Chekhov's Gun Discussion!

Chekhov’s Gun is one of the most important and most interesting skills to talk about in terms of writing. Every writer should have at least some understanding of this literary technique because a story can immediately just run so much smoother when it’s in use. For more understanding of what the technique actually is, Shannii has a wonderful post on the subject!

But what I want to talk about here are some examples of Chekhov’s Gun in media! Our favourites, what we think the most effective are, or even examples in our own work!

My personal favourite example of a story making good use of Chekhov’s Gun is Edgar Wright’s fantastic Hot Fuzz starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! The whole beginning of Hot Fuzz, apart from being fantastic and hilarious, serves the purpose of building up ideas. Jokes are built up in almost every single scene, usually as single line jokes or gags. Like an old woman doing a crossword, or Nick Frost’s character using a ketchup sachet to pretend to stab himself in the eye.

Where it really pays off is in the third act of the film. The final half-hour is the payoff to all of this build-up, and it is glorious Every single idea, every single joke is built upon, every single plot thread is tied up and every single character arc ends magnificently, all while showing that the best part about being a police officer is staying humble. Something action films always tend to overlook, and which is also an idea set up very early in the film.

In my opinion if you haven’t seen Hot Fuzz, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try!

So what do you all think of this fantastic literary technique? Let’s chat! I have ways that I use it in my own work, but I’d love to hear other people’s favourite examples! Or maybe some stories that are in sore need of their ideas being set up beforehand! :smile:


Another way to use Chekov’s Gun is to make a reveal all the more spectacular! Let us never forget this scene:

tenor (9)

Nobody can pick up Thor’s hammer? Well, screw you, because now Cap can. And let’s not overlook this scene in AoU:


See how it just barely creaks? I love Marvel, if you couldn’t tell



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The movie is so amazing and the way all the stuff gets tied up at the end gives it one of my favourite movie endings ever. I want to see more stuff like this and more good use of Chekhov’s gun.


I’d recommend anything else by Edgar Wright tbh. Even his adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs the World is top-notch fantastic with recurring ideas and no wasted space or energy.

That’s the whole point of Chekhov’s Gun actually. It isn’t just that you make sure to set something up beforehand, it’s working forward too. That you make sure to use everything you’ve already set up. This includes characters, scenes, ideas and even themes


What stories have you seen that use Chekov’s Gun well? What stories have you seen that use it badly?
Do you think that Chekov’s Gun is important?



Not in a story but one of my favourite anime seems to have this.




I think, yes. Chekhov’s gun is important.

Chekhov’s gun is a fun tool, but… It tends to be quite predictable. Also, I found that some readers try to actually look for Chekhov’s guns in the story - which detracts them from actually enjoying it :sweat_smile:

As far as writing goes, I’m a bigger fan of Chekhov’s armoury. Why have just one gun when you can have a room full of guns? :^) Chekhov’s armoury is a situation in which every element presented in a story is relevant somehow. A big part of the suspense is not knowing which will go off - or how.

I like it because you can rig various ‘guns’ to trigger one another. The moment Gun A goes off, Gun B fires as well. When Gun C shoots, it triggers Gun D and F. This can lead to whole chain reactions where a single element starts a cascade of events - each primed and ready to go. But, as a reader, you never know what will be the trigger… Or how the cascade will roll!

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Oohh yes that really hypes me up :star_struck:

Also, I’ve just watched this zombie movie “I am a Hero” and there was this scene when the protagonist got into a “safety zone” and was given supplies. The one who gave him supplies was wearing a watch and showed him the basket full of it lol.

Later on in the movie, he was bitten by the arm. Turns out he covered his arms with the watches so he wasn’t infected lol. It’s just… it’s just funnyyyyy :rofl:

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I’m laughing at it harder than I should :rofl:

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Well, although I know about this technique, I hardly ever notice it in stories :sweat_smile: I might even use it in my own story but I don’t know.
But we once had this topic in our German class and we had to read a book that apparently was the “best example of Chekhov’s Gun in German literature”. I hated to book for being so obvious :joy: I didn’t understand why everything that was mentioned in the book had to serve some greater purpose than just being there. Like, for example, the author mentioned that a room had blue walls and described the blue really well. I was hoping that it was just a description to make the readers have a good picture in their heads but in the end it was somehow important that the room had blue walls and it annoyed me :joy:
So I don’t have a favourite example of Chekhov’s Gun, I either don’t notice it or I don’t like it :joy:

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What story was it? :eyes:


I don’t really remember, something with “Eismann” :joy:

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@Writers What do you think of this literary technique?

Checkov’s gun is a simple matter of cause and effect. Setup and payoff. If you think about it, most good stories use checkov’s gun