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When Fanfiction Becomes Canon: Twilight; Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel, My Little Pony Equestria Girls, Adventure Time’s Fionna and Cake, and Supernatural

30 Sep

Fanfiction where fans of books and TV shows expand on the characters and the universe to create their own spins has become a huge part of Sci-fi and Fantasy fandoms especially with the ease of sharing content on the internet.  Many of the reviews of the recent Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which depicts many of the characters from the main series as adults along with their own children, have claimed that the play reads a bit like fan fiction, which had me thinking about times when fan fiction ideas and creations have made the jump to becoming canonized as part of the actual series.

Twilight; Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel, by Stephenie Meyer

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In honor of the 10th Anniversary of Twilight last year, Stephenie Meyer released a double book with her Young Adult novel starring the vampire Edward and human Bella on one side and bound on the opposite the story told with the gender roles reversed so that it is the story of a human male who falls in love with a female vampire.  She was inspired by fan fiction about the characters. Meyer had also released online a portion of Twilight rewritten from Edward’s perspective.  Infamously also the very adult Fifty Shades series began as Twilight fanfiction; E.L. James also published Grey, with her first book told from Christian Grey’s perspective in 2015.  Borrow all of the Twilight series and Life and Death from BCCLS libraries.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls

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As a little girl I loved My Little Ponies–both the TV movies and the pastel colored toys.  The ponies have since went through several different incarnations.   The most recent series centers on Twilight Sparkles and her five new BFFs, who learns about friendship when Twilight takes up residence in Ponyville.  I wasn’t sure about the new series based on my beloved childhood memories, but the fact that Twilight Sparkles loves books and resided, in the beginning of the series, in a library inside a tree won me over.  The surprising thing about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was it wasn’t just little girls this time becoming fans of the show, but also young men who enjoyed the clever animation.  There wasn’t just fan fiction springing up but remixes of the music in the episodes, a vast variety of art, and more.  My Little Pony Fan Conventions popped up across the country.  At the Cons fans often dressed up as human versions of their favorite ponies which were also depicted in some of the fan art.  This inspired Hasbro to create movies based on an alternative universe where the ponies all have human counter parts.  You can borrow the Equestria Girl movies Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games from Hoopla.  BCCLS libraries also have the first in the series Equestria Girls and many of the cartoon series and movies that have appeared through the years.

Adventure Time’s Fionna and Cake

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Although I am totally behind in my viewing of it Adventure Time about the last human boy, Finn, and his magical transforming dog, Jake, living in post-apocalyptic land with a candy kingdom, flying unicorn, and a crazy ice king is another cartoon with a lot of adult fans.  Quirky characters and an intriguing story line make it fun for the whole family.  The creator Pendleton Ward was inspired by Dungeon and Dragons (something I loved playing with my Dad and sister as a kid).  My husband and I enjoy watching Adventure Time with our son, who is still a bit too young for D&D.  Like Twilight its fan fiction moment that became canon comes from gender swapping the characters.  Natasha Allegri who worked on the show created some sketches of Finn as Fionna and Jake as a female cat Cake.  Not only were fans charmed, but so was Ward and Fionna and Cake have appeared in several of the episodes of the show.  Fun fact: Neil Patrick Harris performs the voice of Prince Gumball (in place of Princess Bubblegum) in some of the gender swap episodes.  You can borrow seasons One through Five of Adventure Time from BCCLS Libraries.

Supernatural

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Some fantasy series start out strong and then burn out fast, but Supernatural has lasted for over ten seasons and survived the jump from the WB to the CW network.  The show follows the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on their endless road trip fighting demons and saving the world time after time.  Having been on so long there are few myths and legends the series hasn’t at some point focused on.  The series has acknowledged fan fiction in several stories.  Season 10’s fifth episode is even titled “Fan Fiction”; the episode focuses on a teacher’s disappearance at an all girl’s school, where they are performing a musical based on the Carver Edlund’s comic book series which is the story of the brother’s adventures.  In earlier episodes, in a metafiction twist, Edlund was revealed as a sort of prophet, who  has visions about the brother’s journey.  These episodes allow the show to lovingly poke fun at some of what has become standard in both the series’s fan fiction as well as the series itself.

Have more examples of when Fan Fiction became Canon?  Let us know in the comments!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

LGBTQ Pride Month Selections that Show Families Can Come in Many Shapes: Romeo, Romeo; Chutney Popcorn; and Any Day Now

1 Jun

So in past Junes I’ve written about some amazing LGBT authors and biographies of some of my favorite LGB actors, for this year’s post I wanted to blog about some films that look at LGBT families from a variety of backgrounds.  All are available for streaming from Hoopla for Hoboken Public Library resident card holders and other BCCLS members.

Romeo Romeo

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Romeo Romeo, a short documentary from 2012, looks at the lives of Jessica Casano-Antonellis and Lexy Casano-Antonellis as they struggle to conceive.  The Romeo in the title refers to the son they are desperately hoping for.  Romeo Romeo is sometimes funny and other times heartbreaking.  Many of their difficulties will be relatable to any couple who has struggled with issues of fertility and both the emotional and financial costs that occur.  Romeo Romeo gave me a deeper understanding of what couples or individuals who are going through treatments like IVF go through both procedurally as well as personally.  Every time the couple took a pregnancy test I found myself hoping along with them that it would come back positive.  It was heartwarming to see their friends and family showing their support.  Lexy has a pretty singing voice and works part time as a performer so her lovely vocals are featured throughout Romeo Romeo.  You can see an interview with the director Lisa Gottlieb here.

Chutney Popcorn

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In Chutney Popcorn, Reena, played by Nisha Ganatra, leads a comfortable life working in a salon creating intricate henna designs, riding her motorcycle, and spending time with her spunky girlfriend.  Then when her recently married sister learns she is infertile, Reena decides to act as surrogate, throwing her life in to chaos as first her sister decides she might not want the baby after all and then her girlfriend breaks up with her.  Nisha Ganatra also directed, co-wrote, and produced the film. More recently Ganatra directed several episodes of the ground breaking series Transparent about a family’s evolution as they learn one of their members is transgender.  Playing Reena’s girlfriend Lisa is Jill Hennessy, who you might remember as Jordan Cavanaugh, in one of my favorite procedurals from the early 2000s Crossing Jordan.  Notable Indian actress, Madhur Jaffrey, gives perhaps the best performance of the movie as Reena’s mother, who slowly learns to embrace her daughter’s orientation.  I remember watching this film in college back when it came out in 1999.  Re-watching Chutney Popcorn recently, it was fun to flash back to 90’s fashion.  It was jolting, however, to realize that just 15 years ago that Reena’s announcing to her mom that she wouldn’t be getting married because she was gay seemed like something that at the time might always be true and made me realize how far LGBT Rights have come.  Check this out for a sweet story that shows the power of love and family.  Chutney Popcorn is also available to borrow on DVD for BCCLS members.

Any Day Now

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As mentioned in last year’s Pride Month post, Alan Cumming is one of my favorite actors so I was interested to check out Any Day Now, a film where he portrays part of a gay couple who take in a child with Down syndrome after the teen’s mom goes to jail.  Despite the love and support they provide, they face legal challenges due to prejudice against their relationship.  Although set in the late seventies/early eighties as a period piece, the original script for Any Day Now had actually been written over 30 years before the movie was made by Emmy winning Screenwriter George Arthur Bloom, who was inspired by a real story.  Travis Fine, who also directed Any Day Now did some rewriting, but the “heart and soul of [his] screenplay remain as the anchor to the movie,” according to Bloom (you can see an interview with him here).  The movie has a powerful message about justice and equality, but the strong performances of the actors help it rise above simply didacticism.  Alan Cumming gives an amazing performance as Rudy Donatello, a singer and sometimes drag performer, who shows heart and courage when facing a biased world.  Garret Dillahunt performance as his partner Paul, is much quieter, but still conveys great emotion.   Any Day Now is also available on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library and other BCCLS libraries.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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