“Quercus Publishing has announced it will publish a fourth installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.” – Quill & Quire
Is it the money? Is it the vanity of stars and directors and authors who think they can do it better? Or, is it simply easier to tinker with something old rather than coming up with something new?
Perhaps, all of these. And then, there’s another matter I’ll mention in a moment.
As a writer, I cannot imagine finding any joy of creation by re-doing already successful screen plays or by adding sequels to an acclaimed author’s series. Perhaps as satire. “The Girl With No Tattoos Whatsoever.” – Now that, I would like.
Otherwise, I see the characters of a novel as being an extension of the original author. While it’s highly unlikely anyone will find new stories to tell about my fictional characters Robert Adams (“The Sun Singer”) or David Ward (“The Seeker”), I promise to haunt anyone who tries to do it. In fact, maybe I’ll hired a wizard too put a hex on the books.
The estate of Stieg Larsson has authorized David Lagercrantz to write a fourth novel in the Millennium series. Even if I spoke perfect Swedish, I wouldn’t line up to read any work that trades on the heritage of the dead.
Likewise, as the “Quill and Quire” article points out, Ian Flemming has been dead for 50 years, but a new James Bond novel called Solo came out this fall. While the Guardian says it’s better than some of the originals, it has as much to do with Flemming as many of the Bond films.
In September, Publishers Weekly announced that the Agatha Christie estate, has authorized Sophie Hannah to write a new Hercule Poirot. Poirot is famous for saying, “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.” One might say the same thing about authors and fictional characters: that it’s better to create your own rather than use somebody else’s creations.
There was a lot of talk, especially here in Georgia, about why the Margaret Mitchell Estate authorized Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig in 2007. The first Gone With The Wind sequel, Scarlett (also auhorized) was written by Alexandra Ripley in 1991 and a lot of fans didn’t like it because it took Scarlett away from Atlanta and dodged all the questions fans might have about the character’s life after GWTW.
A Good Reason for the Sequels
Why such sequels? Many say that estates worry about the potentially expiring copyrights on original works and authorize sequels they can oversee before one of the vultures flying over the original author’s grave swoops in and writes his/her own version of the now-famous characters. What if Scarlett went out and got a dragon tattoo, for example. What if Rhett showed up in a Star Trek holodeck and said he always thought Scarlett should have married Ashley? The potential horrors are infinite.
I see the point in protecting the copyrights because there’s a lot of bad taste in the world and, sorry to say, some novelists and screenwriters are willing to disseminate it to make a buck. But otherwise, it seems like grave robbing.
Copyright issues or not, what a waste of talent!
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Emily’s Stories,” “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” and the heaven and hell fantasy “The Seeker.”