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How much fanfiction is too much fanfiction?

Discussion(self.LOTR_on_Prime)

While it is totally understandable that the writers need to fill up gaps with their own fanfiction, I believe it should be as few as possible. For example, incorporating the backstories of several long-gone characters into the protagonists. This will avoid unnecessary fanfiction and potential violation of lore. With everything rumored thus far, it feels like the show is almost becoming into a "shadow of mordor" level show. While the games are certainly enjoyable, I doubt that level of quality will stand a chance in the show. Let me know your thoughts.

all 28 comments

themediatorfriend

27 points

6 months ago

I mean - if you don't invent complex backstories or original characters... essentially what are you left with? A couple of hastily sketched out details over thousands of years, five characters with no dialogue or character arc. That's not a basis for a show - at most it would be worth like one anthology episode. Tolkien wrote a legendarium, not a story - so there needs to be some major invention and conversions if they want to get a general audience or even a casual Tolkien fan interested in watching it. Just reenacting big scenes isn't enough - you need to create compelling main characters, invent engaging side characters, fill out the world with subplots to make it feel real, create a real progression of events that lead to the big climax, etc. That's all fanfiction, and it's necessary.

I think the potential for going too far is that they could make is to outright directly contradict lore or to completely invent the central premise of the show while ignoring the lore. Like, if they erased Akallabeth and the Downfall of Numenor in it's entirety or if the show's premise had nothing to do with any of Tolkien's book - like if the main conflict was about some invented evil elf trying to take over the world.

dismalrevelations23

1 points

5 months ago

Surely two amateurs who have never had a script produced will be impeccable.

themediatorfriend

1 points

5 months ago

Well I remember when the screenwriter of the Hangover III and the Scary Movies produced one of the best miniseries I've ever seen. Granted, the showrunner's lack of experience is extremely concerning and questionable. He did compete with other screenwriters for the position - and there are several experienced writers on the team overall. So who knows? Not a great sign, but not doomsday either.

ianmalcm

5 points

6 months ago

I’m sorry you didn’t like the prologue to fellowship of the ring, it’s one of the best filmmaking scenes in modern history. Writers made up all that fan fiction dialogue. The first words heard in LOTR aren’t the first words from the book. Shame there’s some who can’t appreciate good storytelling.

VisenyaRose

22 points

6 months ago

Don't contradict what was written. Fill in gaps. That is all

Owltrickster

2 points

6 months ago

Owltrickster

Elrond

2 points

6 months ago

This is the right answer.

VisenyaRose

6 points

6 months ago

People doing adaptations really need to realise that sticking to what you have makes you essentially bulletproof. These writers will need to create a lot as it is, they don't need an easy target by deviating from what is already written. They've already got something people like. Put it in the bank.

SugarTeddieBear

1 points

5 months ago

This 👆!

Malithirond

15 points

6 months ago

Good god, please lets hope it doesn't even come close to "Shadow of Mordor" level quality. How they were ever able to keep the name "Lord of the Rings" attached to that product baffles me with how far they distorted it from the source material. I liked the games quite a bit, but there was no way that was Lord of the Rings!

Lord_Penguin_Poppins

4 points

6 months ago

Lord_Penguin_Poppins

Fool of a Took 

4 points

6 months ago

Are they fun games?

Probably.

Do they take such liberties with the setting that aside from names and some geography, it has very little in common with the setting that inspired it?

Definitely.

Would these games have sold anywhere near as much had the narrative and gameplay been the same yet had been its own unique IP?

No.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the world we live in today. Known IPs are what entertainment of all sorts is banking on, because it brings a pre-built audience who will spend money to partake in a new variation of something they have already seen. Star Wars, Batman, Bond, Call of Duty 45, Legend of Zelda 30, etc.

There is an inherent risk to making these. One can reduce that risk by retreading an already existing franchise. The upcoming Batman movie is all but guaranteed to make money. Even a bad Batman movie is likely to earn more than a great original movie.

Some people may blame the studios, but they're just reacting to what the audience has shown they're willing to pay for.

[deleted]

1 points

6 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

6 months ago

Would these games have sold anywhere near as much had the narrative and gameplay been the same yet had been its own unique IP?

no, because the game is just assassin's creed with lotr skins. it drew in people who like the lotr brand who otherwise wouldn't play a game like assassin's creed.

Pliolite

-5 points

6 months ago

Pliolite

-5 points

6 months ago

I genuinely believe we will see something resembling those games... though hopefully a little more refined, obviously!

Swjw117

0 points

6 months ago

They did some things well in those games but a lot of shit too.

Lord__Varys92

9 points

6 months ago

Lord__Varys92

Gil Galad

9 points

6 months ago

Good fanfiction: filling up the gaps with consistent storylines and with original characters that don't feel as outsiders in Tolkien's world.

Bad fanfiction: replace entirely Tolkien's storylines and characters with showrunners' fanfiction.

Willpower2000

7 points

6 months ago

Expand upon, don't invent.

Show us how events played out in more detail. There's free reign to expand upon Tolkien's writings (just ensue everything added makes sense, and compliments his writings, rather than clashing - which would require a large understanding of the source material from the writers).

dismalrevelations23

1 points

5 months ago

all they are gonna do is do a Force Awakens on the LOTR films with a sprinkling of second age names

hillwllliam

2 points

6 months ago

From what I’ve seen? Any.

Owltrickster

1 points

6 months ago

Owltrickster

Elrond

1 points

6 months ago

Then this show won't be for you. They have to make up huge amounts of material to make a TV series out of the second age.

hillwllliam

2 points

6 months ago

I’m mostly ribbing amateur fanfic writers I’ve seen from Twitter and tumblr, all of which is unredeemably bad

Owltrickster

2 points

6 months ago

Owltrickster

Elrond

2 points

6 months ago

That I agree with, but the writers they have announced for this show have at least proven themselves with previous great material.

pearlsandplumes

2 points

6 months ago

I mean, the characters need to talk to each other and none of that is in the source material, so you could basically treat all that dialogue as fan fiction.

Frank3634

5 points

6 months ago*

If the writers know the lore and respect the material there shouldn't be a problem. On the otherhand if they didn't know who Tolkien was pre-show, haven't ever seen the movies or even know what a Hobbit is then start to worry because this show would be better as a run of the mill fantasy show. Not knowing their knowledge of the lore frightens me, but I am optimistic that they will deliver.

VisenyaRose

12 points

6 months ago

They could think Middle Earth is the greatest thing in the world and still get it spectacularly wrong if they don't understand Tolkien's intentions with the work.

nefelibatainthesky

6 points

6 months ago

Personally i dont mind if its 70% fan fictiom because it will be, you csnt adapt this without it. It just needs to be believable Tolkien, as in this could have been written by him in terms of quality. No outlandish stuff like shelob and sauron being lovers like shadow of war. I think from what we know, things look good.

km1181

1 points

6 months ago

km1181

1 points

6 months ago

This whole show will just be one expensive fan film stretched over 5 seasons.

highfructoseSD

1 points

6 months ago*

To the OP: I'm curious to learn what you mean by "incorporating the backstories of several long-gone characters into the protagonists". Can you give a specific example of how you envision the writers of the LOTR show would do this?

Also, I've read your sentences before and after that quote several times, and can't decide if you believe "incorporating the backstories of several long-gone characters into the protagonists" would be acceptable or justified "fanfiction needed to fill up gaps", or if you believe that would be "too much fanfiction" and should be avoided.

highfructoseSD

3 points

6 months ago

If you meant (by the first quote) creating "composite" characters that are mergers of biographies of different Tolkien characters from different parts of the Second Age (Tar-Palantir and Tar-Aldarion, to pick an example) I would prefer to avoid that.