When Rian Johnson was raked over the social media coals for his re-imagining of “Star Wars” many directors came to his defense. One of those directors, James Mangold, tweeted of fandoms’ negative reaction: “a lot of bolder minds r gonna leave these films 2 hacks & corp boards”.
I interpret this to mean that James Mangold sees both Rian John and himself as bolder minds. Yet, if Rian Johnson’s vision for “Star Wars” was bold, then James Mangold’s movie, “Logan”, was absolutely not. Rian Johnson’s version of “Star Wars” veered off in a wildly different direction than anyone familiar with the franchise and its characters would have predicted. Including Mark Hamill. Social agenda had pushed the story out of the way.
James Mangold did just the opposite with “Logan”. His movie stayed the course and kept true to the essence of the character and was loved for it. A bold choice would have been for Logan to become a coward in old age who left people to die so that he could spend his twilight years as a lounge singer pursuing the glitz and glamour in Vegas that he had secretly always craved. That would have been bold. That would have been Rian Johnson bold. And that would have been ripped to pieces by the fandom.
It would seem that a lot of well-established franchises are making bold choices. The latest iterations of “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who” being current examples with the new “Lost in Space” treading unnervingly close. (Please, do not boldly remake “Battle Star Galactic”, “Babylon Five” or even “Space 1999”.)
“Star Trek: Discovery” has missed the mark so badly that Trekkie fandom see “The Orville”, an intended parody of the genre, as being truer to the core of Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.
However, most recently, mention of course corrections for both “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” are circulating. While show runners, directors and actors, rail against the fans for not lapping up their bold choices, it appears that the tyranny of the bottom line is forcing corp boards to assume the voice of reason.
When working with shareholder money marketing 101, give the people what they want, applies. Perhaps, in the not so distant future, the ruination of beloved properties will be relegated to passion projects and side hustles.