After about a month of rumors, Summit Entertainment (the current owners the Twilight Saga films) and Lionsgate (the current owners of The Hunger Games films) announced that they were merging their studios. It wasn’t something that was of a huge interest to most fans until the CEO of Lionsgate, Jon Feltheimer, spoke to the LA Times about the future of the Twilight franchise. When asked if there would be more films, he stated, “It's hard for me to imagine a movie that does $700 million-plus doesn't have ongoing value. It's an amazing franchise that they have done a great job of maintaining with absolutely no deterioration. So the simple answer is 'Boy I hope so.'" Then he was asked a follow-up question about that future involving television. Lionsgate, unlike Summit, has a TV arm. Feltheimer replied “I certainly hope so.”
Feltheimer’s two speculative statements were all that were needed to set off a firestorm of discussion among fans. What would a television show look like? Would fans actually tune in? Was it even a likely reality? Perhaps most importantly, was this a good idea on any level? So here’s what the fanbase seems to think based on some polling that I did over at the Twilight Lexicon last week.
The most basic of questions is, “Would the fans want a TV show?” Only 27% of the fansbase responded to that question with a flat-out “no”. The remainder were split between instant approval and maybe. The most important thing to the fans in these last two categories was the involvement of Stephenie Meyer. It’s no shock to anyone that Twilight fans are highly protective of their franchise. They don’t like deviation from what is in the books. Author Stephenie Meyer is for many fans the final word when it comes to change. If Stephenie Myer approves it, then they’ll accept adjustments. One fan named Jackie summed it up by stating, “I think a TV show or series would be a great idea. It would have to have Stephenie involved to have the same continuity as the books. Her story and the way she tell it is what sells the books and the movies, it would not work if it went in any other direction.”
Now the other item of note is that many of those who spoke up in support of the TV show spoke about casting. Overwhelmingly people said that they would have a hard time adjusting to anyone but the current movie actors in the various roles. Although they recognize that Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner will likely want to end their association with the Twilight Saga and move on to other projects, they aren’t entirely committed to watching if someone else fills these iconic roles. One fan named Halek addressed this and another problem regarding the forever frozen in time age of the vampires, “It would be hard for any Twilight TV series not to look like a crass cash-in. I have difficulty imagining stars of Sheen, Pattinson, Stewart, and Fanning’s pay grade doing a Twilight TV series. And frankly, very soon if not already Pattinson and Stewart will have aged out of their roles. (Sure, in some franchises vampires can appear to age, but not this one.) So that leaves out both Bella-Edward continuing story and the Volturi backstory unless it was recast and/or rebooted.” It’s certainly a valid point given the mythology that the vampires are frozen in time. Pattinson’s days of being able to realistically able to portray a seventeen-year-old are evaporating quickly is they are not in fact already gone.
So, assuming all the hurdles were overcome and all the proverbial ducks fell in a row, what would a TV show look like? There seemed to be four possible directions: The Cullen family prior to coming to Forks, a Volturi-centric show in any time period, a continuation picking up where the films and books left off, and a reboot of the book timeframe. The landslide choice among fans was the continuation of the story. Specifically, they wanted to know what Edward and Bella’s life together would look like. Do Jacob and Nessie find happiness as she grows up? They also wanted to know how Leah’s story would conclude, and if the trouble with the Volturi was over. Voting was somewhat split over where the main focus should be; however, the Bella and Edward focus did have a slight lead.
On the other hand, those who wanted a backstory approach had some pretty persuasive arguments. Given the information that came out in the recently released The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide there is more than enough untouched material. One notable fan named Elizabeth actually came up with a unique idea. “It would be nice if they used the other “satellite” stories in the Twilight Universe. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner would make an excellent TV show and I, for one, would love to see Freaky Fred.” Elizabeth then continued by supporting the idea of using the material from the Official Illustrated Guide. She stated, “…an episode (or series of episodes) could be made using the back stories of the characters from the Official Illustrated Guide (Benjamin and Tia would be awesome to see). I’d love to see Emmett and the Bear, and even more so, Alice’s story fleshed out on screen.”A fan named Joshua continued with this vision pointing out that delving into the future might not be an avenue that Stephenie Meyer would want to take. He stated, “In reality the best bet for a TV series would be focusing on events that occurred before the Twilight books because it is safe. Stephenie would be very reluctant to hand the “future” of her series to other people, and the TV series could directly conflict with her vision for her existing characters, whereas there is enough material in the backstories that Lionsgate/ Summit could make dozens of episodes without touching the core story. I don’t think any of us would like them to mess with the core story, more than they already have.”
Clearly there are many possibilities here, and nothing has been officially announced. For every movie to TV or TV to movie success story such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek, there are just as many abject failures. The real test here, should it come to pass, will be the concept of the book to movie to TV of what is a megafranchise. That exact combo is as of now untried.
Where do you stand? Do you want a Twilight TV series? If you do, what would be the ideal focus? After 295 days the Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn: Part 2 will come out and the Twilight Saga will be over…or will it?