Priscilla Ending: Explaining What Happened After The Events Of Sofia Coppola’s Movie

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SPOILERS are ahead for Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla , now streaming with a Max subscription and available to rent and buy on digital platforms.
After 2022’s Elvis movie had Austin Butler transforming into the King of Rock and Roll for Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed film and blockbuster, it felt like Priscilla came out of nowhere. Why was another actor playing Elvis Presley so soon? What else is there to tell? But Sofia Coppola’s movie isn’t another movie about the rise and fall of Elvis necessarily. Instead, it takes a close look at the life of his wife, Priscilla Presley, and it’s not only one of the best movies of 2023 , starring Cailee Spaeny’s incredible breakthrough performance , but one of the most amazing biopics that should be on everyone’s must-see list.
Following Max recently striking a deal with A24 , Priscilla has become one of the latest films from the studio to be on the streaming platform. So if you’re just tuning into the movie and are curious about how the ending of Prscilla fits into the larger timeline of the Presleys’ lives, let’s dive into what the emotional finale of the movie means and what happened next.
(Image credit: A24)
The Ending Of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla
At the end of Priscilla, a 27-year-old Priscilla Presley tells Elvis Presley (who was 37 at the time) that she wants a divorce and leaves Graceland after living there for a decade and initially meeting the star when she was just 14. The final scene sees Priscilla driving off to the tune of Dolly Parton singing “I Will Always Love You” as she says goodbye to a chapter of her life that continues to define the celebrity.
Priscilla is based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, and the film was executive produced by Priscilla Presley as well. Thus, the ending mirrors the ending of the memoir in terms of wrapping things up when her relationship with Elvis officially ended. As the movie (and Priscilla’s accounts) allege, she left the rockstar after her husband had multiple affairs with other women, took part in drug abuse and reportedly raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room just a year before their separation.
(Image credit: A24)
The Significance Of ‘I Will Always Love You’ At The End Of Priscilla
While Priscilla features Jacob Elordi’s Elvis Presley throughout the film, not a single song from the legend’s catalog is heard in the 2023 movie. This is because the Sofia Coppola movie did not receive rights to use his music and was made on the small budget of $20 million. In fact, the Elvis Presley Estate has allegedly slammed Priscilla for looking like a “college movie,” along with calling Coppola’s direction “horrible.”
While big Elvis songs are not in Priscilla, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” actually holds a major significance as the final song of the feature due to the story behind it. While Whitney Houston is famously the vocalist behind the hit song, Dolly Parton wrote it and recorded it initially in 1973 (the same year of the Presley’s divorce). When Elvis Presley showed interest in recording the song himself, Parton was excited until Colonel Tom Parker shared that it was standard for songwriters to sign over half the publishing rights to songs Elvis recorded. Parton decided to refuse the terms and recalls crying “all night” over the decision, but ultimately she was happy with it when she stuck to her guns and the residuals from Houston’s version helped her make enough money to “buy Graceland,” per Wide Open Country .
Thus, “I Will Always Love You” not only is a perfect song tonally as Priscilla Presley drives away from the only man she’s only been with, but as a symbol of the resistance to Elvis both Priscilla and Dolly had to stand up to regarding the legendary rock star.
(Image credit: A24)
Priscilla Presley Had An Affair Of Her Own As Well
In Priscilla, it’s only hinted at, but when Priscilla Presley left Elvis Presley, she had been embroiled in her own affair outside of her marriage with karate instructor Mike Stone. Presley wrote about the affair and why she left the King in Elvis & Me, saying this:
I was confronted with the harsh realization that living the way I had for so long was very unnatural and detrimental to my well-being. My relationship with Mike had now developed into an affair… I still loved Elvis greatly, but over the next few months I knew I would have to make a crucial decision regarding my destiny. I knew that I must take control of my life. I could not give up these new insights. There was a whole world out there and I had to find my own place in it.
After Priscilla drove away from Graceland, she went to live with Mike Stone, whom she had met the year before at one of Elvis’ shows backstage, and he later started giving her karate lessons. Not long after their separation became official, Priscilla has alleged that Elvis thought about hiring a contract killer to murder Stone, but didn’t follow through. The couple finalized their divorce on October 9, 1973 and agreed on shared custody of their daughter Lisa Marie, who died a year ago at the age of 54 after suffering a cardiac episode.
(Image credit: Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
What Else Happened After Priscilla Left Elvis?
After the events of Priscilla, Elvis’ ex-wife would go on to live a successful life of her own, and she’s still alive, set to turn 79 in May. Once she was no longer with Elvis Presley in Graceland, she started her new life by opening a clothing store with her friend that became successful. Following Presley’s death in 1977 at the age of 42, she became the president of Elvis Presley Enterprises and helped make Graceland the major tourist attraction it is today.
Priscilla Presley also pursued acting in her own right, such as in Dallas and The Naked Gun movies, and was considered for iconic roles like as one of the Charlie’s Angels leads and as a Bond girl in A View To Kill. She never married again, but had another major relationship with Brazilian screenwriter Marco Garibaldi from 1984 to 2006. They have a 36-year-old son together named Navarone Garibaldi.
The Presley women continue to thrive in the spotlight too, considering Priscilla Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough, has become a Hollywood star as of late in projects including Amazon’s Daisy Jones and the Six. While Priscilla doesn’t cover all of the details of Priscilla Presley’s life, it certainly pulled back the curtain about Elvis Presley’s home life in a way that the Austin Butler movie doesn’t.

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