The Killer’s Ending Explained

Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Killer




  • The killer spares Claybourne’s life to make him pay a debt, ensure his silence and compliance during the future hitman’s retirement, and prevent any further assassination attempts.
  • The joke about the bear and the hunter reflects the killer’s uncertain commitment to his role as an assassin, as he enjoys hunting but tires of killing.
  • The use of 1970s sitcom characters as aliases suggests that The Killer is not as intelligent or subtle as he believes, with his first failed job having been revealed.

That of David Fincher The killer ends with less noise and more quiet retreat on the beach. Based on the French graphic novel by writer Alexis “Matz” Nolent and artist Luc Jacamon, The killer sees Michael Fassbender’s main character, who remains anonymous throughout the film, finally find the man who took a hard hit on him. The killer wanted revenge and managed to kill all the assassins, including his own master, who targeted him and his girlfriend, Magdala, after a hit gone wrong. Fassbender’s Killer finds Claybourne, a billionaire businessman, and clones his access card to enter his home.

The killer and Claybourne discuss the events that ultimately led the former to go to the hedge fund manager. The killer asks Claybourne if he hired the killer for revenge, but Claybourne reveals that he is new to the assassin recruiting business. Claybourne says he has nothing personal against Fassbender’s character, believing the hit on him was simply insurance to explain why The Killer missed. The killer ultimately decides to let Claybourne live, although he threatens to kill the billionaire if he even considers throwing another punch at him. The Killer then returns to the Dominican Republic, retiring to a lovely beach with Magdala.

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Hodges & Claybourne’s Plan Against Michael Fassbender’s The Killer Explained

the killer movie netflix

Hodges, a lawyer and assassin handler, was unhappy that The Killer had missed his shot on target in Paris. Unbeknownst to him at the time, Hodges released a hit on The Killer despite their history of working together. Hodges put the plan into action, but ultimately it was Claybourne who felt he needed to tie up the loose ends since The Killer hadn’t actually completed the job he was hired to do. Claybourne and Hodges wanted The Killer to pay for his lack of attentionand for also putting him in danger.

Keeping the assassin alive put them both in danger, especially since he knew too much about his job and the target was now aware of the blow to him. Hodges probably thought The Killer was a liability, and so telling Claybourne that they needed to tie up loose ends to avoid having something attributed to them was the most ideal course of action. Hodges was also very embarrassed by The Killer’s mistake as it directly affected his reputation.indicating that the blow to the Killer could have been somewhat personal between the two.

The real reason the killer doesn’t kill Claybourne

The killer murdered everyone involved in the plot to kill him. – from other assassins to a taxi driver – but he kept Claybourne alive. It is possible that The Killer did not kill Claybourne because he was hesitant about committing himself as an assassin. His dedication was questioned and, despite his thoroughness in carrying out his job, The Killer missed his mark. But his hesitation to kill Claybourne has less to do with no longer wanting to do his job and more to do with leaving a billionaire in debt. Despite his wealth and resources, Claybourne appears somewhat pathetic, dressing like a younger version of himself and clinging to the materials and status symbols of the “cryptobro” archetype.

Killing Claybourne would have silenced him for good, but it could be that the assassin wanted to keep him alive so that Claybourne would feel like he owed the killer something. With everyone else killed, Claybourne no longer has any connection to the job The Killer botched in Paris. What else, Claybourne will now live in fear that The Killer will come after him if he steps out of line. This prompts the billionaire to keep silent about The Killer’s hit. Likewise, it reassures the assassin knowing that Claybourne will not dare make the same mistake again. Killing Claybourne would have been excessive and would have proven the Expert’s point with his allegory of the bear and the hunter.

David Fincher told GQ that Claybourne posed no direct threat to the killer, which is why the public didn’t get his “revenge solution.”

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Expert’s Joke About the Bear and the Hunter Explained

the killer tilda swinton bear hunter joke

When Tilda Swinton’s The Expert realizes that The Killer is out to murder him, she tells him a joke about a bear and the hunter who comes to kill it, but doesn’t succeed. The story is about The Expert questioning The Killer’s dedication to being an assassin. The killer is the hunter who does not want to kill the bear, no matter how many times he encounters the creature. Basically, the Expert joke is about the thrill of the hunt rather than the kill. The hunter in the joke enjoys the game of cat and mouse with the bear, but also gets tired of killing it.

Of course, The expert also buys himself more time before The Killer does what he came to do. In this case, she is the bear and The Killer is the hunter. She wonders if the assassin’s heart is really in it, but she also doesn’t want to die despite her resignation to her fate. The Killer, like the hunter, seems to enjoy the hunt, but his head is no longer in the game like it once was. The joke of the bear and the hunter is ultimately the summary of David Fincher’s film and the existential crisis that the main character is going through.

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the killer Michael Fassbender

Although he is never mentioned by his real name, The Killer uses fake IDs throughout the film – travel, rent cars and stay off the grid. What’s unique is The Assassin’s use of characters from 1970s sitcoms. Archie Bunker’s All in the familyGeorge Jefferson The Jeffersonsand Sam Malone of Cheers were among the many aliases used by The Killer to move from one location to another.

Felix Unger and Oscar Madison The odd couple are also pseudonyms used in The killer.

It’s unclear why the assassin chose these particular names, but it suggests he’s not as intelligent as his inner monologue suggests. After all, he fails to land his first job, which becomes a problem he won’t be able to escape later. The killer is much more obvious than he believes, even though he spends a lot of time explaining to the audience about blending in and not standing out. It’s also possible that the use of characters from 70s sitcoms is a nod to The Killer Volume 1 setting, which would take place at the same time when Sam Malone and others were staples of American television.

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What’s Happening Next to the Killer Based on the Comics

the killer Michael Fassbender

The killer the graphic novel has several volumes and Fincher’s film is primarily based on the first one. While Michael Fassbender’s character goes to the Dominican Republic to retire after killing almost everyone involved in his assassination, he comes out of retirement in the comics. In The Killer Vol. 4: Unfair competitionThe Killer is drawn into a plan to exploit Cuban oil.

In The Killer 3: Modus Vivendi, he is hired to kill a banker and an oil broker, but suspects there is more than meets the eye. After four years of retirement, The Killer has a wife and a son, but that doesn’t stop him from returning to work. So while The Killer seems content to be retired in the film, he is never quite at rest in the graphic novels.

How The Killer’s retirement and ending prepare for The Killer 2

Michael Fassbender's anonymous killer sitting cross-legged on the floor in a workroom in The Killer

The killers The ending might see Fassbender’s hitman retire, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stay there for very long. It is possible that he will eventually grow tired or bored of not having much to do and decide to take another job as a hitman. The graphic novels the film is based on have a lot more story to tell, and they could see The Killer embroiled in a geopolitical conspiracy. What else, The killer keeping Claybourne alive suggests he could return The Killer 2. He might need the assassin’s services, perhaps for another hit. Fincher replied The Killer 2 chances after the success of the film, suggesting that he is open to the possibility.

Whatever the reason, it’s rare for an assassin to stay retired for long. Just look at Joh wick — if several sequels can be drawn from its story, then the same can be done with The killer. His story doesn’t end with retirement, and he surely made someone else angry or was lured into another contract job. The next time he tries to kill, it could have even more consequences than in the first film. At the time of writing these lines, The Killer 2 hasn’t been given the green light, so it remains unclear whether a sequel will happen.

Source: GQ

  • The Killer movie poster

    The Killer (2023)

    Release date:

    David Fincher

    Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Kerry O’Malley, Charles Parnell, Lacey Dover, Monique Ganderton, Sala Baker


    118 minutes

    Action, Adventure, Crime

    Andrew Kevin Walker

    Story by:
    Alexis Nolent, Luc Jacamon

    Plan B Entertainment, Boom! Workshops


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