Warning: Spoilers for Hamilton ahead.
Fans who knew Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musicalonly from its cast recording may have been surprised by its final seconds once the movie version . In the final scene, Alexander Hamilton’s widow, Eliza (Phillipa Soo), sings of living 50 years after his death, during which time she established an orphanage, raised funds for the Washington Monument and strove to further her husband’s legacy. Then, in the show’s final moments, she looks straight at the audience and gasps, and the stage goes black.
The gasp is an unusual way to end the show, and fans have been debating its meaning. Some say it means Eliza has died, and is seeing her late husband again. Others say she’s seeing the audience and realizing her husband’s legacy has been preserved.
On Wednesday, Miranda himself weighed in. The playwright responded to a fan theory that when Miranda, playing Alexander Hamilton, walks up behind Eliza, he has transformed back into himself as creator of the show.
“He takes Eliza’s hand, he lets her know that it’s OK to go,” says TikTok user Mallory Ellis in a video that was tweeted out and brought to Miranda’s attention. “She breaks the fourth wall, she sees that he told her story. BOOM! That’s why I cry, guys.”
Miranda liked the idea, but points out that the theory falls apart when other actors take on Hamilton’s part.
“It’s a lovely notion,” he admits in the tweet, going on to say, “The Gasp is The Gasp is The Gasp. I love all the interpretations.”
Last week, the Hamilton cast answered questions from Wired magazine, and Miranda again refused to nail down a meaning.
“I think it’s different for each Eliza,” he said. “I do think that it traverses time in some way, whether that thing she’s seeing is Hamilton, whether that thing she’s seeing is heaven, whether that thing she’s seeing is the world now. I think those are all valid and all fair.”
Actress Phillippa Soo, who originated the role of Eliza and plays her in the filmed version, spoke about the ending in a 2016 interview.
“People are like, ‘Is it Eliza going into heaven? Is she seeing Alexander? Is she seeing God? What is it?’ ” Soo said in the interview. “And it’s kind of all of those things.”
To see the gasp for yourself, check out Hamilton on Disney Plus — and don’t miss our.