I’m feeling bored, so let’s talk about some broad-scale cultural conventions, art, and learn a new German word while we’re at it.
So, these days, I find myself more and more often having discussions about fictional worlds, continuity, and the apparent misuse of such things. Most recently, I found myself discussing the particular case of Starcraft II, and its serious storytelling inferiority (and retconning) of the original Starcraft, but this subject has become more and more relevant in recent memory, what with the frequent rebooting in Hollywood (such as the J.J. Abrams reimagining of Star Trek and the upcoming Batman V. Superman movie), the upcoming Star Wars movie, the ubiquitous Marvel Cinematic Universe project, the now-fixed Zelda continuity, the much-maligned Moffat era of Doctor Who, and many other projects frequently scrutinized in the pop cultural awareness. I have several friends who get worked up over numerous aspects of these various issues, usually to the effect of: “THEY’RE RUINING x” where x is whichever beloved franchise du jour is being apparently maligned by newcomers to the beloved artistic world in question.
My usual response, though, is not to be very concerned. I don’t tend to think of art in terms of worlds, but in terms of individual works, and therefore my defense tends to be: “They cannot take y away from us,” where y is whatever original work began the franchise in the first place. That is to say, Starcraft II cannot “ruin” Starcraft; The Phantom Menace does not “ruin” A New Hope; Man of Steel does not “ruin” Superman, and so on. But I’m beginning to think that this might be an antiquated way of looking at things, based on an aesthetic that is more appropriate to the nineteenth century than the twenty-first.