Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we get started, did you see Paul Rudd’s Halloween costume? Feel free to post your thoughts on this or any other stand-out celebrity costumes in the comments!
First up, David Benioff and Daniel Weiss, the co-creators and showrunners of Game of Thrones, have been causing controversy this week. During an appearance at the Austin Film Festival, they recounted the history of the HBO show’s development and made a series of admissions which have had many fans and fellow writers up in arms. A Twitter thread by @ForArya, in attendance at the session, described the pair making statements about their experience (“we didn’t really have any”), the problems with their initial pilot (“everything we could make a mistake in, we did”), and their decision to remove many of the books’ fantasy elements (“we didn’t just want to appeal to that type of fan”).
— Needle & Pen (@ForArya) October 26, 2019
Although they certainly have their defenders, Benioff and Weiss’s comments have attracted criticism not only from fans who feel as though Martin’s work has been disrespected, but from other writers lamenting the mistakes made and the opportunities given to these showrunners where many others would not have been so lucky.
This is infuriating. I didn't think I could look down on them any more than I already did. Though I guess we shouldn't be surprised that they didn't even try to understand the major elements of the story. It showed quite clearly in that last season.
— Fran (@Alatarielle) October 27, 2019
Benioff & Weiss had no idea what they were doing. But they were still given a budget of $6 million per episode. Their pilot was terrible, they made constant mistakes *and they talk about it openly*. Tell me which woman writers in Hollywood have ever had this kind of privilege. https://t.co/5e8hyKfqi5
— Strix literally means witch 🦇🎃🧙🏼♀️ (@the_strix) October 27, 2019
SFF writer NK Jemisin suggested that the problem was less what was delivered than what had been lost:
Think about it this way: if B&W managed to hook millions of viewers and hold their attention for years with the apparently half-assed job they did, how much better could the show have been if they'd prepared? Had experience? Genuinely loved the characters & fanbase?
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) October 28, 2019
These discussions were further fuelled when just a couple of days later, it was announced that Benioff and Weiss would no longer be working on the next Star Wars trilogy. That relationship, announced with a good deal of public fanfare in February 2018, seems to have been abandoned in favour of the $200m Netflix deal that the showrunners signed up to in August this year. Some fans aren’t too sad about it:
This is a good day for Star Wars fans, and a hilarious day for Game of Thrones fans.
— Steve Hully (@Hully_14) October 29, 2019
Secondly, this week the CW announced another show in their DC/Arrowverse stable. Clark and Lois will feature Teen Wolf alum Tyler Hoechlin alongside Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois Lane, last seen during the Elseworlds crossover event last year. The pair will also feature in the 2019 crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, before the launch of their own series (likely in fall 2020). As reported by ScreenRant, the show will explore Clark and Lois’s life as ‘working parents in today’s society’.
In an Instagram post, Hoechlin thanked the execs involved in making the project happen and declared his intention to make the show something that Superman icon Christopher Reeve ‘would be proud of’.
View this post on Instagram
I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to tell this story, that for now shall remain a secret. But I’ve been blessed with nothing less than the most wonderful people to do it alongside of. I couldn’t ask for a better partner than @BitsieTulloch in all of this. I’ve already learned so much from her and I know that won’t stop anytime soon. So thank you @gberlanti and everyone else who brought her in as our Lois Lane. All the people behind the scenes care so much about these characters and their lives and the parts to which we’ll be speaking about, it gives me great comfort to know that they’ll steer us in the right direction. Thank you to everyone that said “yes” to this project (Warner Brothers, DC, CW). We won’t let you down. It’s going to be a grand adventure. Can’t wait to get to work! P.S. I had no idea this picture existed when someone grabbed the shot of Bitsie and I on the monitor, and I just noticed today the resemblance of my expression to that of Mr. Reeves. Had to share. Hope we make something he would be proud of. Up, up!
Third up, Petrana Radulovic at Polygon has an article about the new adaptation of John Green’s 2005 novel, Looking for Alaska, which premiered on Hulu on October 18. Redulovic contextualizes the TV show in the context not only of Green’s book, but of its fandom, arguing that ‘many things about the show… feel like the showrunners adapted not only the book, but 14 years of reader reactions.’ Offering a summarized history of the book’s rise and fall on 2000s/2010s Tumblr, she explores the way in which the show seems to respond to the criticisms to which the novel has been subjected, arguing that the TV adaptation benefits from stepping outside the narrator Miles’s limited first-person perspective.
And finally, Stargate fan website Gateworld has been exploring the long history of fanworks associated with the show as part of a series entitled ‘Finding Fandom’ and posted to mark Stargate‘s 25th anniversary. The piece, which sits alongside other entries on the show’s themes, on its fan conventions, and on the connections fans have found with one another, recounts the changes that fan creators have experienced since the show first launched, citing the OTW’s own Archive of Our Own as a key factor in making fanfic ‘more mainstream’ and ’embraced by a wider demographic’.
Stargate fans interviewed for the piece appreciate fanfiction for its ability to resolve incomplete storylines, to deepen relationships, and simply to offer more of the universe they love: ‘There were a lot of stories told onscreen,’ comments jengenexer, ‘but I have always felt there were so many more’. The piece also features work by fan artists and vidders, who comment on the personal satisfaction they obtain from their pursuits as well as the pleasure of contributing to a communal enterprise: ‘I love editing Stargate,’ says vidder MissRainbowPie, ‘because I feel like I’m helping to keep the fandom alive’.