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The Next Chapter Ending Explained

by AcklinEHuey

WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Book Club: The Next Chapter!Book Club: The Next Chapter’s ending includes a few major twists as the ladies’ trip to Italy comes to a close, with each finding solace in the new chapters of their lives. Picking up approximately five years after the events of the 2018 movie Book Club, Bill Holderman’s sequel brings Vivian (Jane Fonda), Diane (Diane Keaton), Sharon (Candice Bergen), and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) back together for a trip to Italy. This time around, their inspirational book is The Alchemist, with the themes of fate and choice impacting the book club’s approach to their new conflicts, including Vivian’s engagement to Arthur, Carol’s worries about Bruce’s health, Sharon’s riskiness, and Diane’s dilemmas moving forward with Mitchell.


As Book Club 2’s characters conclude their trip to Italy, the ladies meet several obstacles on their way to their final destination in Tuscany, where the club has helped plan a surprise wedding for Vivian and Arthur. The club finally arrives with help from a police officer they’ve already had several run-ins with, with the characters also being surprised to find Mitchell and Bruce at the event. Vivian and Arthur stand at the altar but decide that they don’t need to get married to prove their love to one another, so Mitchell and Diane get married instead. In Book Club 2’s ending, the ladies depart and plan for another reunion, with each character being even more secure in their relationship or single life.

Book Club 2’s Wedding Twist Explained: Why Diane & Mitchell Get Married Instead Of Vivian & Arthur

The final surprise of the movie arrives when Diane and Mitchell decide to get married at the venue, just moments after Vivian and Arthur (played by iconic ’80s Miami Vice actor Don Johnson) decided to be together forever but without the labels of “husband” and “wife.” Mitchell, overhearing Diane’s speech about love being reason enough to get married, decides to not let the wedding go to waste, so he proposes to Diane and marries her at the same time. Vivian was frequently expressing her hesitancy to get married throughout Book Club: The Next Chapter, not because she didn’t love Arthur, but because she didn’t want the tether of marriage and never liked the idea of being a “wife.” As such, Vivian and Arthur’s decision to declare their love in front of their friends but not legally be married made sense.

Diane, on the other hand, wasn’t against the idea of getting married again, but wasn’t sure of how her relationship with Mitchell was progressing. Book Club 2 suggested that Diane was struggling to move forward because she still needed to properly end the last chapter of her life with her late husband. However, Diane brought Harry’s ashes with her to Italy, with the moment she finally spread them by accidentally dropping the urn out of the helicopter marking her full commitment to the next phase in her romance with Mitchell. By making peace with Harry’s death for good, Diane was finally ready to marry Mitchell, with his spontaneity leading to a quick wedding.

Did Arthur & Mitchell Plan On Book Club 2’s Wedding Change?

Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia in Book Club 2

While Mitchell and Diane’s wedding at the end of Book Club: The Next Chapter was presented as a surprise, it’s implied that Mitchell and Arthur had planned for the change-up all along. When Vivian stops the ceremony to explain that she doesn’t want to be a wife, Arthur reveals that he had a feeling she would say as much, so decides to declare his love for her without the bounds of legal marriage. Mitchell also hinted at his real plans by purchasing the wedding dress that Diane tried on in the bridal store, which he set out for her to wear to Vivian and Arthur’s ceremony. It’s unlikely that Mitchell would have purposefully planned for Diane to wear a wedding dress to a friend’s wedding unless he secretly arranged for their nuptials.

Mitchell also hardly hesitated to leave the altar after Vivian and Arthur decided to call off the wedding, with Andy Garcia’s character even asking Arthur for his wedding rings as he proposed. Book Club 2’s ending thus suggests that Arthur and Vivian’s wedding was never the real plan, and that Arthur helped Mitchell arrange the surprise instead. However, Mitchell planning the wedding in advance does create some odd mysteries, as Diane’s two daughters were not in attendance and the guests primarily consisted of Vivian and Arthur’s friends.

Why The Italian Police Chief Flew The Club To Tuscany

Carol Vivian Diane and Sharon in jail in Book Club: The Next Chapter

One recurring gag in Book Club: The Next Chapter saw retired judge Sharon get in trouble with a local Italian police chief portrayed by Giancarlo Giannini. After calling the police officer lazy for failing to track down their stolen bags in Rome and later encountering him when the boat she was on drifted into the middle of the canal in Venice, Sharon met him once again after the club was arrested for trying to hitchhike to Tuscany. However, Sharon successfully appealed to Sergio by asking for his help in getting them to Vivian and Arthur’s wedding on time, which he surprisingly agreed to after seeing how difficult the trip of the 70-somethings had been so far.

Additionally, it was hinted that the police chief had actually come around to liking Sharon by Book Club 2’s ending. While taking the ladies in the helicopter for safe passage to Tuscany, Sergio gave Sharon his black coat to make her officiant role more professional, only asking that she save him a dance after the ceremony. The two law enforcers finally came to accept one another and, if not seal a romantic connection, at least embrace a friendship and level of understanding in the final act of Book Club: The Next Chapter.

Bruce’s Surprise Wedding Appearance Explained (Why He Didn’t Care About Gianni)

Mary Steenburgen and Craig T Nelson in Book Club

Craig T. Nelson also reprises his role as Carol’s husband Bruce from the 2018 movie Book Club, who surprises his wife by going to Italy for Vivian and Arthur’s wedding. Bruce’s surprise appearance in Book Club 2’s ending repeats his big ending scene in the original Book Club movie, which saw him shock his wife by unexpectedly showing up to their dance at a fundraiser talent show. Bruce seemingly arrived in Book Club: The Next Chapter after receiving images of Carol’s old friend Gianni in Italy, which Carol feared would anger Bruce.

However, Bruce arrived confident in their romance and was excited to see his wife, revealing that the two still had a spark in their marriage as they decided to live in the present instead of fearing the future. Bruce had likely heard of the wedding plans from Arthur and Mitchell and decided to show up himself, with the pictures of Gianni having no bearing on his decision to fly to Italy. Bruce knew that he loved Carol and that she loved him, and he trusted her to stay faithful after decades of marriage, which is exactly what she did.

Book Club 2’s Ending Subtly Sets Up Another Sequel

Book club the next chapter movie

After Vivian, Diane, Carol, and Sharon’s exciting bachelorette party trip to Italy, the book club decides to start planning the third chapter in their saga. As Diane and Mitchell begin to drive away to their honeymoon, Diane hops out of the car, runs to hug her friends, and asks when their next trip together will be. Book Club: The Next Chapter’s characters embrace and declare that they’ll plan another adventure together soon, as they won’t leave such matters up to fate.

If the theatrically-released May 2023 movie becomes a box office hit similar to the 2018 original, which grossed over $104 million worldwide, then a third movie is more likely. The Book Club series is highly entertaining because of the fun chemistry between Keaton, Fonda, Steenburgen, and Bergen, so an actual plot set-up at the end of Book Club 2 wasn’t even necessary. Whether the ladies decide to go to a book convention, write their own book, embark on a vacation with their significant others, or find another reason to gather, Book Club 3 would be an exciting prospect.

The Real Meaning Of Book Club 2’s Ending

Book Club 2 cast

Similar to how the original Book Club saw the characters take control of their sexuality and romantic relationships while reading 50 Shades of Grey, Book Club: The Next Chapter is underscored by the theme of fate vs. choice. Their most recent book had been The Alchemist, which told the story of a shepherd who journeyed to the pyramids of Egypt after having recurring visions of treasures there. Ultimately, the book’s themes drive home the lesson that “destiny” is arbitrary, as the world will conspire to make a dream come true if it’s what a person truly desires and works toward, which is the same message expressed in Book Club: The Next Chapter’s ending.

The characters had a choice in each of the events that transpired in Book Club 2, despite how much they wanted to blame destiny for when things went wrong. At the same time, the stars seemed to align and the club was able to realize their dreams, with such events also exposing to themselves what they already really wanted or needed to happen. Diane getting married in Book Club: The Next Chapter’s ending wasn’t simply an act of fate, it was something she had already secretly wanted and chose. Arthur and Vivian getting married was never in the cards because she didn’t truly want it, with the wedding only being stopped once she expressed such feelings to Arthur and he reciprocated.

Carol never wanted to be unfaithful to Bruce, so she wasn’t, and the two were brought back together because he is who she truly wants to spend her life with. The world had thrown obstacles at her with Gianni’s surprise reunion, but Carol chose to stay faithful and learn to live in the present with Bruce rather than fear the past or future. Sharon’s multiple interactions with the police chief seemed to be an act of fate, but they were each the consequence of her actions. Additionally, his final appearance allowed them to go to Tuscany only because she chose to appeal to his kindness. The world certainly conspired for each of the characters’ true desires to come to fruition in Book Club: The Next Chapter, with their lives being guided by their own actions rather than fate.

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