So, this week the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker would be playing the next Dr Who and the Internet lost it’s collective shit. Because in a TV show where the main character is an alien that regenerates every now and then into a new body and owns a phone box that is inexplicably ten times the size on the inside than the outside and can travel between planets and lifetimes, it’s just not believable that the doctor could be a female. This isn’t a post about how much that proves we haven’t moved on as far as we think we have in terms of feminism though – and I am in no means glossing over that fact, because it IS fact, and is more than likely something I’ll be writing about in more depth soon enough. It’s about the way people have this bizarre belief that they ‘own’ the rights to something fictional that was actually written by someone else, and get so outraged when someone turns out to have a different perception of it.
We see it all the time. Remember when someone dared to suggest Idris Elba would make a good Bond? When Alexandra Burke won the X Factor and released a version of ‘Hallelujah’? When an all female version of Ghostbusters was made? There probably has never been a film or TV version of a book or comic that hasn’t royally pissed some fans off. But why?? Why do some people believe that their own vision of a story or a character is the right one? And why does it anger them so much when someone disagrees?
I’ve never really understood people that respond in this way. I’m an avid reader, theatre fan and movie watcher. There are novels, films and musicals that I love dearly, that hold a special place in my heart, and I can only picture them the way they are in my own head. I can completely see why someone wouldn’t like the idea of a remake. When Peter Jackson was names as the Director of the film version of The Lovely Bones, one of my all time favourite books, I was excited, but it didn’t live up to expectations. It was far darker and more sinister than the book had read to me. I remember hating that Atomic Kitten covered Eternal Flame, by my childhood heroes The Bangles, when I was college age. And when I read that Holly Golightly in the stage version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s was going to be played by Pixie Lott? I was not impressed. So did I throw a tantrum about it? Did I burn the books and declare them ruined? Did I wage war on the creators that dared to skew my version of reality? No, of course not, because that is insane. I just read the book again, played the old version of the song and didn’t go to see the play. That’s it.
Because those new versions didn’t stop the old ones from existing. They didn’t replace them. They were just different. that’s all, and who is to say my version was the right one? We’re talking about things that were written years ago and have been read, watched or listened to by millions, all of whom will have taken away a different idea. Are we really so arrogant as to believe our take away can be the only correct one? I remember at school while discussing Shakespeare, wondering what he would have thought if he could overhear our debate. Would he have agreed with our comments, or would he have thought we were nuts, trying to find deep meaning in his words which he just scribbled down one day about a couple he met once that lived up the road? How could we possibly know what he was thinking at the time?
To me, the beauty of literature, music and movies, is that they have the power to stir ideas and emotions, to create a world that didn’t exist until that very moment, that is very real, and very meaningful to us and us only. It would be ridiculous to assume others experienced the same thing as you. To attack someone’s creative stance on something? To me that kills the very thing that makes it special to begin with – the freedom and magic of imagination. To try and control that would dampen the spirit that created such beauty in the first place, and I just can’t see why anyone would want that.
Someone making a crappy remake of your favourite thing should never have the power to destroy it for you. At most, all it should do is make you love the original more! If it genuinely does? Then sorry, my friend, but you might need therapy. Because lets not forget the most important part….
NONE OF IT IS ACTUALLY REAL, PEOPLE!