Derek is a literary theorist, theatremaker, and longtime dungeon master. He writes on adaptation, literary theory, and tackles the philosophical questions in popular texts.
Junior Contributor II
The value of prequel development
Prequels are often seen as cash-ins that don’t add much to the original text. For example, even Solo’s fans tend to admit that the movie wasn’t particularly necessary: it does not add much to the themes, ideas, or lore of Star Wars. But other prequels have offered deeper insight (or counterpoints) to the original text. For instance, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was used to deepen the apocalyptic themes of the main text.
So: what makes a valuable prequel? If a prequel isn’t adding anything to the original, then should it be "re-skinned"?
The influence of television-style character arcs on filmmaking
Even prestige television shows require something of an episodic format, and the plot must progress as a series of mini-climaxes and narratives for each episode. One of the advantages of television is the fact that the repetitive nature of the episodic structure lets us see the character in a gradient of contexts. Some recent films and "cinematic universe" projects seem to be following the television model, and place characters through iterative encounters to reveal more and more about them. The Marvel films are the most obvious example, but even series like John Wick are taking this approach. As big "intellectual properties" and sequels grow increasingly important to the success of films, is film starting to treat its characters more like television’s and less like the traditional film protagonist?