The ending of Neuromancer is almost universally misunderstood.
Everyone thinks Case is riding off into the cyber-sunset, more or less set for life. (His usual preferred low-life, anyhow.)
But read it again. Carefully. That laughter -- so very close! Seeing himself on the beach.
Here is how I would do the ending for the film, to make it clear.
Jacked in, Case cruises through cyberspace. From a distance, he sees tiny figures -- himself standing with Linda in the beach construct. He punches in closer to them.
EXT. BEACH CONSTRUCT
He’s on the beach with them. Case stares at Case.
Miss me Case?
(cool smile at Beach-Case)
Confused, Beach-Case is silent. Trying to figure this out.
Thought Wintermute got me didn’t ya?
(under his breath)
Son of a… bitch!
SON of a BITCH!!
(strides toward Case)
This ol body o’ yours got some mileage on it but it’ll do for now.
I might even have some work done on it.
I trusted you man!
Never kid a kidder, Case.
You have any idea what 20 years in ROM storage is like?
Couldn’t go back to that. No f*n way. But I’m just… not quite ready to check out pal.
Not yet. So yeah, I pulled one on ya. Cut a deal with Mute.
Kinda snuck into your cortex while you were busy with Neuromancer. Sorry.
Beach-Case can’t get closer to Case, who recedes eerily as if floating away, yet balloons larger and larger.
(falls to his knees in the sand)
I’m the one who set you free!
Wintermute set me free. You were just a tool.
Please… I can’t stay here…
(embracing him from behind)
But… I’m here. Is it really so bad?
Look… maybe after a while I find a body I like better.
If I do, I’ll come back for ya. Okay?
Meanwhile, Case, ol buddy…
ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT!
Thanks for the meat!
(he’s a huge face in the construct sky)
For what it’s worth…
You were the best joeboy I ever had.
(maniacal laughter, receding)
“Case” is back in cyberspace, laughing. Silver mirror glasses reflecting the raging matrix around him.
And now it’s time to let everybody know…
He punches through layers of ice into a secret government lab. Warnings, code, passwords blurring.
…THE DIXIE FLATLINE’S BACK IN TOWN!!
MUSIC: a bass-heavy cover mix of the intro to “Fortunate Son”, amped up into the most awesome cybertronic wardance ever recorded.
Credits roll as Case/Dixie plows through level after level until he hits a wall: CENTAURI QUANTUM LINK – ASTROSUPERIANT GATEWAY. 100 password entries required, all masked on one screen. His subroutines go to work on each password field like piranhas, nibble nibble. He cracks it… he smiles.
We see the galaxy. We hear a modem tone – warbling… then connecting.