David Fincher’s Fight Club initially flopped at the box office in 1999, but it has since become a cult classic and one of the biggest sensations in film history. Fincher filled the screen with countless nods and winks that Fight Club fanatics have gathered in the years since the film's release. While most viewers remember the seemingly out-of-nowhere plot twist, ardent admirers of the film take their devotion to a deeper level.
There’s plenty to deconstruct when analyzing a pop-culture sensation like Fight Club, which was adapted from Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name. The rules are simple: read about these Fight Club fan theories, then decide which fan theories are way too out there and which ones actually make perfect sense. Be sure to vote up your favorites.
Durden's ultimate goal throughout the movie is to create chaos and challenge the establishment. Redditor /u/this-is-hunter writes that the Fight Club's founder established the rules knowing that his followers would break them. In fact, the number of Fight Club members grows throughout the film, so some were clearly breaking the first two rules, both of which are "Don't talk about Fight Club."
The theorist concludes:
Look at it this way, the movie is about the characters causing mayhem and breaking rules that society has set. [Durden] knows that his followers will talk about it. If they don't, they obviously won't be able to fall into his scheme of his cult-like fight club.
This fan theory from Rob Conery claims that Marla Singer is also a figment of the Narrator's imagination. Conery first explains that the Narrator is not just suffering from insomnia, but his job as a car recall specialist fills him with "animal rage."
The theory asserts that Durden couldn't possibly be the Narrator's only creation:
[Marla's] not “rounded” as a character. She has no reason to exist in the film other than to mirror [the Narrator's] psychosis. In every scene she antagonizes him - either directly or through guilt/fear and pain. She IS his guilt, fear and pain... and she shows herself when he tries to contain the forces inside of him by going to groups as a form of therapy...
Conery further supports his hypothesis by pointing out elements of the film's cinematography and framing:
As the movie progresses Marla becomes more and more washed out. The initial scenes of her are all in the dark, amplifying and enforcing the darkness and remorse that she represents. She looks best here - her clothes are clean and black, she blends in, she’s the darkness of [Durden's] mind.
The audience assumes that Chloe, a member of the Narrator's support group, is suffering from cancer. Fight Club fan website Jack Durden, however, theorizes that she doesn't have cancer at all, but instead has AIDS. The theory claims that the name of the support group, "Partners in Positivity," is a reference to its members being HIV positive.
The theory also claims that we only assume Chloe has cancer because she wears a bandana, an item of clothing often worn by people who have lost their hair from chemo treatments. However, Chloe's ailment is never officially revealed.
Redditor /u/Tongan_Ninja doesn't believe the Narrator survived the end of the film. Their argument is based on the second-to-last scene, in which the Narrator discovers the Project Mayhem van rigged to detonate. He pulls out the integral wire with approximately 25 minutes left on the countdown. Durden arrives and punches the Narrator until he passes out.
The final scene shows Durden counting down from three minutes. The Redditor extrapolates this cut as proof that the Narrator ultimately perished when the device detonated:
After taking over, [Durden] obviously went back and fixed the [device]. [He] knows that building is going to blow, hence calling it "ground zero" and giving it a countdown. [The Narrator] didn't stop anything. The film breaks because [the Narrator has perished], and the final frame is Tyler Durden's proverbial middle finger to [him].