Fat Mogul vs. Sequels, Remakes, and Rehashing

The thing about my books that give me the most flack from readers...
The thing about my books that give me the most flack from readers…

I love the entertainment of my childhood.  1985 is quite simply the best year ever for film.  Movies like The Goonies, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Spies Like Us, D.A.R.Y.L., Fletch, Weird Science, Red Sonja, and Clue are all ones that will live on in my heart and I’ll always be open to a rewatch for…and that’s just a quick list of great titles from that year, and also ignores the sequels to amazing films that came out that year, like Rambo, Rocky, and Vacation.

Over the years, many of these movies have either had sequels made, or have had them announced.  The Goonies, in fact, just finally had a sequel announced a few months back.  You know, almost 30 years after the original came out.  Just today I saw a note stating more information about the slightly previously talked about Beetlejuice sequel…again about thirty years after the original…and, prior to Robin Williams’ death, they had just recently announced a Mrs. Doubtfire 2…And if you get out of 1985, you’ll see the trend to remake or serialize films is a pretty big deal…I mean, all I’m doing right here is saying stuff that’s making you yawn with how overly stated it is.

But here’s the thing…although I will go see every sequel and remake of films I adore, I really hate them.  I hate it when a beloved film gets made into a series when it so obviously didn’t need it.  I mean, seriously, what are they going to do with Mrs. Doubtfire 20 years later?  Would Robin’s character still be dressing in drag to his family who already knows about it?  That’s creepy, at best.

There have obviously been successful attempts at making standalone films into series.  Star Wars is an obvious one. I mean, where would the world be without Empire and Jedi?  Those films changed our culture almost as much as the original.  They weren’t necessary, coming from the original, which I still feel is a brilliant standalone film, but they were fantastic additions to the original making for a solid series.  The new trilogy, of course, is an example of how some times we should just let a license die.

But here’s where I really want to get to with all of this…when I began writing, I really didn’t want to get into the trend of trilogies and rehashing old stories.  Obviously, a part of The Defenders Saga is the idea that it would be a continuing series of stories, without a specific end in mind, seeing as it’s an homage to comic books, which, you should know, do exactly that.  When I set out to write my second novel, I wanted it to be a standalone.  I didn’t want to leave people hanging, I didn’t want to try to push things out longer than they needed just to sell more books.  I wanted to tell a story and be done with it.

Then the story got out of control and, well, I had to cut it off somewhere.  I actually considered leaving the book there…and really probably should have.  That’s why there’s no Part 1 or anything officially attached to the title.  I left it at a cliffhanger, but I honestly believe that it’s the end to that story.  Part 2 (which will have the first draft completed this week) is a very different story…one that could piss off the fans of the first.  It’s precisely what could be wrong with sequels…but it’s also part of the original story that I wanted to tell…meaning I’m still rather split about the whole thing.  It continues everything quite organically in my mind, but, well, there is a good amount of what causes sequels to flop in there as well…Not quite the difference between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom, but there’s a shift.

Moving forward, there’s still going to be another book left in The Agora Files story…I really wanted to find a way to resolve everything effectively in book 2, but I just don’t see it happening, not in the way that people want.  Buddy Hero will continue on as long as I have stories to tell.  But I’m really ready to move away from series.  Daddy of the Dead was a step in that direction, although I found many more stories to tell in that universe, I’m not sure that I’ll be continuing on with the stories of Bert, Guy, and Zelda…not for a while anyways.

The Long Chron, amusingly enough, was something I initially developed to work as a serial that, when all was said and done with the first draft, it really became a standalone novel.  There’s more stories I could tell in that world and with those characters, but I feel much less inclined to do so now that I’ve finished the first book.  It’s actually got what I consider my most fulfilling ending to date…and I’m eager to get back to working on it in the coming week here.  It’s honestly something I’m happy enough with to actually attempt finding a publisher again.  Of course, we’ll see how that feeling goes when I actually finish the final edits in a month or two.

I’ve got a lot of stories in the works, things that have been mulling around in my mind for months now that are all supposed to be standalones which I can’t wait to get moving forward on.  In fact, once I finish final edits on The Long Chron, I’ll begin working on it…something I like to think of as being a little bit of Animal Farm (without the animals) and a little bit of The Mouse That Roared…but with a hefty dose of Wisconsin flair.

All in all…I find myself disappointed that there’s so little for original stories coming out of Hollywood nowadays, even if I’m really having a difficult time with the fact that I still haven’t seen the new Turtles flick…so, although I’ll keep the characters I’ve created alive for as long as I have stories to tell about them, I’m also focused on making sure to keep bringing out new ideas and new stories…I’m not all superheroes, dystopia, and zombies, after all…although…perhaps a crossover? 😉

Have fun out there!

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