For fantasy franchises, 2022 was a rough year. From Middle-earth madness, to not-so-secret Disney agendas, to yet another creative disaster threatening to destroy the DC multiverse, fans have gone through drastic changes. What were the top threats to fantasy fandoms in 2022? And how should Christians view the grief process after corporations seem to destroy the best worlds?
- Enclave Publishing: Silver Bounty by Victoria McCombs
- The Sentinel Trilogy by Jamie Foley
- The Pop Culture Parent by Ted Turnau, E. Stephen Burnett, and Jared Moore
- As usual, we try to limit our popular culture criticism at Lorehaven
- We’d rather shine light on fantastically excellent stories by Christians
- Yet we all enjoy fantastical franchises created by non-Christian artists
- So we suggest that it’s legit to grieve when those stories do fall apart.
- Some of this involves political issues, yet we’ll focus on morality.
- This episode builds on Stephen’s solo episode 122 back last July
- That focused on the fan healing. Here we focus on other grief stages.
- Stephen felt a lot of this at Christmas about the whole DC mess (later).
- Yet he will try to discipline himself, and acknowledge other fans’ grief!
1. Fantasy streaming keeps crossing the fans
The Witcher and Willow cast dark spells that backfire
- The Witcher isn’t our fandom (because it harms actors; see episode 5)
- There’s the first of two Henry Cavill–related messes (see chapter 3 later)
- Many fans are also raging at the show(s) about cheap/“woke” messaging
- The same is true of Willow, Disney Plus’s new sequel to the 1980s fantasy film
The Rings of Power divides Middle-earthers
- As in episode 143, Stephen concludes the show had some bad marketing.
- Fans can legitimately disagree about whether the story was at least made well.
- Stephen thinks the show breaks not only Tolkien’s timeline but anthropology.
- Even the Peter Jackson films clearly show men protecting women/children.
- Yes, even The Hobbit part 3 is outrageously “based” in showing this concept.
- If women fight/lead all the time, that breaks virtue and the Eowyn story.
- Amazon executives seem to favor egalitarianism in TROP and The Wheel of Time.
2. Disney dooms its ‘family friendly’ image
Star Wars fans keep fighting their dark sides
- This year brought Boba Fett (mixed) and Obi-Wan (mixed-negative).
- Stephen didn’t hate Boba Fett, but after that we got bad Disney news.
- Andor’s approach seems to have won over fans (Stephen hasn’t seen it).
- Yet the perception continues: Star Wars is at best adrift in its own space.
Disney’s ‘not so secret’ agenda ruins the magic
- In late March, Chris Rufo leaked video of Disney creators being honest.
- This voiced to what many Christians suspected (even back in the ’90s).
- Perhaps this great corporation “thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.”
- That summer, audiences bombed both Lightyear and Strange World.
- Critics liked them, and were just aw-shucks confused why families didn’t.
- We yet stand by our takes on streaming-service boycotts in episode 41.
- Meanwhile, Disney’s just had some lackluster stuff, like Disenchanted.
3. Marvel and DC super-fatigue crash-lands
She-Hulk and more makes Marvel fans get angry
- A lot of this is related to the Disney doomed magic. They own all things.
- Stephen skipped all Marvel TV shows this year. Hawkeye was meh.
- (By the way, actual prayers for the recovering Jeremy Renner!)
- Lots of fans have been feeling that “meh,” from MCU movies and shows.
- Now the Mouse has dumped Bob Chapek and reverted to its last Bob.
- This older Bob implies he’ll be less political—meaning less obviously so?
- But the big issue seems to be this emphasis on quantity > quality.
- “Superhero fatigue” is real, but it’s frankly not the heroes’ fault.
DC hires villains(?) to ‘Gunn’ down popular heroes
- While the MCU has too much meh content, DC is self-immolating.
- In late October, Henry Cavill announced his return as Superman.
- Weeks later, new DC Studios co-chief James Gunn cancelled that news.
- Stephen’s article argues that Gunn creates “deathworks” and will ruin DC.
Paul Regnier remarked on Stephen’s article:
The “reconstruction” of Superman you talked about reminded me of the path Captain America took in the Marvel universe. They may have experienced some dissolution of their original outlook on things, but their noble drive only became more sharpened because of it.
The current Marvel path is pretty disappointing as well. After watching Thor Love and Thunder, I can’t imagine spending another dime on a Thor sequel.
Andrew Trauger also remarked:
It’s also yet another display of a profound lack of originality. Few movies or TV shows are portraying truly original content, preferring instead to milk a formula to its bitter end (and well beyond). While woke ideology, political correctness, sodomy, and other anti-life themes are seeping into the subtext (and sometimes the actual text), most of these shows garner a big, fat “meh” from me. Zero stars for retelling Superman all over…AGAIN!
Many shared the books they’ve given or received for Christmas:
Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore to my older brother
I got The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson!
Lorehaven mission update
- We’ve had so much more reading discussion in the Lorehaven Guild.
- This week we started our Prince Caspian book quest on Monday.
- We’ve also reviewed the pirate fantasy novel Silver Bounty.
- The following Friday we plan to have a retro review of Prince Caspian.
- Watch for more articles as our team of staff creators return aboard ship.
Next on Fantastical Truth
Long ago, before there was C. S. Lewis, before there was J. R. R. Tolkien, and before there was even George MacDonald or G. K. Chesterton … there was another fantasy writer, British poet Edmund Spenser. In the 1590s his poem was published in six books. It’s an epic fantasy allegorical poem, written in nine-line stanzas, involving phrases like “iambic parameter” and other incredible facts we need explained by a literature expert! So in our next episode we’ll be joined by Rebecca K. Reynolds, classic literature educator, audiobook narrator, and editorial director for Oasis Family Media. She will introduce us to this long-forgotten classic returned to life: The Faerie Queene.
Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.