Jackie and Alpha Winona are pursued by Jobu and her associates.

Rising Action

Jackie acquires martial arts skills by “verse-jumping,” ultimately proving to Alpha Winona that he’s “the one” to replace the dead Alpha Jackie.

Midpoint

Jackie recognizes Jobu as his daughter, Joy. Jobu explains that there are an infinite number of universes, thus making every situation possible.

Plot Point Two

The Joy from Jackie’s verse appears. Jackie disapproves of her marriage to a woman.

Build Up

Alpha Winona gives Jackie a device that will allow him to kill every version of Joy. First, however, Jackie needs to train. So, he verse-jumps to worlds where he’s a Benihana chef, a pinkie push-up star, and more, to learn how to defeat the enemies.

Climax

Jackie and Jobu battle. Jobu says that nothing matters, and everything is just part of a “march to entropy.” Jackie says everything matters, and activates the machine. A series of alternate endings play as credits roll.

Finale

Jackie wakes up in a church, just in time for Joy’s wedding. Joy explains that Jackie is now “everywhere,” just like she is: in a tax-laden apartment, atop an IRS building, in a hibachi kitchen, behind a type-writer, in a forest as a pig, in a boxing ring, in a chapel with hot-dog fingers. Jackie is everywhere all at once.

Denouement 

Jackie “kills” his enemies with “kindness;” Joy sees the error of her nihilistic ways. Jackie and Winona from the original universe decide to confront the future together.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script Takeaway #1

Crazy Everything Everywhere All at Once quotes

The best Everything Everywhere All at Once quotes take place amidst witty banter. It may sound trite to say, but the ludicrousness of the story sets the stage for some moments of natural comedy.

We imported the Everything Everywhere All at Once script into StudioBinder’s screenwriting software to take a closer look at a hectic scene with a hilarious quote. 

Remember, this script is an early version where Jackie Chan was still the star of the show!

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script PDF  •  Read Everything Everywhere All at Once Hilarious Quotes

Here, Jackie serves as a conduit for the audience. He barely knows what’s going on…and we barely know what’s going on, which helps us to feel like we’re not on the outside looking in. But still, Jackie does his best, meeting Alpha Winona’s demands with a meek “I love you?” 

It’s a moment of simple characterization – but helpful in bringing us into a very confusing world.

There are a bunch of other memorable Everything Everywhere All at Once quotes. Here are some of the best:

  • “The less sense it makes, the better. Tell him you love him. And mean it!”
  • “But now I see that the world is very big and very stupid. We should do whatever we want. People fall in love with all sorts of things. Why not two girls fall in love? Why not two shoes? Why can’t I love this Fruit?”
  • “Dad. Don’t apologize, I don’t have feelings. I’m a rock.”
  • Stop calling me "a gay." It’s just "gay."

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script Takeaway #2

Making sense of the Everything Everywhere All at Once plot

The Everything Everywhere All at Once plot makes little to no sense when viewed under a microscope. That’s why our synopsis is painted in as broad strokes as possible. There are a bunch of minor “verse” storylines, like those of Jackie as a boxer, Jackie as a pig, and Jackie as a Benihana chef, and although they do support the theme of overcoming pessimism, they don’t necessarily help with explaining the plot.

So: what is Everything Everywhere All at Once about? Well, the main plot can be distilled into these major story beats:

“REAL” STORYLINE
  1. Jackie is under IRS audit for cheating on his tax returns.
  2. Jackie’s daughter, Joy, cuts contact and marries a woman.
  3. Jackie’s wife, Winona, wants a divorce.
“SURREAL” STORYLINE
  1. A Winona from another universe appears and tells Jackie that he must stop Joy — who’s mastered “verse jumping” — from destroying the world.
  2. Jackie travels across verses to acquire skills necessary for beating Joy.

After these beats, everything goes off the rails. I’m inclined to say Everything Everywhere All at Once jumps the shark — but going off the rails actually supports the story’s grandiose statement on the simplicity of life amidst a world of infinite possibilities.

So, rather than going into the minutia of all of the script’s branching storylines, let’s skip ahead to a moment where everything is tied together.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script PDF  •  Read the Rock Universe Scene

In this moment, Jackie makes peace with the absurdity of life, and decides to accept his daughter, despite initially disagreeing with her life choices. 

The scene plays  out similarly in the movie. However, it leans a bit more into the existential theme.

Everything Everywhere All at Once  •  Watch the Rock Scene

In both the script and the movie, the “rock scene” is where conflict between the protagonist and Joy is resolved. The scene could have worked as the denouement, but its place in the story makes us regard it as the falling action. The denouement doesn’t occur until later when Jackie’s relationship with Winona is resolved.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script Takeaway #3

Everything Everywhere All at Once ending explained

The Everything Everywhere All at Once ending can be read in a few different ways; a treatise on existentialism, a commentary on familial love, or a metatext machination of a writer off the rails. Perhaps all of these interpretations can be correct… if it’s true there are an infinite number of universes.

Everything Everywhere All at Once teaches us that anything that can happen, will happen, so there’s no point in making a big deal out of the things that divide us… because in some universe, we’ve all done the exact same things. 

Like many profound stories, EEAAO ends on a simple note. Read the Everything Everywhere All at Once ending below, and consider why the Daniels conclude with a somewhat cliche kiss between Jackie and Winona.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script PDF  • Read Everything Everywhere All at Once Ending

I’d argue that the Everything Everywhere All at Once ending needed to be cliche. Think about it: most of the story was narratively insane… so any attempt to end on a crescendo would have stripped the emotional resonance.

By grounding the story through Jackie and Winona’s relationship, we’re given character resolution. The arc of their relationship, from the precipice of divorce to reconciliation, is clear.

The film version doubles down on this strategy by bringing the entire family into the action. Check out the clip below, and think about how it works even better than the script.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Script  •  Everything Everywhere All at Once Ending

Here, we’re given clear resolution to the primary narrative and the characters within it. Someway, somehow “Daniels” pulled off a satisfying ending after 130+ pages of absolute insanity.

UP NEXT

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There’s no doubt about it: the Everything Everywhere All at Once screenplay is one of the most inventive scripts of all-time. If you want to continue reading screenplays, we have similar titles like Fight Club, The Matrix, and Ghostbusters in our screenplay database. Browse and download PDFs for all of our scripts as you read, write and practice your craft to become the next great screenwriter.

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