'Tick, tick... BOOM!' ending explained: What was "the next thing" Jonathan worked on in the Netflix film? (Spoilers)

Still from Netflix's trailer for tick, tick... BOOM! (Image via YouTube)
Still from Netflix's trailer for tick, tick... BOOM! (Image via YouTube)

Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut, Tick, tick... BOOM!, premiered today on Netflix and is bound to swoon any Broadway lover with its brilliant cast.

Tick, tick... BOOM! stars Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford, and Joanna P. Adler. The musical drama is set in the 1990s and is based on Broadway star Jonathan Larson's musical tick, tick... BOOM! on the eve of his 30th birthday. The film captures important events of Larson's life and is produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Julie Oh.

It's time to dissect and understand the ending of Netflix's tick, tick... BOOM!

Analyzing the ending of 'tick, tick... BOOM!' (Spoilers ahead)

As Tick, tick... BOOM! nears its end, viewers will see Jonathan on his big day, where he is presenting his futuristic play SUPERBIA to everyone. The presentation was a success, especially with Karessa concluding it with Jonathan's new song, Come to Your Senses. Jonathan receives high praise but gets no offers from any producers, only a call from Rosa asking him to work on his next project.

A disheartened Jonathan then visits Michael and asks for a corporate job, to which Michael responds: 'there is only one Jonathan Larson', encouraging him to keep working and not give up on his dream.

But the constant ticking in Jonathan's head rankles him and he conveys to Michael how he would never understand the importance of time. This upsets Michael and he reveals that he is HIV-positive and has been trying to tell Jonathan about his condition for quite a while.

Jonathan finally gets a reality check about his attitude towards his friends. He then runs off to Central Park, only to end up in the Delacorte Theater where he sings (Why) about his friendship with Michael and if his career choice is even worth it.

Tick, tick... BOOM! then moves to the morning of Jonathan's 30th birthday where he receives a phone call from Stephen Sondheim, who praises SUPERBIA and wants to sit down with Jonathan for a chat. This lifts Jonathan's spirits even more as he also finds out that his friend Stephen is now out of the hospital and is doing well.

Jonathan's 30th birthday party is held at the Moondance Diner itself. He is joined by his friends, with a special appearance by Susan, who gifts him a blank music notebook and encourages him to write "the next thing", which is, tick, tick... BOOM!

Tick, tick... BOOM! then concludes with Susan talking about "the next thing" and how Jonathan died the night before the premiere of his next project, RENT. Jonathan was 35 years old and died from an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm. He never got to experience the success of his legendary work that is still being performed on Broadway.


In the final moments of Tick, tick... BOOM!, Jonathan is seen performing his final song (Louder than Words) where he looks over at this audience and acknowledges his friends and family while Susan watches him from the back. The end credits of the movie roll in and the actual footage of Jonathan Larson is played as he performs tick, tick... BOOM!.

The ending of Tick, tick... BOOM! might be upsetting, but all in all, the movie focuses on Jonathan's life and how his greatest works came to be. There's also still a question mark on whether Michael made it as a lot of people died during the 80s HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Tick, tick... BOOM! is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande