Quick! Think of a beloved, bold, classic, cult film with Oscar caliber performance and craft that you’d never want to see remade or reimagined. Now imagine the medium you’d never want to see that film remade or reimagined within. Was your answer Dirty Dancing as a web series? First of all, no, that’s the wrong answer and, second of all, that sounds delightfully terrible. No, the right answer was Fight Club and “graphic novel.” Too bad.
In the crush of the weekend’s massive influx of Comic-Con news, an announcement from author Chuck Palahniuk got a bit lost in the fray, and it’s finally managed to get around days later. Palahniuk appeared at the convention for a number of reasons – to sign books for fans, to appear on a panel called “Ode to Nerds,” to clearly be very good to his admirers, and to slyly announce that he’s working on a sequel to his “Fight Club.” The author slipped the news in during his panel when asked what he was working on next, and while it’s heartening that it’s Palahniuk who is working on this so-called sequel, we’re finding it very hard indeed to get excited about the potential for any sort of follow-up to his original vision, particularly in graphic novel form.
Collider passed along the news, straight from the author’s official site (called “The Cult”) about the process of the new novel and the bare bones of Palahniuk’s vision for it. If you’re not interested in getting clear-cut answers to what the book’s creator thinks happened to Tyler, Jack, and Marla after the events of the book and film, stop reading now. As someone who didn’t know how much she didn’t want to know clear-cut answers to what the book’s creator thinks happened to Tyler, Jack, and Marla, I implore you to think about this before you hit the jump.
After news about Palahniuk’s reveal at the panel hit, The Cult’s webmaster understandably felt compelled to email the author to get the juice. Below is Palahniuk’s response, as shared on his site:
About the graphic novel, it’s true. Chelsea Cain has been introducing me to artists and creators from Marvel, DC and Dark Horse, and they’re walking me through the process. It will likely be a series of books that update the story ten years after the seeming end of Tyler Durden. Nowadays, Tyler is telling the story, lurking inside Jack, and ready to launch a come-back. Jack is oblivious. Marla is bored. Their marriage has run aground on the rocky coastline of middle-aged suburban boredom. It’s only when their little boy disappears, kidnapped by Tyler, that Jack is dragged back into the world of Mayhem. It will, of course, be dark and messy. Due to contract obligations it can’t come to light for a while. Next year is “Beautiful You,” followed by the story collection. But since the Fight Club sequel will appear serialized in graphic form, my book publisher might allow me to launch it earlier than 2015. Feel free to release any or all of this information. We haven’t started to court a specific publisher, not until I hammer out the complete story.
Let’s get this out of the way – “dark and messy” sounds great. I fully support “dark and messy” for any kind of “Fight Club” sequel, because that’s the only way it could be. But sprung from suburban, nuclear family ennui? While I may respect the honesty of that choice for Jack and Marla, I wanted so much more from them (and you probably did, too), and it’s wrenching that their own creator still thinks they need the power of Tyler Durden to free them. (Also, Jack and Marla got married?) Yes, I am balking big-time at the use of the graphic novel medium to tell their story (though, admittedly, there is an artistic intensity in the book’s eventual film that could be well-suited for such a visual telling), but if we’re going to be saddled with a sequel to the book, I’d much rather get another straight-up novel from its author or a new film from its original team.
Honestly, though, I’d really just never love to see any kind of sequel to “Fight Club,” no matter what the format.
While Fight Club ultimately proved to be a huge boon to just about everyone involved with the project, its journey to the screen wasn’t an easy one. Maligned by a studio reader at 20th Century Fox, rejected by producers Lawrence Bender and Art Linson, and first considered a project for directors like Peter Jackson, Bryan Singer, and Danny Boyle, the project was eventually all but saved by Laura Ziskin (then head of Fox 2000). Ziskin bought the rights to the book from Palahniuk for a scant $10,000 (no matter how low that number seems, consider that the book was the author’s first published work and it wasn’t a hit in the slightest when it hit shelves in 1996). Director David Fincher had actually read the book and wanted to buy the rights for himself, and when he found out that Fox (a studio he had a difficult relationship with, post-Alien 3), he met with both Ziskin and studio head Bill Mechanic to smooth over rocky feelings and plead his case for the film. Of course, Fincher did direct the film – and it helped shape his career, along with the career of stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
Understandably, Fight Club the movie and “Fight Club” the book have become irrevocably linked, and in a way that’s rare when it comes to most adaptations these days. Fight Club wasn’t just a career-making cult classic for its cinematic talent, it was a coming out party for Palahniuk, the sort that introduced the author, his work, and his gut-busting worldview to legions of new fans. But part of that worldview is a freedom of imagination for an audience that, no matter how much they love the characters they met along the way, don’t need to have a hard-and-fast depiction of them years on that’s, frankly, really depressing. Especially with pictures that only illuminate the disappointment even their own creator must feel for them.
I’m dying to know – do you want to see a “Fight Club” graphic novel series? Would you want another type of sequel? Do you like what Palahniuk has planned for them?