New Perspectives on Old Franchises

No, I am not looking up these items on purpose, readers! They just seem to find me – or are sent to me to provoke a smile and a laugh.

Admittedly, the fan picture which crosses My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic* with Star Trek: The Next Generation, probably counts less as fan art and more as fan fiction. You could easily read it as the opening for a comic book, one that would have a great deal of potential if the writer and/or artist played it straight. Even if it was only used for laughs, though, this is a crossover that a writer might use as a basis for a fan fiction piece.

There are certainly ways to use it as the inspiration for an original story. Consider the fact that Jim Butcher created his Codex Alera* series by combining the mystery of the Lost Roman Legion (Legio IX Hispana) and Pokemon – yes, Pokemon – together to make an entirely new world. This world had its own history, characters, and strengths. Although it is not as well known as Butcher’s Dresden Files* series, that epic fantasy remains one of his best works and is beloved by many of his fans.

Putting My Little Pony and Next Generation in a blender is bound to give some fans of both series the shudders. Still, the idea has some merit, as either a fan fiction piece or as the basis for an original idea. I do not see why someone could not seize upon it and run with it.

Now the next image would take a little more effort to mix and match for an original idea, but not too much:

Honestly, this is a story that I wish Marvel Comics had actually tackled. Forget that awful comic where Indiana Jones* discovers a crashed Millennium Falcon with the skeleton of Han Solo at the controls and Chewbacca standing lonely sentinel beside the wreck. I would much rather have seen an Indiana Jones/Captain America adventure as they fought the Nazis and/or HYDRA together, trading jokes and using their trademark weapons to lay the villains low. Now that would be a book worth reading!

The two worlds could be woven together quite easily, even if one went with a more streamlined approach to the era, similar to the one used for Captain America: The First Avenger*. Having Steve Rogers help Indy pursue the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail would be truly fantastic, as Cap is in many ways the fictional reincarnation of Galahad, the only knight of the Round Table to discover the chalice used by Our Lord at the Last Supper. Why Marvel never thought to try this combination is beyond me, as is the fact that I didn’t put the two characters together in an adventure before seeing this fan art. Truly, it is a perfect blend!

If it turns out that someone has already done a fan fiction story based on this idea, I will look forward to checking it out. Bonus points if it includes some adventures for Bucky (MCU timeline or not) and Short Round during the same time period, with perhaps a brief look at a future where they meet after the Winter Soldier has broken with his programming. Seeing Cap pay a visit to an older Indiana Jones and his granddaughter wouldn’t go amiss, either! Hmm, I’m going to have to think about what this type of idea would look like in an original story. There are so many possibilities…..

Ah, well, on to the next image! While this one is mainly meant for comedic effect, having a competition between the cutest lizards in fiction is not a bad idea at all:

Personally, I think Toothless wins this contest easily, but it would be fun to see this idea play out. The intelligent chameleon, the faerie salamander, and the dragon in what translates to a glorified pet show would be hilarious. There may even be a way to play it straight, and have a good time with it!

There are enough pet show stories already on the market that an original one following this lead would not be out of place. It might take work to find the “spin” which would make an original tale stand out from the crowd, but it could be done. And it would certainly be enjoyable.

Someone sent me this meme combining Star Wars: The Clone Wars* characters with my favorite anime, Zoids: Chaotic Century*:

Apparently, back when the series aired, fan fiction writers crossed the two franchises during that time period, but this newer idea takes advantage of the impression the “Bad Batch” made on Star Wars fandom. From what I have heard regarding the Bad Batch, the match-ups in this meme make a great deal of sense. Given the success that Star Wars has had combining space opera with giant mecha, I do not see how a similar mixture in the future could be ill-received! 😉

Those here who write fan fiction probably will not need too much prompting to start a story based on this idea, so I will say nothing more on that front. The meme pretty much speaks for itself; just imagine these five clones in control of mecha that can run circles around – and likely destroy – an AT-AT in minutes. Bingo, there’s a story.

Finally, there is this piece of fan art:

You can find more about the picture and the artist here, readers. This author confesses that although this portrait is used to make memes, she prefers to keep it where she can see it because it speaks to her. The knight saving the princess (or a fallen brother) at great cost to himself is an image that affects me on a deep level every time it is presented well, and so I always try to keep it in mind while writing. Having such a wonderfully detailed piece of fan art, even though it is from a franchise which this writer knows little to nothing about, is inspiring. It “keeps me hungry,” so that I am always striving to write a story that conveys the same emotion to my readers.

And that really is the point of being someone who loves stories and writes them, I think. Writers in a previous generation tell stories which affect their audience and make them want to tell tales that influence others in the same manner. Thus authors start writing fan fiction at a young age, and some continue to do so well into adulthood because it makes them happy. Some writers of fan fiction share it with the world to make others happy, too.

Still others keep writing fan fiction at the same time that they create original stories of their own and sell them, while the rest of us more or less leave fan fiction behind to write original works we hope will carry on the tradition we were given. Published authors may dabble in the field once or twice as a way of blowing off steam or as a dry run for an original story, but for the most part our focus is on the next book, short story, or screenplay we have to get to market.

It is a strange sequence which, when respected, can be as renewing as the water cycle. Rain falls, filling the lakes and rivers, the latter of which carry the water to the ocean. From there and from the surface of the lakes evaporation brings the liquid skyward again, where the process is repeated.

Fan fiction, fan art, and fan storytelling has its place in the world and the order of writing for the public. It helps a prospective author hone his craft, find his preferred niche, and gives him an idea of which audience will most likely appreciate his work. Those who write fan fiction today are preparing, in their own way, to become professional writers of one sort or another in the future. Those professional writers’ tales then inspire another generation to follow the same path that they did, and so on and so forth down through the years.

So if you are a fan who writes fiction, consider the pieces above. Maybe they’ll become for you what the final image is for me: a goal and an aspiration to accomplish something great in the next story. If you still prefer to keep your tales entirely in someone else’s sandbox – well, this post should have provided new fodder for your imagination. Now go out and have fun!

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If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020. Order them today!

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9 thoughts on “New Perspectives on Old Franchises

  1. I’m a big fan of mashing up seemingly disparate elements. My series of novels grew out of the idea of an Edgar Rice Burroughs Character in a William S Burroughs world. Erik Rugar, the hero of Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts, is Phillip Marlowe crossed with Solomon Kane–a witch hunter in a city where the evil sorcerers rub elbows with corrupt politicians at the country club. I have several short stories in a setting I describe as The Hobbit meets Fiddler On The Roof.

    Granted, not all mashups will work (my “romantic comedy plus kaiju” story isn’t gelling so far) but even the failed attempts can spark other ideas, some of which will work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed – mash-ups are underrated methods for finding new stories. Even if the original connection doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean it is useless. It just means the writer has to find the right piece for the puzzle. 🙂

      Like

  2. There’s a certain effect in whether the mash-up is of public domain or not. It’s very different when you read a mash-up of Mother Goose and Greek mythology.

    (The Princess Seeks Her Fortune is a massive fairy tale mash-up but I wasn’t really aiming for disparate influences.)

    Liked by 1 person

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