If you ask a handful of fans of The Office what their favorite bit from the series is, the moment Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) get married on a tour boat at Niagra Falls will likely be a common response. As it turns out, the earliest scripts of the two-part episode initially had an incredibly bizarre plot point involving Roy Anderson's (Dave Denham) return to the series in an effort to win Pam back before she ties the knot. In a twist of fate, his "knight in shining armor" moment goes south, as one might suspect, and Anderson ends up gifting a horse to Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson).
A second bizarre subplot involving Schrute and the horse plunging off Niagra Falls then was set to kick off, taking the show on what would have been one of its darkest paths. As The Office producer Randy Cordray explains in The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, the subplot involved Schrute feeling he had a genetic duty to throw himself off the falls. By the end of the episode, Schrute gives up on his suicidal pact, a move that causes the horse to plunge over the falls to its untimely death.
“Dwight Schrute, horseman and beet farmer that he is, would then come along after the wedding. He’s walking outside the church and he sees Roy despondent, sitting on the curb, holding the reins of the horse. And he says, ‘Tough luck, buddy, that didn’t work out like you wanted it, did it?’" Cordray said of the moment. "And Roy would be, ‘No, and I’m stuck with this stupid horse. I paid for the horse for the rest of the day.’ And Dwight says, ‘Hey, I’m a horse person. Let me take care of it.’ He takes the reins of the hose and he’s taking it ostensibly back to the stables, but Dwight somehow finds himself riding along the banks of the Niagara River.”
Director Paul Feig, the filmmaker behind the episodes, added that it definitely wasn't a popular choice with many in the writer's room. “I remember all the writers were coming to me like, ‘We can’t do this. You can’t kill a horse. It’s crazy,'" Feig added. "Everybody was all over Greg, and Greg was just like, ‘I’m telling you this is going to work.’ He was digging in and everybody was freaking out about it.”
Cordray adds in the book some of the biggest pushback came from producer/star Steve Carell, who compared the moment to comedy you might see in an animated series like The Simpsons. As we all know now, showrunner Greg Daniels pulled the plug and the bit and the episode ends without incident.
All nine seasons of The Office are now streaming on Netflix.