It has been a while since I put finger to key and for my first foray in the new year, I wanted to write about something that has crossed my mind, as well as many others, which is proliferation of a work into every corner and crevice of entertainment and lifestyle items as possible. Now honestly the first thing that pops into my mind right now when I think of this is Game of Thrones. Before anyone jumps on me too badly, it is just the first thing because of its recentness. No, we all know that if there was one thing that has been infused with our lives in a way that we may never escape, it is the Star Wars franchise. Obviously, this saturation is not a new thing, but is it a good thing? Does it do affect a franchise in an inherently good or bad way? Alternatively, is it like so many things, it that it all depends on how it is done?
Star Wars did not start this phenomenon, but it certainly made it the steroid enhanced consumer crushing entity that plagues us today. Lucas pulled no stops and today among the prominent things from the Star Wars universe. We have rereleases of movies, action figures, Legos, video games, mmorpg’s, novels, children’s books, comic books, foods, stickers, happy meal toys, other toys, and the most horrendous holiday special to feature Jefferson Starship ever. That is just the tip of the iceberg too!
With all honestly, I have not heard too much negative reception of this blob like spread into other markets. At least not until the movies began re-releasing. I played with the toys when I was a child (also last week because I got pretty cool Christmas presents) and have watched the movies and read the books. They were enjoyable and remain so today. I think an important note here is that there was little complaining, except from broke parents perhaps, as long as the new endeavors were contributing and expanding the original story. When it began changing the story that had started it all was when more loud protestations began.
Game of Thrones is what brought me to this hideously massive topic. It has a much more modern style of franchise cancer (not deadly by any means and sometimes gives you cool powers). So far, I am not sure how I feel about it either. We have some fun, if not novel, additions to the franchise like a board game and an RPG. The TV show is actually quite fantastic in its execution, so that is difficult to be critical. It has also done exactly what something like that is supposed to and sent people back to buying the original source material like frat boys to bad beer. They start losing me at the comic book. It is the same as when a comic book moves to be novelized; why are we making a backwards move? The story is well told in the novels. Visual Stimulation is provided in the TV series. Do we need more? I do not know.
There are other victims of franchise cancer both big and small. Star Trek, Comic book heroes, and Transformers come to mind easily enough. It is tough to sort the good from the bad. When does it become too much or too redundant? When does it hurt the integrity of the franchise in a significant way? Is it when the extras stop bolstering the original and seek to replace it? I cannot argue that it is the artists right to do as he pleases, but is that when franchise cancer becomes terminal? It will take a different mind than mine to figure that one out.