Wednesday, September 8, 2010
To PRE or Not to PRE?
As I’ve said before (and also re-posted links to Danny Pitt Stoller’s great articles as such) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are often [and I feel erroneously] read in chronological order. Technically, of course, The Magician’s Nephew is a prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But for many, it’s not seen/understood that way, though it is most definitely a prequel as far as Lewis is concerned — he didn’t know the events himself when he wrote LWW!
George Lucas’s epic saga of Star Wars is famous for having prequels. But let’s face the facts. It’s a bit different than with C.S. Lewis. Here, they are not really prequels. Lucas had written out the grand scheme of the story he wished to tell from the start. Granted, it received rewrites and drop-outs, but on the whole, he knew the spine of the story. Due to feasibility concerns he began his tale in the middle. (Also because Episode IV - A New Hope is the only part that can manage to stand alone [in case it had been a flop.]) I cannot confirm that it is true, but allegedly Hayden Christensen wants to one day show his kids the episodes “in order,” meaning beginning with Episode I - The Phantom Menace. (I think that would ruin the suspense of the saga, just for the record.) Either way, the “prequel trilogy” is only such because they came out secondary to the “original” set. According to Lucas’s musing and composition, they’re not — at least not in the same sense as Lewis.
Those are but two examples of this "phenomenon."
When I’d been writing Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between I always thought of it as an interquel (a sequel to one story and a prequel to another). I had just assumed that people would already know the story of Peter Pan (a.k.a. Peter and Wendy.) Anon pointed out to me that someone, however, just might not know that story and read the adventures of Peter Pan from “the beginning,” starting with Barrie’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (or The Little White Bird), moving on to my interquel and then on to the story most of us know. It didn’t really occur to me that someone wouldn't consider it an "adventure before." (To quote Slightly in Hogan’s version: Stupid of me.) But seriously, although unlikely, it’s bound to happen. Thus, in that sense, I did not write an interquel/prequel.
The status of “prequel” is relative. Something to think about, eh?