According to a USA Today interview with Chuck Palahniuk, a Fight Club sequel is in the works. As commenter BigDukeSix states on The Guardian article on the same topic, “I am Jack’s growing sense of doubt.” I too initially thought only of the impediments to Fight Club 2 living up to the legacy of the original, not so much book, but film by David Fincher. Because if you live in my house, you believe the film is greater than the novel.
The sequel is taking the form of a 10-issue graphic novel published through Dark Horse and illustrated by Cameron Stewart, which initially struck me as an oddly confined narrative format. The limits of prose in a graphic novel are profound – allowing maybe six sentences a page, mostly dialogue with phrases of exposition or narration. Furthermore, though graphic novels are visual and can be cinematic in a storyboard sort of way, the form lacks the kinetic movement and editing surprises the film version offered. For instance, the flashes of Tyler early on in the film, before the narrator actually meets him, would be difficult to suggest in comic book pages.
However, upon further thought, there is a brilliance to making the sequel a graphic novel mini-series. Most importantly, the comic book form is a bridge between novel and film. Fans fall into the categories of those who love the novel, those who love the film, and those who love both. The graphic novel allows an in-road for everyone to relate to. Additionally, if the story is good, and Fincher is directing, I’m all for a second film. In that case, the graphic novel can serve pretty easily as an initial storyboard, depending on how the artist conceptualizes the frames. And Cameron Stewart, the graphic artist on the project, described it thusly:
Fight Club 2, especially for those like him who were first exposed to the movie, “is as much a meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to Fight Club as it is a sequel.” And instead of embracing realism, his style for the series tends toward the “cartoony” because it was “more appropriate for the density of the story and for some of its more absurdly comical moments.” (Truitt, “Chuck Palahniuk reconvenes his ‘Fight Club’”)
Even five years ago, a sequel to Fight Club would have seemed like an absurd money-grab, but reading Palaniuk’s reasoning makes a lot of sense to this new(ish) mother:
The original book was “such a tirade against fathers — everything I had thought my father had not done combined with everything my peers were griping about their fathers,” says Palahniuk, 52. “Now to find myself at the age that my father was when I was trashing him made me want to revisit it from the father’s perspective and see if things were any better and why it repeats like that.” (Truitt)
In fact, it reminds me of the way Richard Linklater approached the Before series – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. Linklater would not even consider making a sequel until he had enough life experience to offer a new perspective and wisdom on the central couple, Jesse and Celine. At that point, he would meet with his actor-collaborators, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and they would collectively script the next chapter of these characters’ lives. Likewise, the original Fight Club is told from the perspective of a lost son, a young man whose father has failed to raise him into adulthood. Fight Club 2 makes the narrator the father of a 9-year old, finding himself now failing that son. Further, his son is now at the mercy of Project Mayhem. That’s a perspective change that intrigues me greatly.
However, I’m less enthusiastic about a less ambiguous Tyler Durden. Palaniuk has teased: “Tyler is something that maybe has been around for centuries and is not just this aberration that’s popped into his mind.” Tyler works, in part, because of the mystery of him. I suppose it’s a necessity to explore what Tyler actually is. Will he be a supernatural trickster figure? Will he be an archetypal shadow? Some other type of god or demon? A manifestation of a shared psychological aspect of humanity?
Fight Club 2 is scheduled for May 2015. I know I’ll be reading it.