The Theorist: Ending Franchise Continuity (As We Know It)

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By Spencer. A recent piece on io9 examined the contrasting ways that two mega-franchises—DC Comics and Star Wars—have recently attempted to make their sprawling backstories more accessible to new viewers and readers. After rebooting their entire comics line in 2011 with the “New 52,” DC is un-rebooting its universe with the Convergence event, bringing together competing visions of characters like Superman and Batman from different continuities in another confusing reshuffle. Meanwhile, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming to theaters this December, new franchise-owner Disney is simplifying things. They are wiping the slate clean on the huge Expanded Universe of books, comics, and video games that, over the past two decades, has mapped out several thousand years of history in that galaxy far, far away. Now, only the movies and the two animated series, The Clone Wars and Rebels, will be considered “canon.”

The question you’re no doubt asking right now if you’re not a Comic-Con-attending cosplayer is, “who cares?” But I’ll go you one better, because I think it’s time that even the most obsessive fans start asking the same question. Why, if at all, does continuity matter anymore? Is it time to leave the whole concept behind? Continue reading

The Conversationalist: Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy & The Future Of Comic Book Movies

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By Sumeet & Spencer. This edition of the Conversationalist follows up on Marvel’s surprise hit, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and what it means for the state of Marvel’s on-screen universe and the wider superhero genre.

Sumeet: The Marvel Universe took a big leap this past weekend, adding a new intergalactic set of characters to their more well-known Avengers mix. As many film folks have noted, it was an interesting risk for the Marvel/Disney machine to take on Guardians Of The Galaxy. For those even less in the know than me (I know almost nothing about the comic book characters), the Guardians are a relatively obscure and off-beat superhero team. They appeared sporadically throughout various Marvel comics but only became featured in their own comic series relatively recently. In other words, I’m not the only one that didn’t know much about them before this weekend. Continue reading