Right, so the question: If an actor’s vision for the character whom they bring to life and/or a writer’s vision of life in the Canon Universe is not consistent with a popular trend in a fandom, should the Canon-verse be altered to accommodate the fans’ desires? Should fans press for it to be so?
To me, shipping and fandom are something completely separate to canon. Ten years ago I was shipping Harry/Draco, but I wouldn’t have wanted it to actually be written into the books, it wouldn’t have fit.
You can’t please everyone. Whilst you may hear overwhelmingly about how fans would wish for something to happen, there might be an equal number of people who wouldn’t want that to happen, who would then feel less valued if the creator actually changes the show to go with what the fans that speak the loudest want.
Every fan has their own idea, even if some of these ideas are very similar to those belonging to other fans, so there’s no reason why the actor’s vision of the character should in any way be discredited in favour of the fans’.
However, I do feel that the fans’ ideas shouldn’t be discredited. If thousands of people are seeing something that the creator or actor isn’t, then they should maybe take a look at why that is. Fandom is incredible. People won’t just say “I ship these two characters because they’re hot”. (I mean, they might, but it won’t be the only thing you’ll find.). There are many complex, extremely-well written metas on why certain fans think certain things, and quite often you read them and find yourself agreeing with an interpretation that you’d never considered before. They’re not usually just picking things out of thin air. So whilst I’m not saying one should change one’s writing or portrayal of a character to fit in with what the fans want, I’m not saying one shouldn’t. It should be considered as an option, take a tiny bite and pass it round a metaphorical mouth to test the taste, the texture, the temperature in order to decide whether or not you like it. Lots of foods that look unappetising on the surface taste absolutely delicious and add wonderful depth to a meal.
But if canon and fandom are to remain separate, with fans not influencing the direction the work goes in at all, then they should remain separate. So if you’re not going to ever even consider showing two characters in a romantic relationship, don’t use the idea of that relationship to promote the show. If, for example, fans think a character is bi, don’t heavily suggest it, then say “nah, that was actually nothing”. Don’t bait. There’s nothing that will cause people to run away from a show faster. I was happy shipping Harry/Draco and have it not happen in the books because there was never a hint that it would ever happen, and it wasn’t mentioned at all in publicity. I mean, I remember Tom Felton mentioning it in an interview once, but everyone agreed it just didn’t match how the books were being written and the story was going.
So I suppose to sum up my rambley not-very-well-written post, I do not think canon-verse should be altered specifically to meet the fans’ desires. I think you risk alienating a lot of viewers if you claim to have changed things for the benefit of other viewers. I do, however, think that creators should look at why the fans are seeing the things they do and consider them seriously as a viable option, even if you didn’t have it in mind initially. Characters grow themselves away from you. I wanted one of my characters in a novel I’m working on to live in a small, modern apartment. Turned out she wanted to live in a terraced house with an eccentric middle-class landlady. And finally, if you are going to ignore the fans’ wishes - as is your right to do so - put your blinkers on. Don’t bait. Don’t tease. Don’t suggest it might happen if you don’t have any intention of following through. People can deal with won’t. They can’t deal with maybe.
23 April 2014