Fight Club author Chuck Palahnuik has revealed what he didn’t like about David Fincher’s 1999 film adaptation, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
In an interview with Variety about his new novel Not Forever, But For Now, Palahnuik explained how the inclusion of the ticking bomb in Fight Club‘s closing scenes was not to his liking.
“I wasn’t a big fan of the ticking bomb, that counting down clock near the end. And [screenwriter] Jim Uhls stuck it in because there’s obviously such a trope, and I’ve grown to accept that it is a trope.”
In the closing moments of Fight Club, The Narrator (Norton) attempts to disarm the explosives planted below a series of credit company buildings by his imaginary alter ego Tyler Durden (Pitt). The Narrator manages to “kill” Tyler by shooting himself in the side of the head, but is unable to prevent the buildings from collapsing.
In February 2022, most of this ending was removed on the Chinese streaming service Tencent Video.
Instead, a title card read: “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to a lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment.”
Following a backlash, however, Tencent restored 11 of the 12 minutes cut in its version, with a sex scene between Durden and Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) being the only omission.
China has strict rules on censorship, which may have explained the original cut ending. It’s unclear, though, if the backlash itself directly led to the restoration.
Despite sarcastically joking about censorship in a series of tweets, Palahniuk later argued that the changed ending was actually more in line with his novel.
“The irony is that the way the Chinese have changed it, they aligned the ending almost exactly with the ending of the book, as opposed to [David] Fincher’s ending, which was the more spectacular visual ending,” he told TMZ. “So in a way, the Chinese brought the ending back to the book a little bit.”