Hellooooo I am late to every 'cast but I just finished this one and wanted to talk about something the crew discussed. Enforcing copyright in such a way that it only limits attempts to expand a property beyond the prescribed scope surely has a material stifling effect on fan creations within a property’s universe. Austin lamented that there are probably so many Star Trek episodes in the minds of fans which will never see the light of a screen because of these limitations; related, the crew also complained about the shitty ways in which fans steered the creators towards an ending in Mass Effect 3 that they found more palatable than that which was initially written.
I want to preface this by saying this is NOT about protecting the sanctity of implicitly/explicitly bigoted stories, or any issues relating to diversity. This is just about shit like ME3’s ending being disappointing and (relatively) dumb shit like that.
As a fan of, well, anything really, I feel conflicted about the copyright discussion because of conclusions one can draw from the ME3 discussion. Ultimately, I don’t want fans to have an effect on canon. I want the story I am being told to be prescribed to me so that I can process it and work through my feelings on it. If I don’t like something about a story, that’s okay with me! I want to be in that position, of reacting to the work.
I think part of the problem for me is that, within the scope of this conversation, stories are being framed as properties owned by corporations, who selfishly guard them with copyright. Yeah totally, often, that is true. On the other hand, sometimes there really are specific people who wrote these stories under the auspice of said corporation, and they have specific visions about where a story should go. It’s not specifically auteur theory, but I do believe that the more disparate the input on a story, the more opportunities the story has to become muddied and unfocused.
I don’t feel good about the notion that, in the end, a creator’s vision (so long as it isn’t offensive!) could be compromised because the corporation they are working for bent to public pressure to make their story more palatable, and is making them change their work. But like, if audiences want the movie studio to change the movie so that the hero does not die like they were written to or whatever…fuck that. I want whomever is writing the story I am being told (one person or several people) to write the whole fuckin story. I have faith in the authors’ intentions. What the hell would Firewatch be like if fans had held the pen?
Lastly, I understand the merit of allowing different people to try doing different things with a story. Superhero comics are exactly that, and are uniquely fascinating for that reason! But, the way that we engage with comics is different than how we engage with like, the ME series. It’s not more or less valid or better or worse, just different. That difference is worth acknowledging.