The Sequel Conundrum

A Problem with Change

Few groups of people can get as angry as a group of fans who feel betrayed. As a fan of many things, I have felt this way before. So many fans of science fiction and fantasy properties have a problem with change. The more popular it is, the more they will hate any changes made.

There are two types of change that I can think of, changes to the original material, or changes in subsequent material. The latter fosters much debate on staying true to the originals. I’m a Star Wars fan, and we have this problem all the time. In fact, one of my pet peeves involves people who say the prequels (or any other Star Wars material) are not Star Wars. They’re definitely Star Wars, they’re just not the original films. Additionally, fans don’t always appreciate the changes that George Lucas has made to the originals, even when he is absolutely in his rights to do so. J. R. R. Tolkien did the same thing to later editions of the Hobbit, in an attempt to fit better with The Lord of the Rings. People don’t criticize him for doing this. Why? Because the changes were better! But had we existed at the time of The Hobbit’s publications, we probably wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about him messing with our childhoods and changing the book.
I’m not sure I get it myself. Fans have a way of forming expectations in their minds, then get angry when those expectations are not exactly what happens. Expectations ruin many experiences. Even if the end result is very good, expecting something different can turn you off to that result.

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