The Major Tyler Durden Clue You May Have Missed Early In Fight Club

I know I'm not supposed to, but I'm going to talk about it. "Fight Club," that is — the movie directed by David Fincher that's based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk and beloved by angsty youths everywhere. It's a stellar ride of a movie, and if you've managed to make it this far in life without getting spoiled on the film's major plot twist, you've either been living in complete isolation for the past couple of decades, or you just don't get out much. Either way, I'm here to spoil some of the film's magic for you, clueing you in on some of the film's subtler hints towards the story's bigger picture. 

"Fight Club" tells the story of an unnamed narrator played by a delightfully meek Edward Norton. This narrator has hit rock bottom in his life. He no longer finds joy in the monotony of his days, and he actively despises the humdrum of his daily grind at a corporate office where he is at the mercy of his boss. He has terrible insomnia and tries to find relief from his lack of sleep by attending support groups for people suffering from illnesses which he truly does not have. Eventually, he meets a man named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who specializes in making and selling soap. Tyler is everything that the narrator is not. He is good looking and confident, and he has a knack for shaking things up. The two hit it off and decide to form a club for other men also suffering from the painful tedium of their daily lives. They call it Fight Club, and the sole purpose of the club is for men to get together and beat the ever living crap out of one another. The club takes off (it turns out lots of men just want to pummel faces), Tyler becomes a God-like figure, and the two men seem unstoppable in their desire to shake up the boring routine of everyone's lives. There's only one problem — and here is where I warn you: SPOILER! — Tyler isn't real. 

There are many clues throughout the film that clue the viewer in to the fact that Tyler is no more real than garden gnomes, chimeras, and the Loch Ness monster, but here is one major clue that, no matter how many times you've seen "Fight Club," you may have missed.  

Wait, Did I Just See That?

One of the fun things about "Fight Club" is the way it references itself throughout the film. Tyler and the narrator are always looking to stir things up, and one of their favorite things to do is to splice short bits of pornography into children's films that play at the local movie theater. The splices, which are performed by Tyler, are so insignificant that they only flash on the screen for a fraction of a second, leaving most audience members unconsciously aware of the image but unable to confirm whether they saw what their brain thinks they saw. It's a twisted form of subliminal messaging, that's for sure, and "Fight Club" even replicates this very practice by quickly flashing a penis on screen at the very end of the movie. Consider me Jack's look of surprise! 

But this isn't the only time things flash on screen. There are also at least four separate instances where Tyler Durden himself pops into a single frame even before the narrator meets Tyler for (not) real. Why is this significant, you ask? Well, it means that if you're observant enough to pick up on these quick Tyler moments during a first viewing, you could potentially figure out that Tyler is nothing more than the narrator's hallucination and not really a real person before the movie even reveals it to you! Good job! 

The moments where Tyler flashes are quick. As users on Reddit have pointed out, Tyler appears briefly at a support group meeting, a doctor's visit, on a sidewalk, and even at the narrator's own workplace. These moments are pretty "blink and you miss it" moments, so it's entirely possible that you may not have noticed some of these on a first or even second viewing. Still, for many "Fight Club" fans, this is old news. But, regardless of how "in the know" you are about these quick flickers of Tyler, there's no denying that they add to the movie's gritty, soapy vibe.