How do Lord Of The Rings, Marvel Studios, Harry Potter, and Star Wars remain relevant? Is it down to constant content?
I made a post about this a few months ago. But I feel like it’s something that’s always rattling around in my head and needs to be said. Why do some media franchises DOMINATE the world, but when they end, they vanish from the public eye. It’s probably normal human nature to lose interest- out of sight, out of mind. But as a loyal fan with a long memory, I feel like certain franchises are timeless and look back on my interest in them like it was just yesterday.
During the late ’90s to early ’00s, Harry Potter ruled the world. All us nerds waited till 1 in the morning to get the last book in the 7 book series. I was 12, just a week shy of 13 when my mother allowed me to go to a local bookstore (well past my bedtime) to get my hands on Deathly Hallows. Harry Potter was so relevant in 2007! Every kid wanted to read it, even kids who didn’t like reading. Now it’s 2021, and most “modern” 12-year-olds have never heard of Harry Potter. Where did it go? Why does the flame go out just because there isn’t any kindling?
That seems like a silly question, but the magic and depth of these franchises should be ever burning. But that only seems to happen if they have new content.
Star Wars churns out new stuff every MONTH. But I wonder if it would still be as popular if George Lucas had stopped after 1983. Would there be an Expanded Universe? Star Wars did go through a dry spell from 1984-1991 until Timothy Zahn reenergized it with his Heir to the Empire books. Okay, so that may be the answer. But even if they did make Heir to the Empire but NO prequels, and NO sequels, would kids still dress as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker for Halloween? We’ll never know.
Then there is the other side of this effect, where they churn out so much stuff that you almost get sick of it. I am currently experiencing Marvel fatigue. They crank out 2-3 Marvel movies per year (except during the pandemic). And it ruins the anticipation and fun of waiting 2 years to get to finally see it.
LORD OF THE RINGS
Now. Enter a franchise that never dies and always has new fans who want to take a crack at it. Lord of the Rings. My cousin is a huge LOTR fan, and read the books relatively recently in his adult life. There were the LOTR movies in the early 2000s, but many times we don’t see much stuff going on. However, when push comes to shove, Tolkien is always picked up and resurrected again. What’s its secret? I was never a Tolkien fan, but I admire much about its storytelling and groundbreaking beginning.
So, do these iconic franchises need new content to remain relevant? You be the judge. leave a comment below and join the conversation. We love hearing your feedback.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!