The Breakfast Club

It’s been more than thirty years since that fateful day in 1984, and the original members of the club are now pushing 50. These are the long, strange trips they’ve had.

Brian Johnson is the most prominently successful of the group. The kid who took such pleasure in writing an essay in detention, and whose fierce insistence on treating people with the respect they deserved surprised the others with its intensity realised, in the end, that he wanted to tell the truth. He’s now a journalist specialising in long-form pieces and the occasional book on popular science and the like – a rival to the Malcolm Gladwells and Douglas Rushkoffs of the world. More than any other member of the club, he’s succeeded in staying friends with all the others. Brian finds, even now, that his mental pursuits are more satisfying than romantic entanglements, although he has a long-standing friendship with benefits with his agent.

Andrew Clark eventually realised that wrestling was not for him. At a high school or college level, where it was a sport, it was fine. But growing up in the era of Hulkamania soured him on the sport (especially once Brian explained the meaning of the word “kayfabe” to him), and in his senior year, he switched to football, where he was successful enough as an offensive tackle (usually a left tackle) to get a college scholarship. He and Alison broke up at that point with no real hard feelings on either side – she understoof better than him that they couldn’t maintain a long distance relationship; after some initial bitterness at being dumped, Andy was quick to discover the many romantic and sexual possibilities being a college freshman offered. Partying and injuries took their toll on his athletic performance, and he washed out of college in the end. His father never let him hear the end of it, and Andy eventually moved out to the west coast to get away from him. After accompanying a nervous friend to an audition one day and getting the part himself, he found a new career as a voice actor. He makes enough to support his wife and kids, and is very careful not to pressure the little ones about their futures.

Claire Standish found her world turned upside down when her parents finally did divorce – the week after she went away to college. With no clear idea of what she wanted to do in life, other than not be like her parents, Claire drifted into political activism and studied the humanities. After her degree, she transferred colleges to pursue postgraduate study. When she completed a PhD in History, she went on to work as a volunteer anywhere she felt she could be useful, and finally learned how important money can be when you don’t have any of it. Today, she is the chief financial officer of Human Aid International, a global charity dedicated to improving health and education in third world nations. She doesn’t see her partner very often, but when they do get together, it’s as passionate as ever.

Alison Reynolds, perhaps more than any of the others, found her life changed by the events of March 24, 1984. She’d never really had friends before, and although her first few months trying to were rocky at times, she learned quickly. Being more connected to her cohort also helped her grades along – in geography, she discovered what would become her abiding passion in life: the study of tectonics. At college, she would likely have sunk back into her old ways had not her roommate dragged her along to social events until she made friends. Alison studied hard and good grades, but didn’t see a need for more than the occasional one night stand. But that all changed when she and Claire were reunited. Without either of them really planning it, the pair fell into a relationship with each other, and as of 2015, are married. Alison’s parents used this as an excuse to refuse to speak to her at all.

John Bender, to his own surprise, ended up becoming good friends with Brian after the two partnered on a group assignment in Shop class. They became study buddies, and even hung out occasionally. In 1987, they attended a screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Claire refused to come along, and the argument about the film eventually led to their break-up), and a joking observation by Brian that if Bender had been a member of that group, Freddie would have been annihilated by their scornful laughter got him thinking. Bender realised that not only would he not wish his shitty life on anyone else, he’d also like to help other people deal with theirs. With the support of the rest of the gang, he studied hard and scraped into a local college. Here, he studied psychology, intending to become an encounter group therapist. He is credited with having helped several members of the so-called “fight clubs”, a domestic terrorist organisation, return to normal, happy lives.

Carl Reid took a long look at how twisted Principal Vernon had become, and decided that he wanted more out of life. He went back to school, doing night classes to qualify as a real estate agent. He now works at the same firm as Katie Bueller.

Dick Vernon was found dead in his office in 1993. He had slashed his wrists. His suicide note blamed the ingratitude of his students.

Stephen King’s It

Patty Uris was devastated by the suicide of her husband, but discovered in herself a certain steely pragmatism. Although she did sell off most of the business Stan built, she remains a silent partner in it, from which she draws an income sufficient to her needs. She lived by herself, alone but rarely lonely, a few blocks from her parents’ house in New York.

Myra Kaspbrak fared less well. Never particularly good at looking out for herself, she died of a heart attack exacerbated by her obesity a few years later.

Kay McCall eventually recovered, physically and emotionally, from her ordeal at the hands of Tom Rogan. Her experience led her to be a little more understanding of people in general and women in particular, and her later feminist writings were both more deeply felt and more deeply considered than her more youthful work. Unfortunately, the timing of them meant that they were usually seen as late second wave feminism rather than third wave feminism (of which they were in many ways a precursor, especially regarding the intersections of class and gender).

Tom Rogan, as predicted, was never found again. His movements were eventually traced to Derry, where he was presumed to have died in the flooding. He was not missed, or even much remembered, by his widow.

Mike Hanlon was the first the remaining Losers to die, but don’t feel too bad for him. He was among those who left Derry in the wake of the destruction of 1985. He moved to New York City, and returned to the trombone playing he had so loved in his youth. He never made it big, but he was a fixture in a number of house bands over the years, and died on September 10, 2001 surrounded by the friends he had made among the music-loving community of the city.

Ben Hanscom and Beverly Marsh never did tie the knot. They did, however, raise three lovely children, the youngest of whom starts college next year. Both of them continued to work in their chosen professions over the years, but less and less often, as their interest in the new family they were creating became their major priority in life – and it wasn’t like either of them needed to work for money in any case. The Hanscom children – Beverly being only too happy to let her father’s name die away – are Edward, Stanley and Arlene.

Bill Denborough and Audra Phillips did indeed find it difficult to get work in the movies after their abrupt departure from the set of their film. They survived on royalties and residuals for a few years, until Bill completed his next novel, the first part of what grew to be a epic eight volume series entitled The Wheel Unbroken. By the end of the first decade of the new century, Audra was back in the public eye as one of HBO’s favourite actors. It has recently been announced that she will be joining Game of Thrones in its final season, and fan speculation is mounting over what character she will play.

Richie Tozier returned to LA, but the life of a DJ seemed increasingly stale to him. Fortunately, having already voiced many an ad-spot, he found it easy to move into voice acting, and became one of the stalwarts of the scene. Fan polls disagree over whether he or Mark Hamill did a better Joker, but rarely by more than a percentage point or two – and in 2014, ‘Trashmouth’ played what many regard as his definitive role for the first time, when he voiced Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.


So, after five crazy years of the wildest ride in comics or science fiction journalism, our heroes – and for that matter, our villains – have been out of the game for another five years. So, where are they now?

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Piano Man

The Old Man died in 1979. His wake was held at the bar, and Bill played “Danny Boy” to close it out. It was the last song he ever played there.

John at the bar was wrong – he couldn’t be a movie star. However, a night helping cover for a certain piano player when he had a sore throat revealed a previously unknown talent – John was a really good singer. He never made it big on the pop charts, but he did make it big on Broadway throughout the Eighties and Nineties, eventually becoming a mentor figure to the likes of Neil Patrick Harris and Lin-Manual Miranda.

Paul the real estate novelist finally finished his great American novel in 1997. So far, 15 publishers have passed on it – although SyFy has expressed an interest in adapting it for television.

Davy did stay in the Navy for life. He served with distinction, rising the rank of Lieutenant before he retired in 2009. He wrote a well-regarded book on tactics of submarine warfare in the 21st century, and occasionally pops up as a military expert talking head on cable tv.

The Waitress stopped practising politics and got serious about it. In 1982, she was elected to her municipal council, and in 1992, she rode Bill Clinton’s coat tails into a congressional seat that she held until 2016. After the end of her political career, she sat down to write her memoirs, but discovered that she greatly preferred writing children’s books (which were also – mostly – less controversial).

The Businessmen are mostly retired or dead of cocaine overdoses now, but their successors can be found in the same bar, at the same time, doing the same things.

Bill became a high school music teacher in Shermer, Illinois.

…and the piano sounds like a piano, and the microphone smells like a microphone.


You remember Hackers, right? A film with laughably stupid conceptions of computing and the (at that time) nascent internet, but also with fun characters and wonderfully quotable dialogue?

So, after the Plague was sent to prison, and the charges against our heroes were dropped, what then?
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Inglourious Basterds

Man, it’s hard to write an introduction to this one without spoiling large portions of the film. Never mind. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand why this particular “Where are they now?” is a little different from the others. And if you haven’t, you should. It’s Tarrantino’s best film to date.
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