Poll "Small Universe Syndrome" - Yay Or Nay?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by wayoung, Sep 9, 2021.

?

Do you enjoy fiction that has Small Universe Syndrome?

  1. Yes! I love when my favourite characters all end up connected!

    27 vote(s)
    67.5%
  2. No, it breaks my suspension of disbelief

    13 vote(s)
    32.5%
  1. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    ^That and they just announced it in the opening scroll, the laziest possible way of doing it. Even in Spectre Bond did a bit of detective work through the film to lead up to the Blofeld reveal. But just to drop it into the opening scroll was really weak storytelling, IMHO.
     
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  2. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the return of Palpatine wasn't the issue so much as it was hamfisted, badly-explained and just shoved in there because a lot of fans didn't like Snoke and Rian Johnson had already killed him off. One line in the movie about his Sith spirit inhabiting a new clone body created on Exegol would have gone a long way rather than having everyone do guesswork and try to remember EU material that's no longer canon and many in the audience would have never read.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The 30 year gap was ANOTHER big problem that was unfortunately unavoidable. The best time to set sequels was 5 to 10 years after ROTJ, but real life prevented that.

    They had to kill off Han to get Ford back, which would immediately alienate the SW Fandom. Plus, the fandom didn't want new heroes at all and just wanted the OT Cast to be the stars of the Sequels.

    Your descriptions work for ONE movie, not 3.

    If Star Wars had been done like the MCU, where it wasn't all about just one family and there were multiple villain threats and not just one big one, the Sequels would've had something to work with. But because the OT ended on such a final note of "The End, forever", they were in a bad spot.
     
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  4. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The thing of it is; they did! His name way Kylo Ren! They just were so dead set of making him Anakin 2.0 that they stupidly felt like they needed someone else to be the "real" bad guy so they could pull a 180 redemption story out of their collective butt.

    The more interesting choice for me was to NOT redeem him. Most people who are unrepentant arseholes, stay that way until the day they die. Indeed I'm 99% sure that's exactly what TLJ was supposed to be setting up since the last "vision" shot of Rey & Kylo in that movie was her literally shutting the door on him. If that's not supposed to say "I'm done with you", I don't know what is.

    Don't get me wrong; Driver gave a fantastic performance in every single scene, but the end of Kylo's arc makes no sense at all.
     
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  5. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, when the opening scroll was going on, my jaw dropped at how lazy it all felt. To me, I guess it summed up some of the worst problems the trilogy had in having something as a cohesive whole. They had a whole trilogy for development and they left it to the last movie.

    And that's another thing I found problematic about the movies. They assumed a whole lot on the viewership if much of it is relied on EU material. Fine if you're a big fan, but problematic if you're just a casual fan wanting to watch what is expected to be a mainline movie. As a result, Palpatine felt like it came out of nowhere.

    Certainly, I think a shorter time period would have been better overall, but time marches on. Of course, the risk of making sequels so long after had the unintended effect of building up the sequels to an unprecedented level of anticipation that couldn't have made it easy. It was kind of doomed in whatever they chose to do, and I think everyone likely was nervous in seeing everyone again.

    And we all know that never would have happened. The focus would have always been 50/50 like the other movies. Obi-Wan/ Qui-gon-Jin/Obi-Wan/Anakin in the PT, Luke/Obi-Wan/Yoda in the OT, and following that formula, we have Rey/Luke in the ST, along with the secondary legacy characters like Leia and Han. That's why anything else with family connections feels almost entirely superfluous. Anyone that was expecting a movie with just the legacy characters would have been in for a disappointment.

    Eh, not really. That'd be way too much to fit into one movie, and the movies already had way too much they were trying to cramp in and not really succeeding because there wasn't all that much of an arc to them.


    I dunno, if anything that would have made things even busier, which wouldn't have been better given how much difficulty they were having in putting out a cohesive trilogy. But as for the OT, they had nothing stopping them. It was the end of a trilogy, their trilogy mind you, and for the sequels, it was understandably a new era, therefore new potential. I'm not seeing it being the end at all.

    Yeah, they created ONE major villain. One. That hardly constitutes a new empire/order or whatever. He had nothing to push against, and it wasn't believable at all.

    Agreed there. In the end, I found it all pretty one-note though. Again, another example of a movie feeling rushed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
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  6. lawman

    lawman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One additional reason Lee was right there: everyone knows on some level (even when suspending disbelief!) that the author controls the story. There are expectations about how narratives work, and one of them is that you foreshadow things. If you build up a reveal of a villain's identity, it should be the culmination of something you've previously set up. If it's not, if it's just some random schmoe, then that doesn't come across as "realistic," it comes across as the storyteller having arbitrarily withheld information that would've made the reveal more dramatically effective.

    Granted, this dynamic is a bit different when you're dealing with multiple authors spread across decades, who aren't (and never could have been) actually collaborating on the same narrative. It's different again when you're dealing with a prequel that's in a position to retroactively "set up" (or undermine!) things the audience already knows. Still, if you can pull the trick off and make it read as if it was "intended" to be that way all along, then that makes for a really satisfying storytelling experience.

    For me, at least.
     
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  7. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly, no-win scenario...but then again SW has been that ever since ROTJ.

    The hope was that Rey would be a shrieking damsel with no competencies and skills whose only purpose would be for Luke to keep rescuing and berating for her uselessness.

    The OT killed off all the Darksiders without leaving any hint of where new ones would come from, and defeated the Empire. Then the Prequels came along and made fans hate the idea of Political Storylines and Alien enemies so the Sequels couldn't do those either, and then gave us this whole Prophecy thing which meant now NO darksiders could ever be used again without invalidating Vader's sacrifice.

    So the Sequels had nothing to work with.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    It's funny. I unknowingly had this same debate with my co-author on a YA novel decades ago. When it came time to reveal the identity of the masked villain, he wanted it to be this hitherto-unmentioned character, complete with an elaborate backstory and motive. I protested strenuously and suggested that maybe the bad guy should turn out to be the heroine's jealous ex-boyfriend instead, just because we'd already established him. My collaborator argued that this would be predictable (true) and not at all surprising (true again). I conceded the point, but insisted that a predictable "surprise" was still more dramatically satisfying than pulling a brand-new character, with a brand-new motive, out of thin air at the very end of the book. In the end, I got my way and ("surprise!") the bad guy turned out to be the bitter ex-boyfriend!

    Little did I know at the time that we were recapitulating that whole famous Lee/Ditko debate! :)
     
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  9. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Really? Hadn't heard that one. That really wouldn't happen in this day and age. I'd like to think that we've all matured beyond that.

    It sounds like they really were having to work uphill and had their work cut out for them. You know, at that point, I'd likely be nervous about working on SW due to the enormous amount of pressure. Fans are a fickle bunch, I'm sure they've noticed. I'm sure there are a lot of people approached to work on it who declined.
     
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  10. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think a certain vocal segment of fandom showed their true colors in recent years, and they might have preferred that kind of depiction.

    Kor
     
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  11. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The reaction that Finn and Rey got when the very first teasers showed them says otherwise.
     
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  12. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Prequel kind if killed it abit with it seemingly suggesting that the only darksiders can only be Sith.
    When a person can go over to the dark side with no affiliation. They just turned bad. Be it no training, lot of crap happening or just mentally mal adjusted.
    Ben was kind of that he wasn't Sith.
    But he was trained by the sith with Snoke.
     
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  13. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, Ok. I guess some people live in the past.
     
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  14. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Adult of Dubious Maturity Premium Member

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    History and circumstance also make conspiracy theories. :lol:

    As someone who grew up with comics, the idea it was all a big interconnected universe is kinda my default. BUT it totally depends on the quality of the writing. I'm very much in agreement with the Blofeld-Bond connection, for example, and Chuck definitely took it too far! OTOH, scenes like Bones showing up on TNG can be a nice connector.

    On the 3rd hand, there's stuff like this, which, in the hands of a skilled writer, can be oodles of fun! Heinlein deciding to connect pretty darn near EVERYTHING he ever wrote is another good example. I loved it. BUT I know not everyone does. Which is fine.

    That sums up why I prefer speculative fiction to pretty much everything else. :hugegrin:

    Cool. I have too. I hope to do so with others someday. I have also run into "small world syndrome" in real life - yes, it happens rarely enough to be remarked upon, but it also happens to nearly everyone. Again, fiction can be a little more fast-and-loose with those sorts of things.

    THAT was AWESOME. Thank you!

    I like your ideas, and your point is taken. They had THREE movies to make this work and they messed it up. As @lawman pointed out later in the thread, it's called foreshadowing. Hell, the "shadow" part is even in the name! :lol:
    [​IMG]

    I gotta disagree. He's Leia and Han's kid, and Luke messed up. He *had* to be redeemed IMO. Honestly, I loved how that was done. It showed Rey as a little bit different kind of Jedi.
     
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  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is where my stupid brain and it's willingness to recall small details is annoying. I remembered both that and found Plapatine's return only annoying because it made Palpatine uber powerful, which was my biggest problem with the PT and TCW. Remembering that detail? No big deal for me.
    Agreed. Honestly, Lucas ended on such a final note in the OT that it will always be the end. Any stories outside of that will always feel superfluous.
    Even with the PT there were people who declined. It's not an easy place to navigate through, due to a number of factors. One of the biggest things I have noticed with properties like Star Wars and Star Trek is less of a moving forward attitude and more of a recapturing youthful feelings attitude.
    Sad but true.
     
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  16. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Palpatine's return was written in a very annoying fashion no matter where one comes down on the old EU stories.
     
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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I suppose. I put it down as annoying with a lower case "a" and type 5 font. But, honestly, it's only annoying because I wanted more of Snoke.

    But, that aside, and more on topic...

    As I stated earlier it's not in how you wield it. To me, connecting all your works is like garlic. Now, you can work garlic in to almost every part of the meal, and dish you serve, as one restaurant near me loves to do. But, if not done effectively, it can end up just smelling nice and tasting awful. Now, I love Heinlein-he's the reason I got further in to speculative fiction than just Star Trek TOS. I enjoyed his little nods, and the notes he had, especially around Podakyne of Mars. It's fun and it shows a level of self-awareness that can work at the meta level. But, to go back to my garlic example, I don't want it in everything. Some times I want a small stand alone story and close the book and be satisfied with that. As I said, it's a weird balance to be struck so I'm not inclined to be like "No, bad!" but becoming less inclined to always go "Yes, good!"

    Ok, as if this wasn't rambly enough I'll add this in-if I were writing a world were I could find the connections that made sense and tie them together in a way that felt a bit like it made sense. Like Greg was talking about, Frankenstein's Monster meeting the Wolfman works in a way because those stories exist in a heightened reality type of a way. And I think that's why speculative fiction can work with it more because there is already and otherness to the world building that invites interconnectivity. But, it sometimes pulls the curtain back a little too much.
     
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  18. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Meant to run for several years, as they spent a lot on the standing sets.
     
  19. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A bit after that, but long ago for us, Robin Hood, Little John, Maid Marion and the villainous sherif were originally in separate tales where the crossover became dominant.
     
  20. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So have I, and when It's happened it's been really quite the stunning unexpected occurrence. See, there's this one time a friend down the street was going away on vacation. I didn't know so at the time, and it turned out I was going on vacation as well. What are the chances then, that we happen to vacation in the same towm, visiting the same museum, and be in the same room at the same time? It was an art museum (National Art Gallery in Ottawa, Canada), and when I walked in the cafeteria and saw him sitting there with his family, I was quite shocked and surprised.

    Another time, in 2013, my Dad and I are off on a long roadtrip, we're talking roughly 3000km away from home, and we're in Utah at the time when we decide to stop at some random convenience store in the middle of nowhere for some snacks. Just being the friendly person I am, I tell the cashier where I'm from, and she tells me she grew up in a town in the same district I'm in, which is a small rural town away from any major urban area. I was quite astonished.

    Yeah, that's the ticket. Didn't really feel like they'd use any of it throughout the sequels. But I think that also points at some of the trouble they'd had during production. What they really should have done is have all the writers agree to a timeline, that way even if they'd have a change in director, they could effectively be able to tell a tighter story.

    Was it? I'd only ever saw 6 or 8 episodes when it was available on Netflix a few years ago.
     
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