If you've ever had a late-night fantasy about Brad Pitt that got just a little out of hand (and c'mon, who among us hasn't?), then you're already halfway to understanding how the nameless, sleepless Narrator played by Edward Norton managed to first invent and then become the legend known as Tyler Durden. Tyler isn't real; he's the human embodiment of a frustrated corporate consumerist drone's desperate yearning to opt out of—if not utterly destroy—the system.
If Fight Club were shot from a third-person perspective, it would be the story of a mentally unbalanced man leading a bizarre double life as an office worker by day and a charismatic cult leader by night, battling the dark impulses that he eventually succumbs to. But thanks to the movie's entirely unreliable first-person narrative, we see Tyler like the Narrator sees Tyler, as a charming, red leather-jacket-clad nihilist whose whole schtick is totally #lifegoals. To quote the man himself, "All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I f*** like you wanna f***, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not."
Tyler refers to himself at one point as the Narrator's "imaginary friend"—but really, he's more like a hallucinatory hitman, hired by the protagonist's subconscious to blow up his life…and a few other things.