Wendy Christensen

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Wendy Christensen
Final Destination character
Photo still from Final Destination 3..jpg
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Wendy Christensen
First appearance Final Destination 3
Created by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Information
Full name Wendy Christensen
Gender Female
Occupation Former high school student
(graduated from McKinley High)
Family Julie Christensen
(younger sister)
Location McKinley, Pennsylvania

Wendy Christensen is a fictional character in the Final Destination franchise. The character, created by James Wong and Glen Morgan, and portrayed by actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, serves as the protagonist of Final Destination 3.[1] Outside of the films, the character also appears in the novelization of Final Destination 3.

In the film, Wendy is depicted a high school student from the fictional town of McKinley in Pennsylvania, and is one of the survivors of the Devil's Flight roller-coaster derailment. The character is portrayed in the film as an emotional, obsessive-compulsive "control freak" who becomes depressed over the course of the film as she fails to save the lives of those around her. Although her fate at the end of the film remains ambiguous, it's implied that she is the tenth and final survivor to die. Additionally, in 2011, franchise producer Craig Perry stated that he "believes" both Wendy and her sister Julie are in fact, dead.[2]

Both the character and Winstead's performance were positively received by critics, often being singled out as one of the highlights of the film, even by its detractors.

Appearances[edit]

Final Destination 3[edit]

Wendy lived in McKinley, Pennsylvania, with her sister Julie Christensen. She was shown to be a control freak. She was dating Jason Wise, and was friends with Kevin Fischer and Carrie Dreyer. She was the school photographer for the yearbook. Wendy and her friends celebrated at the amusement park for their senior field trip. At the start of the film, Wendy admits that she doesn't care for Kevin, but as the movie goes on she slowly forms a caring relationship with Kevin.

Before boarding a roller coaster ride known as "Devil's Flight", Wendy began to have the feeling of "having no control". Shortly after being seated on the coaster, she suffered a premonition of the entire ride derailing and brutally killing her and all the other passengers. She panicked, and managed to get several of her fellow students off, before realizing her boyfriend Jason and best friend Carrie were still on the roller-coaster. She fails to get them off the ride in time and witnesses the derailment of the roller-coaster and the death of Jason and Carrie.

After the incident, she is determined to leave McKinley due to the bad memories, but begins noticing the photographs she took on the night of the roller-coaster ride carry ominous clues as to how the other survivors eventually meet their end. She then pairs up with Kevin to save the other survivors; she ends up only managing to rescue Ian, her sister Julie and Kevin from their second intended deaths. Shortly after, Ian unintentionally helps Wendy escape her second death, but he himself is killed instead. Wendy, Kevin and Julie believe they have managed to escape death, but five months later, during a chance reunion, Wendy receives another premonition that foretells their deaths in the subway crash. Her attempts to stop the subway are for naught, as the film cuts to black, with sounds of the train derailment being heard, just as she runs towards the exit door. [3]

Alternate endings[edit]

In the first alternate ending on the DVD, after Ian gets completely crushed, she along with Kevin and Julie leave the tricentennial, but not before the camera which Wendy threw to the ground takes one last picture of them. In another ending, Wendy did not receive the premonition and the film ends with the subway barreling straight into her, explicitly showing her death. In the final alternate ending, Wendy receives her vision before she boarded the roller-coaster, and manages to save herself along with Kevin, Jason and Carrie.

Final Destination 5[edit]

In the fifth installment of the Final Destination franchise, Wendy appears through archive footage.

Literature[edit]

Wendy appears in the novelization of Final Destination 3. The storyline follows the same one as the film but in the novel Wendy survives.[4]

Casting and creation[edit]

In a DVD feature, James Wong revealed that he originally intended for Wendy to be a "perky blonde" and that Alexis Bledel had auditioned for the role. Winstead, who got cast in March 2005,[5] had previously auditioned for the second film, won the role because she brought emotion and character that impressed Wong and Morgan. When asked if she was a fan of the Final Destination franchise prior to being cast in the third film, Winstead mentioned auditioning for the second film saying, "Definitely. I was a fan of both films. I auditioned for the second one, but didn’t make it. I was happy to get a shot here".[6] Wong described Wendy as being "deeply affected by the accident, but she’s strong, and fights to maintain control.”[7]

Reception[edit]

"Taking over for Devon Sawa and A.J. Cook before her, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (2005's "Sky High") is Wendy, the beleaguered heroine who experiences the premonition. More so than Cook, Winstead is fully convincing and even touching in her portrayal of a young woman struggling to handle the traumatic events thrown at her."

— Dustin Putman compliments Winstead's performance over Cook's from the previous movie

Wendy has received a positive reception from critics.[8] Winstead's performance was met with generally positive reception among critics. James Berardinelli says she "does as competent a job as one could expect in these dire circumstances."[9] Felix Gonzalez, Jr. speaks positively of Winstead and Merriman's performances, saying "the film is not entirely unwatchable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman are likeable in the lead roles." [10]

Frank Ochieng also calls Winstead a "passable leading lass" [11] and TheDailyMacabre even goes on to say "Winstead is a stronger lead than A.J. Cook".[12]

Common Sense Media reacted positively to the character, saying that despite the movie not asking viewers to invest emotionally in the characters "you do invest, if only because of formula, in Wendy, who tries so hard to save her classmates."[13]

Louis B. Hobson however criticizes her and Merriman's performances, saying "Merriman and Winstead have basically two emotions. They're either grieving or terrified." [14] Waffle Movies adds "the performance is too much", likening her performance to "the person who shows up to a Halloween costume party wearing a formal evening gown." [15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]