The Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Novel Gives A Shocking Answer To Fans' Biggest Question

Two years after the release of the film, writer-director Quentin Tarantino has just released a novelization of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Set in 1969 Hollywood, the film follows actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a washed-up Hollywood star who is now struggling to find interesting work and spending most of his time hanging out with his stunt double (and best friend) Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). When upcoming director Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha) and his actor wife Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) move in next door to Dalton, he begins to cozy up to them as a means of reviving his fading career.

Anyone who has seen the film knows that it covers a lot of ground. Between Dalton's and Booth's individual storylines, encounters with the Manson family, and attention paid to Tate and her short-lived career, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is somewhat of a sprawling epic. And while many of the moving pieces come together in the — surprising — end, there's still one question moviegoers were left with: Did Booth kill his wife or not?

Spoilers ahead.

Cliff Booth killed his wife, among others

Many speculated that the stuntman is responsible for killing his own wife, Billie (portrayed briefly in the film by Rebecca Gayheart). The rumor leads to Booth having difficulty finding stunt work (other than with Dalton). The question of whether or not he killed Billie comes up again and again. In an interaction with Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Lee remarks that Booth "killed his wife and got away with it." Still, Booth murdering his wife is never shown on screen, and the truth is left up to the viewer's interpretation.

However, the recently released "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" novel reveals the truth of the matter: Booth did kill his wife — and others. The reveal comes in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment: "This wasn't the first time Cliff committed murder and got away with it. The first time was in Cleveland in the fifties. The second time was when Cliff killed his wife two years earlier. This was the third time, and Cliff got away with this one too" (via IndieWire).

Later in the novel, Billie's death is described with more detail, and it's revealed that Booth shot Billie with a shark gun, cutting her torso in half. He claims it was an unplanned reaction of pure rage, rather than a premeditated murder. Tarantino writes, "It was practically the accident he claimed it was. One, it was a hair trigger. Two, it was more instinct than a decision. Three, was it a pull, or was it closer to a twitch? Four, it wasn't like anybody was gonna miss Billie Booth."

With the answer to this major question revealed, fans can now rewatch "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" with this new information about Booth in their minds.