Seems like everything coming out is either a reboot, reimagining, rewrite, or something that involves a pre-existing franchise. This isn’t about originality being dead and nobody wanting to take a risk on a new franchise. Instead, I’m thinking about how some people just grab these established stories solely for name recognition. They go on to do whatever they want with them and put very little effort into retaining the heart of the stories, which made them popular in the first place. I’m not naming names here, but we’ve all seen this happen and heard the excuses.
This is not to say that you can’t take a pre-existing franchise and reboot it in a successful way. It’s difficult, but not impossible. One of the key points is honoring the heart of the original story. This can be part of the lore, the way characters are handled, or anything at the core of its original success. After all, it isn’t the name that makes a series popular, but what happens inside it and how it makes the readers/viewers feel. Retain that even with some alteration and you can avoid a lot of grief.
Of course, it’s hard to agree on what the heart of a story is. Authors have their own definition for it, which varies among them. Fans have another and non-fans have either a third or don’t care about the heart in the first place. Then, you have the person coming in to do the rewrite who may have their own ‘heart’ in mind that doesn’t match with the original. Finally, you have those who simply want to make money at the cost of a franchise’s reputation and cohesive fandom. Again, I’m not naming names here, so let’s get to the questions.
- What do you consider to be the ‘heart’ of a story?
- Do you think a rewrite/reboot needs to honor the ‘heart’ of the original story?
- How would you feel if your books were adapted with no concern for the ‘heart’ of the story?