A long-running franchise can accumulate a pretty complex and labyrinthine world after it's been around for decades. And that world will include plenty of stuff that's great, plenty that's not-so-great, and a few things that contradict each other. So, what's a sprawling fictional universe to do?
Suddenly, all the giant Hollywood franchises are being driven by alternative filmmakers. The latest news is that Rian Johnson, director of indies Looper and Brick, will direct Star Wars VIII. Can a quirky visionary really change a pop culture behemoth? Here's what happened to other indies in the franchise machine.
It looks like your grandchildren will be watching Pirates of Caribbean sequels. Disney is looking into making a fifth and sixth film back-to-back.
Recently, I read speculation about whether Sam Raimi would stick with the Spider-Man "franchise," and couldn't help picturing Raimi in a polyester fast-food uniform. Somewhere along the way, epic tales of the human spirit stopped being stories and became "franchises."
If you don't worship Star Trek, then you must worship the Force. But maybe you're a vampire adept, or a member of the Batman congregation? Fans' faith in their franchises gets as intense and bloody as zealots' faith in religion.
Everybody's re-imagining old science fiction franchises, from Battlestar and Bionic Woman to Star Trek and Terminator. (Can you remember when you had never heard the verb "re-imagine?" Now, it's the only verb I ever use.) But some of the greatest classics are still waiting for their extreme makeovers. It's time to…