Recently finishing up the book Fight Club after being a fan of the movie for so long. While the movie retains most of the dialogue and several tones of the book, one giant contrast is now present to me.

In the book, the ending goes similar to how the movie occurs. However, one glaring difference is while in the movie, the Narrator shoots himself through the cheek, doing this kills Tyler, and he and Marla stand atop the building, watching the destruction caused by Project Mayhem in a seemingly (while twisted) peaceful ending.

In the book, however,

The Narrator shoots himself, but is then put into a mental health facility until the end of his days. To me, this seems like a heavy contrast and much more depressing ending to the story compared with the movie version. Also in the book, there is more hostility towards the Narrator when he tries to stop Project Mayhem while near the end of the movie, they seem to "forgive" him by bringing Marla to him.

Is there any reason to these changes or documentation stating why Fincher decided to take these turns with the story?

  • In the book, isn't it implied the Space Monkeys continue their mission? I think one of his attendants in the hospital says "We miss you, Sir." Did I make that up? Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 16:22
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    @MonkeyWidget actually you're quite correct, and those are the ending lines of the book. Spoiler: Because every once in a while, somebody brings me my lunch tray and my meds and he has a black eye or his forehead is swollen with stitches, and he says: "We miss you Mr. Durden." Or somebody with a broken nose pushes a mop past me and whispers: "Everything's going according to the plan." Whispers: "We're going to break up civilization so we can make something better out of the world." Whispers: "We look forward to getting you back."
    – nilon
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


Quoted from Wikipedia:

Fincher considered the novel too infatuated with Tyler Durden and changed the ending to move away from him: "I wanted people to love Tyler, but I also wanted them to be OK with his vanquishing."

Something I learned about Fight Club during an interview with Chuck Palanihuk is that he considers Fight Club a coming-of-age story; the narrator grows up and accepts his role in life by rebelling, discovering a mentor and then transcending the mentor.

After he sees through Tyler, the narrator destroys him and is then ready to choose life, apparently embarking on the kids-and-minivan-in-quiet-suburban-life with Marla. A more depressing ending than the book, from one perspective.

  • "ready to choose life" ... this seems one possible interpretation that I like. "suburban-life" is perhaps a little too far of a stretch: is this you opinion or part of what the director said/implied? In my understanding the idea that two self-destructive characters (Narrator and Marla) come together (with same physical height) while part of the financial-physical world collapses may have other very interesting possible derivatives. A post-capitalism world?
    – nilon
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:50
  • The comments about coming-of-age were not from the director (David Fincher) but from the author of the original novel (Chuck Palahniuk). I agree that interpretation you mention is logical from the movie's perspective, but Chuck's comments at that session about the novel and his original vision were much more about his arc for the Narrator of "growing up" and accepting adult responsibilities than living in a post-consumerism world. As I said, the darkest of all endings - Leave It To Tyler. If that link still works check it out, his comments are at the end I think.
    – lonstar
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:02
  • good input. I've read the book and even if the author may have something specific in mind I think that a post-capitalism world is compatible with the idea in both the book and the movie, no darkness necesarrily in that. Maybe: post-capitalism=adult responsabilities?
    – nilon
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 12:58

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