Warning: SPOILERS below for Outlaw King!
Outlaw King tells the tale of how Robert the Bruce became King of Scots and fought for Scotland’s independence, but the film’s ending only reveals part of the true story. Directed and co-written by David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), the historical epic stars Chris Pine as the titular warrior-king, Florence Pugh (Malevolent) as his wife Elizabeth, and Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones) as King Edward I of England.
Set in the years 1304-1307, Outlaw King begins with Scotland’s capitulation to King Edward and the forging a peace treaty that restored the Scottish nobles’ lands and titles. However, William Wallace, “the last rebel standing”, is in hiding and the Guardian of Scotland remains a hero to the people. The film depicts Robert being given Elizabeth de Burgh as his wife by Edward (who gave favor to the Bruces), and Elizabeth loyally stands by her husband when he decides to assert his claim to Scotland’s throne after Wallace is captured and executed – which includes Robert murdering John Comyn (Callan Mulvey), who also has a claim as King of Scotland and threatened to reveal Robert’s plans to Edward.
Related: Screen Rant’s Outlaw King Review
From there, Outlaw King shows how Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots and his attempts to rally the country to once more fight for their independence, which tragically cost the lives of some of Robert’s brothers and saw Elizabeth and his young daughter Marjorie captured and imprisoned in England. Outlaw King climaxes with Robert leading a small band of Scotland’s forces against the superior English army at the Battle of Loudoun Hill, but ultimately, the true story is even more interesting than what’s depicted in the film.
- This Page: Outlaw King’s Ending and Connection to Braveheart
- Page 2: What Outlaw King Changes About Its Ending and Scotland’s Independence
What Happened in Outlaw King’s Ending?
Outlaw King concludes with the Battle of Loudoun Hill in 1307. After suffering huge defeats and tragic personal losses, Robert the Bruce gathers his forces still loyal to the outlaw King of Scots. They face the English army led by Robert’s two primary rivals, Edward, Prince of Wales (Billy Howle) and Aymer de Valance (Sam Spruell). One bit of fortune for Robert is that King Edward I died en route to the battle, leaving the weaker Prince of Wales at the head of the army.
Despite being outnumbered 3000 to 600, Robert concocted an ingenious strategy to use the land itself as part of their defense. The Scots dug trenches in the bogs and planted spears to injure the horses of the English cavalry; the tactic worked and the Scots forced the English to retreat after a brutal and bloody battle. The Prince of Wales confronted Robert in a duel (echoing the one they had at the start of the film) but was handily defeated and fled in a frightened panic, cementing the Scottish triumph and marking the turning point in the War for Scottish Independence. The film ends on this high note; Elizabeth being freed from captivity and reuniting with Robert as King and Queen of Scotland.
How Outlaw King Connects To William Wallace & Braveheart
Outlaw King mostly takes place after the events of Braveheart, though the opening sequence where Robert and the Scottish lords swear fealty to King Edward I (“King Longshanks”, as he’s referred to in Mel Gibson’s film) happens after the pivotal Battle of Falkirk where William Wallace was defeated and goes into hiding. As depicted in Braveheart’s ending, Wallace is captured, tortured, hanged, drawn and quartered (which happens off-screen in Outlaw King). Wallace’s head is placed on a pike at London Bridge and the rest of his appendages were displayed across Scotland.
In Outlaw King, it’s the news of Wallace’s death that sparks new unrest among the Scottish people, threatening the peace treaty of 1304 that opened the movie, and prompting Robert the Bruce’s ambition to press his claim as King and unite Scotland. As for Braveheart, the line in Mel Gibson’s closing narration about how Scotland prevailed over England – “They fought like warrior poets… and won their freedom” – is what Outlaw King is depicting, although the real-life events that led to Scotland’s independence weren’t quite as rosy and romantic.
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