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When the World has Changed Forever

Banes at 12:00AM, May 18, 2023

We talk a lot about Franchises here because those have been the big, widely known movies/stories in the culture in recent years.

But it's not all about Franchises - one thing that a standalone story can do, and occasionally does, is have an ending that changes the world forever.

I rewatched “Field of Dreams” recently and find it as moving as ever. The series of events are completely unexplainable, but the emotional power in that story can't be denied. It also has some of the most likable characters in any movie, played by Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan and James Earl Jones. In the end, the personal story aside, the world has been completely changed.

(spoiler alert):

At the end of the movie, an endless line of cars are driving toward Ray's baseball field, presumably to watch beloved baseball teams from the past playing games that will give the baseball-loving public a sense of peace and satisfaction (and will happily pay Ray and Annie, saving them from bankruptcy).

But the dead can now return to life, and interact with people! And throngs of people are going to see it! This clearly will change everything about how people understand life and death.

A much more bleak ending can be seen in “Cabin in the Woods”, where (spoiler alert again) -

The ritual that appeases the horrific ancient Gods is not completed, and the Gods rise from below the Earth to kill everyone on the planet!

It's pretty hard to imagine a sequel to these stories!

Or maybe not…

There could easily be another “Field of Dreams”, a magical story with completely different people, in another part of the country (or world), that has similar magical, heartwarming things going on and maybe a newspaper or something in the background that references the magical baseball field in Iowa. Or we could return to Ray and Annie, and see how life has gone for them. Maybe the success of the field screwed up their personalities and relationship, and there's another magical experience that brings them back to the people they're supposed to be.

Maybe people come to see the games, and get a sense of satisfaction, but then forget about it when they leave? So only a few people remember what happens on that field.

Don't get me wrong - I doubt that I'd want to see that (as appealing as the idea would be to see those characters again), and it would be very hard to make it any good. Their story has been told!

And a dystopian sequel set in the Gods-ravaged Earth after Cabin in the Woods could focus on a few survivors, and maybe some magical mcguffin that can put the Gods back to sleep. Could be interesting and different - but it would have very little in common with the original Cabin in the Woods, and I'd be shocked if this was ever made. A comic or something, sure. Fanfiction, absolutely (maybe it already exists).

I read that Return of the Jedi originally ended with Obi Wan Kenobi returning to life! This was changed of course, but that would have radically changed the rules of the Star Wars universe. They still could have made prequels and sequels and everything, but if death was made meaningless (at least for the Jedi), that would have meant some tough work for the writers in my opinion.

Anyway, those were some thoughts for this week. Hope you're all doing well.

See you next time!

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EssayBee at 4:31AM, May 19, 2023

Jonathan L. Howard's novel "Lovecraft and Carter" ended with a total unfolding/refolding of reality for the protagonists. The alternate world continues in the appropriately titled second book "After the End of the World." Both books are wonderful modern noir stories. It's a shame it seems like there won't be any other stories in the series.

PaulEberhardt at 2:35AM, May 19, 2023

There's no ending so final that somebody couldn't make a sequel of it... I very much prefer standalone movies, books and comics, and I'm regularly annoyed that the market is generally the opposite of that. This is not to say that some sequels aren't actually quite good, including the improbable ones. Also I can't really blame their creators, as it's good business sense to expand things into series as long as audiences keep wanting more of the same again and again (a behaviour that reminds me of small children, really, even if I'm not totally immune to it myself). It's hard enough to get an audience for anything. However, I like some variation in my reading and watching matter, and when a story is done, it's done. Dead horses and all that. Although action movies with dozens of sequels may be an exception. It's kind of part of the genre.

Banes at 9:49AM, May 18, 2023

@marcorossi - I hear you! Good points about the Karate Kid (though I've loved what I've seen of Cobra Kai, the many-years-later sequel series, and it picks up many of the threads of the original movies. I had a similar reaction after Clerks 2. It was a great ending. When I heard what became of the relationship/love interest offscreen before Clerks 3, I was stunned and disappointed. No interest in watching part 3 after hearing that!

Banes at 9:46AM, May 18, 2023

@bravo - I've never seen the Expendables movies but I would definitely want to see that!

bravo1102 at 6:09AM, May 18, 2023

I prefer stand alone myself unless it's a series character like Charlie Chan or The Thin Man. The Robofemoids was always intended to be a franchise but each is a stand alone story even if they do refer back to each other because of recurring characters. I did have to do a little "cheat" for Battle of the Robofemoids with a few surviving that nuclear blast but it was a wink and a nod to the audience as well.

marcorossi at 4:23AM, May 18, 2023

Personally I prefer the idea of a standalone movie to series. I think that stories should have an ending, whereas franchises tend to not having a real ending because everything can be put in discussion again. I remember when I was a kid that I lovet the Karate Kid movie. Then Karate Kid 2 came out and it turns out Daniel dumped the blondie (or the reverse). WHAT?!? A large part of the movie was Daniel hooking up with the blondie and then they just break up?!? In real life of course it is normal that a 14y old has many crushes and stories, but in a movcie it has to be THE love story, the one that goes on for life! I didn't watch KK3. I want certainities in life! and clear cut, definitive endings!

bravo1102 at 3:26AM, May 18, 2023

A great way to do a Cabin in the Woods sequel would be to make it part of Sly Stallone's Expendables franchise. The heroes to save the world are Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and the rest. XD

bravo1102 at 3:19AM, May 18, 2023

*die not "due" Guess the auto correct does not like movies where the protagonists fail and die.

bravo1102 at 3:14AM, May 18, 2023

Cabin in the Woods is part of a genre with gates and demons or old gods and there's always something to read to seal it off and the heroes usually succeed. Cabin in the Woods was the one where the heroes failed. Army of Darkness Ash mostly succeeded but parts of the gates was left open so there was lots of seepage that would be dealt with in the TV series. There are a few heist movies where the characters pull it off but lose their ill got gains so the world isn't changed as well ones where it is all dreams and visions. Then there's where the characters not only fail but all due and yet some entrepreneur finds a way to make a sequel anyway. Well, it's their friend/cousin/ sibling out trying to find what happened. Who would have thought they'd do a sequel to The Arrival? The Philadelphia Ptojevt?

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