As it turns out, the filmmakers saw the cruelty of the book… and flinched from it. As they’re bundling John Galt into the helicopter that will fly them to safety, we get this line of dialogue: “We’ve got one more man to pick up: Eddie!”
Whether they thought of it in these terms or not, this is a slap in Ayn Rand’s face. It’s tacitly saying that her killing him off was sadistic and unnecessary (which, well, it was). Even in a movie that ends, as the book does, with the lights of New York going out and tens of millions of people dying offscreen, Eddie’s pointless death was one step too far for the filmmakers.