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20 Great Movie Moments Where the Hero Must Fight Their Own Duplicate

by Xtreme HD IPTV

The idea that the greatest enemy of some hero is themselves is a common trope in stories. It often reflects a part of the hero’s journey where deep self-reflection is necessary, so that the hero may understand themselves, conquer their last remaining fears or insecurities, and emerge out the other side ready to take on the villain and triumph. The situation is often used quite literally to display the more metaphorical act of the hero confronting their inner conflict.



For many protagonists, the most difficult person to fight and defeat is exactly like them — mimicking their moves, knowing their every step before they take it, and knowing their greatest flaws and weaknesses. This can often happen during a “pit of despair” moment before they conquer themselves in some form.

We have met the enemy, and he is us. — Pogo comic, 1971

This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the mirror version of the hero is a clone, an illusion, or not evil at all, resulting in a fight that is a result of confusion or miscommunication more than malice on anyone’s part. Other times, the “bizarro” version of the hero is not even portrayed as a foe — until it is too late. Here are 20 films where the protagonist must fight themselves, whether they want to or not.

Article contains spoilers

20 Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers Endgame poster

Avengers: Endgame

Release Date
April 24, 2019


This is one of the most iconic recent examples of heroes fighting themselves. Captain America has a hilarious, though short, scene fighting himself in Avengers: Endgame after he travels back in time to 2012 with the other Avengers, so that they can retrieve the Infinity Stone before Thanos gets it. While in the building, Captain America comes across his 2012 self who, understandably, thinks that this must be Loki impersonating him. 2023 Cap tries not to fight him, but the 2012 Captain is relentless, and won’t let him go.

Captain America (2012) vs. Captain America (2023): Who Won?

Avengers Endgame 2019 Chris Evans as Captain America fights himself
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Captain America (2012): “I can do this all day!”

Captain America (2023): “Yeah, I know, I know…”

Thus begins one of the more enjoyable fights of the film, though it is over quickly, because Cap doesn’t really have the time to either fight or explain what’s going on to his younger self. They are evenly matched, blow for blow. The older Captain America wins only because, trapped in a chokehold, he breathes out “Bucky is alive,” distracting the younger Cap just long enough for him to grab Loki’s scepter and knock the 2012 Captain unconscious.

19 Deadpool 2 (2018)

This is also a short example, but hilarious enough and meaningful enough to be mentioned on this list. Deadpool as a character was first infamously introduced to the silver screen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where the “Merc with a Mouth” was inexplicably shown with his mouth sewn shut, and consequently, no dialogue. Fans were severely disappointed, to say the least, as was actor Ryan Reynolds.

For years afterward, Reynolds worked tirelessly to get a standalone film made and do justice to the Deadpool character, and that finally happened in 2016. The sarcastic R-rated film was a massive success, spawning the sequel, Deadpool 2. And in a post-credits scene of that sequel, Reynolds let off a bit of steam concerning his feelings on the X-Men film.

Deadpool vs. Deadpool: Who Won?

Deadpool 2 2018 Deadpool kills previous Deadpool end credits scene
20th Century Fox

Deadpool: “Just cleaning up the timeline.”

It isn’t a fight, but it is Reynolds’ way of saying a firm farewell to the previous, insulting incarnation of Deadpool. And seeing how Deadpool is a character known for breaking the fourth wall, it felt right that he might go back and fix the “error” that was the Merc with No Mouth. Set to the tune of Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time,” Deadpool travels back in time and shoots the X-Men version in the head before the fight with Wolverine can even begin. As an added bonus, he takes out a version of Ryan Reynolds accepting the part of Green Lantern, too.

18 Superman III (1983)

Superman III

Superman III

Release Date
June 17, 1983

Richard Lester


Superman III wasn’t the worst of the four films Christopher Reeve made as the iconic hero, but it was definitely a let-down after the first two successful movies, and Reeve ended up regretting both the third and fourth installment in the series. The odd choice to include Richard Pryor, who was a big fan of the series, made the film feel scattered between its lackluster plot and the attempts at humor from Pryor’s character, Gus. The best part of the film, though, and certainly one of the best of the entire franchise (including today’s movies), is the fight between Clark Kent and Superman.

Related: Every Superman Movie, Ranked

Superman vs. Clark Kent: Who Won?

Superman III 1983 Christopher Reeve as Superman vs Clark Kent in scrapyard
Warner Bros.

Superman: “You’ve been on my nerves for a long time!”

After Gus gives Superman a disguised bit of flawed Kryptonite, Superman starts becoming a selfish and twisted version of himself, eventually having a psychological crisis which splits him into two: an evil version of Superman, and a good version of the mild-mannered Clark Kent.

They begin trading blows in a scrapyard, equally matched in power. The fight is a poignant example of the internal conflict Superman feels as a character. For him, Clark Kent is both a disguise and a longing; someone he sees as weak, but also an example of what he truly wants to be: human. When Kent wins, Superman disappears, and the hero is back to normal. Standing in his office clothes, he rips open his shirt to reveal the Superman “S,” in what is probably the best example of the iconic move there ever was.

17 Gemini Man (2019)

gemini man

Gemini Man

Release Date
October 2, 2019


The 2019 Ang Lee film Gemini Man was a difficult movie that sat in development hell for 20 years. That might explain why, despite some good performances and an interesting premise, the film was a box office bomb. The disorganized plot follows Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a spy who decides to retire from the service, but finds agents sent to kill him by his old boss, Clay. One of those agents looks just like Henry himself, though much younger, and Henry soon learns that the young agent, dubbed Junior, is a clone of him.

Henry Brogan vs. Junior: Who Won?

Gemini Man 2019 Will Smith as Henry Brogan points a gun at his younger self
Paramount Pictures

Clay: “He has to die. He’s your darkness you had to walk through on your own.”

Many of the entries on this list involve cloning in some way, which is probably the best way to scientifically explain a hero fighting their literal self. These examples also include the dynamic involved in Gemini Man: an older, more experienced hero fighting his younger, faster, stronger self. It is a great setup, but ends up being handled differently in this film. The two Henry Brogans fight until “Junior” learns he is a clone, after which he teams up with Henry to defeat the antagonists and destroy the cloning program.

16 Predestination (2014)

With a script based on a story by the famous sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, this admittedly confusing low-budget movie is surprisingly captivating, though it might require repeat watches to understand everything. The story follows an unnamed time-traveling agent played by Ethan Hawke, who is trying to stop the “Fizzle Bomber.” He fails and is burned badly, but goes on one last mission to 1970 where he meets John, a young man with a strange past. From there, different timelines and characters begin to intertwine in ways that prompt questions about destiny, and whether time really is just a strange loop after all.

The Agent vs. The Fizzle Bomber: Who Won?

Predestination 2014 Ethan Hawke as the time traveler and barkeep and John talking to himself
Pinnacle Films

The Fizzle Bomber: “If you shoot me, you’ll become me. You get it? That’s how it happens. If you want to break the chain, you have to not kill me, but try to love me again.”

With the kind of conclusion that this film has, it should have been impossible to execute. Yet somehow, thanks to some on-point writing and Hawke’s superb acting, the movie manages to pull it off. It is revealed that the unnamed agent is not only the younger John he meets in the past, but also the child that John, who was born a woman, had earlier, and the bomber he is chasing — and maybe his own boss, too. Hawke’s character shoots the bomber, killing him, and vows to never become him. But it’s unclear if this derails his fate or not.

15 Replicant (2001)

Screenshot 2024-02-23 11.59.34 PM

Replicant (2001)

Release Date
September 18, 2001

Ringo Lam

100 Minutes

Lawrence David Riggins , Les Weldon

This isn’t the only film where the underrated Jean-Claude Van Damme fights himself, but the direct-to-video film Replicant is a better example of Van Damme’s character fighting himself not as a twin, but as his actual self, cloned. In the hunt for the serial killer Edward “the Torch” Garrotte, a clone of Garrotte is made. Known as the Replicant, the clone can tap into genetic memories of Garrotte to help track him down, but Detective Jake Riley (Michael Rooker) doesn’t trust him. The Replicant is new to the world, with the mind of a child but the fighting skills of the killer.

Edward Garrotte vs. The Replicant: Who Won?

Replicant 2001 Jean Claude Van Damme fights himself roundhouse kick
Artisan Entertainment

Edward Garrotte: “My body is your body. My mind is your mind. My life is your life.”

It isn’t often that the protagonist is the clone, not the original. At first, the Replicant is hesitant to fight Garrotte, but by the end they are trading blows, matched so perfectly that their kicks and punches mirror each other. The fight is a perfect representation of what it would look like if Jean-Claude fought an exact clone of himself. The Replicant doesn’t end up killing Garrotte — he triumphs by not becoming a killer, instead.

14 Us (2019)



Release Date
March 14, 2019

120 min

Jordan Peele’s dive into psychological horror has shaken the genre up in refreshing ways, starting with his groundbreaking hit movie Get Out. Two years later, he released the ambitious film Us, which wasn’t as successful, but was still an undeniable cinematic hit. The plot follows the Wilson family, who are terrorized by a family that looks identical to them but with twisted and horrific personalities. Called the “Tethered,” these doppelgängers lived underground for decades, and now seek to kill their counterparts and take over their lives.

The Wilson Family vs. The Tethered: Who Won?

Us 2019 Jason and Pluto sitting across from each other
Universal Pictures

Red: “And to think, if it weren’t for you, I never would have danced at all.”

Each member of the Wilson family is separated at one point, and must confront their Tethered counterpart. The patriarch kills his animalistic doppelgänger Abraham, the daughter kills her copy, and the son Jason manages to cleverly trick his pyromaniac double.

However, after the mother, Adelaide, kills her clone named Red (the only Tethered who can speak), she remembers that she confronted Red as a child, and that Adelaide is the real clone. The ending reveals that the Tethered aren’t necessarily evil by default, but that living underground for decades, forced to mimic their counterparts and eat raw rabbit meat to survive, twisted the minds of the clones in terrible ways — and of Red too, who was never a clone. So, while Adelaide won, the real Adelaide lost.

13 Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys was the fifth film in the Terminator franchise, and served as a reboot to the story. Though two more movies and a spinoff TV series were planned, this film performed poorly enough that the rest was canceled. The reboot changes the events of the first film. This time, Kyle Reese creates a paradox during his trip to the past, so that when he arrives in 1984, Sarah Conner (Emilia Clarke) already knows about the dystopian future and has her own reprogrammed T-800 to protect her named “Pops” (with Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising the role). Together, Sarah and Kyle decide to travel to 2017 and stop Skynet.

Pops vs. the T-800: Who Won?

Terminator Genisys 2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger Pops fighting T-800
Paramount Pictures

Detective O’Brien: “G*dd*mn time-traveling robots!”

Certainly, much of the film is weighed down by a plot that was often described as convoluted, but the flagship moment of the movie was the fight between Pops and another T-800. Much like other entries on this list, the fight portrays the good, older Terminator fighting against an evil, younger version of himself. Pops has more experience, but this time it doesn’t matter. He would have lost this fight had Sarah not taken out the T-800 with a sniper rifle.

12 Oblivion (2013)



Release Date
April 10, 2013

Joseph Kosinski


Oblivion is Tom Cruise’s most underrated movie, and sits as proof (along with War of the Worlds and Minority Report) that Cruise can truly excel in the sci-fi genre. In a post-apocalyptic world, repair technician Jack and communications officer Victoria believe they are the only two humans left on a barren planet Earth. They believe humanity was killed off by the fallout from a nuclear war with aliens.

Jack repairs combat drones that battle any remaining aliens, while having dreams about an unknown woman from a life he doesn’t remember. When a pod from space crashes and reveals five humans aboard, including the woman from his dreams, Jack begins to realize that much of what he thought about the world might be wrong.

Related: Tom Cruise Has Seen Every Single Movie Released in Theaters

Jack vs. Jack: Who Won?

Oblivion 2013 Tom Cruise fighting himself in the desert
Universal Pictures

Jack Harper: “Is it possible to miss a place you’ve never been? To mourn a time you never lived?”

Jack learns that the woman is his wife, Julia, though he doesn’t remember her. While in the desert searching for the truth, Jack and Julia come across another clone of Jack, repairing a drone. They fight, and the first Jack wins, though Julia is shot. Jack later learns that thousands of clones of him were made, all based on NASA mission commander Jack Harper. The clones and a machine intelligence were responsible for destroying the Earth. The original Jack destroys the machine and dies in the process, but the clone that he fought in the desert shows up at the end with other survivors.

11 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Co-written, produced, and directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a stylish success, managing to be funny, artistic, and meaningful despite leaning on some problematic and overused tropes (like the manic pixie dream girl). In the story, 22-year-old musician Scott Pilgrim meets Ramona Flowers and instantly decides to pursue her, even though he has a girlfriend already. But he soon learns he must defeat her “seven evil exes” in order to date her. The style of each battle is highly artistic, reminiscent of a Mortal Kombat fight.

Scott Pilgrim vs. Nega-Scott: Who Won?

Scott Pilgrim vs the World 2010 Scott Pilgrim vs Nega Scott
Universal Pictures

Gideon: “You defeated me, but can you defeat… yourself?”

Also like Mortal Kombat, Scott’s final battle isn’t actually the 7th ex Gideon, it’s “Nega-Scott,” an evil version of himself — or so it seems. In a funny subversion of the trope, Scott befriends Nega-Scott instead. The two agree to get brunch together soon, showing that Scott has reconciled his inner turmoil by this point.

10 Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

The irreverent Bill and Ted franchise kickstarted the career of Keanu Reeves, though it left him with a “surfer dude” vibe that he struggled to shake off for years afterward. The sequel film Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey was panned upon release by critics and fans alike, and was considered an unnecessary attempt to capitalize on the success of the first movie. Appreciation for this sequel has increased since then, and it is considered more loved than hated now.

The plot starts with a utopian society created by the Wyld Stallyns’ world-changing music. A disgruntled gym teacher in the future sends evil robot versions of the duo back in time who kill Bill and Ted, then take over their lives to ruin them. The souls of the excellent duo encounter Death, defeat him, and then work with him to get back to the real world and take their lives back.

Bill and Ted vs. Evil Bill and Evil Ted: Who Won?

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
Orion Pictures

Ted: “We gotta stop those evil us’s!”

The evil robot versions of Bill and Ted easily defeat and kill their human counterparts. The only way the duo end up beating them when they come back to Earth is by getting their own version of good Bill and Ted robots who destroy the evil ones, making way for Bill and Ted to take the stage at the Battle of the Bands, finally get their big break, and save the future.

9 Logan (2017)

The 2017 film Logan is easily the best of the entire X-Men franchise, and has even been hailed as among the greatest superhero movies ever made. The story takes a deep and emotionally moving look into the character of Wolverine (aka Logan) in the twilight years of his life. The year is 2029, no mutants have been born in two decades, and the older Wolverine’s healing ability is failing. He is given the mission to escort a nurse and a young girl to a haven in Canada, but when the nurse is killed, he finds himself protecting the girl he comes to learn is his “daughter,” created using his DNA and sharing his powers​​​

Logan vs. X-24: Who Won?

Logan 2017 Wolverine vs X-24 fighting
20th Century Fox

Logan: “Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”

In pursuit of Laura, the corporation Transigen unleashes their ultimate weapon: a mindless clone of Logan, young and in his prime. The elder, weaker, but more experienced Logan fights his younger self in a brutal and fantastic battle. Logan is clearly outmatched, and only gets away when a farmer crushes X-24 with a truck — but not before X-24 kills Charles Xavier.

Later, the clone catches up to them again, and the rematch begins. X-24 overpowers Logan once again, fatally wounding him before Laura uses a special adamantium bullet to kill the clone. Logan dies in her arms, the last of the X-Men.

8 The One (2001)

The One

The One

Release Date
November 2, 2001

87 Minutes

Released in 2001, the James Wong film The Oneexplored the idea of the multiverse long before the current trend of it today. The borrowed sci-fi tropes, questionable music choices, and distracting editing overshadowed Jet Li’s martial arts skills, but the movie remains underrated among Li’s filmography and has developed a cult following since its release.

The story starts with the rogue agent Gabriel Yulaw, who worked for the MultiVerse Authority (MVA) policing interdimensional travel. Yulaw believes that if he kills every other version of himself, he will become an all-powerful being called “The One.” The last alternate version is Gabe Law, a sheriff who notices he is becoming stronger and faster just as Yulaw begins to pursue him.

Gabe Law vs. Gabriel Yulaw: Who Won?

The One Jet Li
Sony Pictures Releasing

Gabriel Yulaw: “You call it murder. How can I murder myself 123 times?”

The martial arts in the film is classic for the era, and the special effects are not as bad as criticisms claimed even at the time. The fights between Yulaw and Law make up the heart of the sci-fi story. First, Yulaw is the better fighter. But Gabe is much more motivated, and catches up fast. He defeats Yulaw after an intense battle, but stops before the killing blow. Yulaw is captured and sent to a prison planet, and Gabe is given a chance at a new life.

7 Army of Darkness (1992)

Undoubtedly the campiest, most irreverent, and funniest film in the Evil Dead franchise, Army of Darkness is a riotous adventure with non-stop quotable lines and a flare for the insane. Raimi always had a fantastic way of blending horror and comedy in these films, somehow using the comedy to elevate the horror (and vice versa), and this movie is peak Raimi. The story finds Ash in the Middle Ages searching for the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an evil book that may be able to send him back home.

Ash vs. Bad Ash: Who Wins?

Ash vs Bad Ash
Universal Pictures

Ash: “Good, bad — I’m the guy with the gun.”

Along the way, Ash crashes into a strange mirror, breaking it. Tiny reflections of Ash emerge from each shard, and a life-sized version grows out of his own body. The hilarious copies of Ash are as evil as they are funny, and he struggles to fight them, especially the large copy dubbed “Bad Ash,” who constantly mocks him. While he defeats Bad Ash at first, the creature rises from the dead and comes back for him at the end of the film. Ash succeeds in blowing up his evil counterpart before he returns home.

6 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The sequel series of Star Wars is controversial to say the least, and the final film in the trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker, was the least successful of the three films. It did do some things right, but the series overall had several issues, due in part to having too many conflicting views rather than a unified direction.

The story is the culmination of Rey’s journey to defeat the First Order, as well as Kylo Ren’s compelling redemption arc. Part of Rey’s journey involves traveling to the wreckage of the second Death Star to find a Sith wayfinder, which will let her locate Palpatine.

Rey Vs. Dark Rey: Who Wins?

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker 2019 Rey vs Dark Rey
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Dark Rey: “Don’t be afraid of who you are.”

When Rey picks up the wayfinder, a Sith version of herself appears, carrying a red double-bladed lightsaber. They fight very briefly before Rey is knocked back, and the wayfinder goes flying — landing at the feet of Kylo Ren. This kickstarts the most epic fight in the sequel trilogy between Rey and Kylo, as they both struggle with conflicting emotions regarding their allegiances, their goals, and each other. The vision of Dark Rey is meant to be both a foreshadowing of Rey’s revealed bloodline as a Palpatine, and a reflection of her doubts about herself.

5 Looper (2012)



Release Date
September 26, 2012


In the future, it is almost impossible to murder anyone and get away with it. Instead, criminal organizations use time travel to send victims back in time, where assassins can murder the person in question more easily. And because the assassin can’t be associated with the criminals in the future, eventually their older self is sent back for elimination.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Looper followed his box office bomb, The Brothers Bloom, and was much more successful, ultimately leading to his later involvement in the Star Wars sequels. Looper was indeed a hit with audiences and most critics, which was a surprise considering both the sci-fi premise and the difficulties portraying time travel without confusing that audience.

Joe vs. Old Joe: Who Won?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, wearing a dark brown lighet, with Bruce Willis as Old Joe wearing a light brown jacket as the two are in a diner, and Old Joe points a pistol at someone off screen while Joe is in a chokehold in Looper
TriStar Pictures

Joe: “The only rule is: never let your target escape… even if your target is you.”

This time, the experience that the older person has trumps the younger one, and “Old Joe” escapes, outsmarts, or overpowers his younger self. The movie sees Joe hunting down his older self before he can kill the “Rainmaker,” a future villain who murdered Old Joe’s wife.

In the final moments of the film, Joe realizes that the young child who becomes the Rainmaker is traumatized by Old Joe killing his mother. Joe swiftly puts the gun to his own head, killing himself and Old Joe at the same time, and potentially preventing the young child from becoming the Rainmaker.

4 The Island (2005)

There are surprisingly few giant explosions in the Michael Bay filmThe Island, which is a thrilling and enjoyable sci-fi popcorn flick. Starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, The Island starts with protagonists Lincoln Six-Echo and Jordan Two-Delta living in a dystopian compound, being told that the outside world is uninhabitable. Lincoln learns one day that this isn’t true and escapes with Jordan, only to discover that they are clones kept alive to be used for extra organs or as surrogates for celebrities. Together, they work to destroy the compound and end the immoral cloning project.

Lincoln Six-Echo vs. Tom Lincoln: Who Wins?

The Island 2005 Ewan McGregor as Tom Lincoln and the clone gun scene vs himself
DreamWorks Distribution LLC

Lincoln Six-Echo: “Thanks for doing this.”

Tom Lincoln: “That’s all right. I’d like to think you’d do the same thing if you were me.”

Lincoln gets in touch with his real counterpart, Tom Lincoln, who seems to be on the side of the clones at first. But he tricks them and turns them in to the villains, because he has late-stage cirrhosis and desperately needs the clone’s liver. But Lincoln Six-Echo manages to convince the bad guys that he is Tom, and they shoot the real Tom instead. Taking over the original’s life, Lincoln and Jordan return to the island to expose the truth to the remaining clones and free them.

3 Revolver (2005)



Release Date
September 11, 2005


Revolver is one of Guy Ritchie’s more underrated films, especially because it was a mess of an execution. There are three different versions, including Ritchie’s Director’s Cut. Audiences had trouble with the film, either not understanding it or thinking the film was too pretentious. Ritchie certainly aimed high with the concept; whether he succeeded or not is up to the viewer and how the movie hits them.

The story follows Jake Green (Jason Statham), a gangster who is released from a seven-year stint in prison and seeks revenge on the mob boss, Macha (Ray Liotta), for getting him put behind bars. He goads Macha into wanting him dead, but gets derailed in his plans by Avi and Zach, two men employed by “Mr. Gold” who offer Jake protection if he works for them, no questions asked.

Related: How Guy Ritchie Is Killing It in 2023

Jake Green vs. Jake’s Ego: Who Wins?

Revolver Jake pointing his hand shaped as a gun at himself
Redbus Film Distribution

Jake Green: “The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look.”

Revolver is a philosophical film exploring the nature of the ego, and how it is the most difficult enemy most people don’t even know about. As one of the best examples of the hero fighting themselves on this list, both Jake and Macha struggle with their ego, driven by their fear or desires, not knowing that their real enemy is themselves. Jake learns this in a final confrontation with the embodiment of his fear.

He gets trapped in an elevator and confronts his ego as a replica of himself. He realizes he can’t kill the ego, run from it, or even fight it anymore. He simply becomes patient and accepts the situation, which ultimately defeats his ego in the end, leaving him the victor without even fighting. Similarly to this, he defeats Macha as well by no longer fighting or being afraid of him.

2 Fight Club (1999)

fight club

Fight Club

Release Date
October 15, 1999


Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club was an instant hit when it was released in 1999. Considered David Fincher’s masterpiece, the movie may not have aged particularly well, but it is largely misunderstood and often celebrated for all the wrong reasons. The plot follows Edward Norton’s character, the unnamed Narrator of the film, who meets the eccentric and sociopathic Tyler Durden.

Tyler and the Narrator start a “fight club” where men can meet underground and trade blows to let out their pent-up rage at society. They soon recruit some of these men into a core group which aids Tyler in his mission to move from vandalism to acts of terrorism. The Narrator realizes that he must stop Tyler around the time that he also realizes he is Tyler.

The Narrator vs. Tyler Durden: Who Wins?

Fight Club 1999 Edward Norton as the Narrator and Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden
20th Century Fox

Narrator: “Is Tyler my bad dream? Or am I Tyler’s?”

The reveal at the end of this film changes many scenes that came before it, including scenes with the love interest Marla, and moments where Tyler and the Narrator are arguing or physically fighting. Ultimately, the film is a commentary on society, but it is often seen these days as if the story celebrates Tyler when the opposite is true. The Narrator realizes that Tyler is an expression of his own rage at society, but that his actions are wrong even if his anger is justified. He tries to stop Tyler, but by then it is already too late.

1 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

One of the most classic examples of the hero fighting himself is the story of Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of Star Wars, which remains the best trilogy in the franchise. Luke follows Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey beat for beat, as George Lucas was highly influenced by Campbell’s notion of the monomyth. Luke answers the call to adventure, is aided by a wise mentor, descends into the pit of despair, and comes out the other side stronger and finally able to face his father, Darth Vader.

Luke vs. Luke: Who Wins?

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Luke on Dagobah fighting himself
20th Century-Fox

Yoda: “A domain of evil, it is. In, you must go.”

Luke: “What’s in there?”

Yoda: “Only what you take with you.”

While training with Yoda on Dagobah, Luke struggles with his own inner doubt, insecurity, and fear. He is instructed at one point to enter the Cave of Evil (as it’s later called), and comes across the apparition of Darth Vader, breathing in his iconic mechanical way. Luke cuts him down, only for Vader’s head to roll off and reveal Luke’s own face within the helmet, staring back at him.

This isn’t explained, but it doesn’t need to be. Luke’s entire time on Dagobah involves Yoda telling him to let go of his fear and trust himself. Instead, Luke leaves his training early to help his friends — a mistake that brings him to his lowest point in his journey before the third film.

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