No, this post isn't about the awesome 1984 flick that shaped a chunk of my childhood. But I will point to another monumentally influential film as an example of what I fear.
Embracing of technology as I am, I am afraid of the never-ending story.
Case in point: Star Wars.
By now you Star Whores (see what I did there?) may know that the interwebs were all abuzz with last week's revelation that George Lucas has yet again gone back and tinkered with his films in preparation for the up-coming Blu Ray release, adding pointless things like Vader yelling "Nooooo!" when he tosses the Emperor into a flashing, high-voltage, God-knows-what abyss at the end of Jedi, or the cringe-inducing oddness of giving Wicket freaky digital eyelids. (I'm not joking... but I wish I was...)
Now maybe old George is just the poster child of the compulsive self-editor who can't help but go back and tread the same waters over and over again looking to tweak crap until he's simply doing it just for the sake of tweaking. But it's not out of the question to think that, in the age of e-readers, books could fall victim to the same sort of non-completion. Get a couple of cranky reviews on a book, pull it down, tweak it, and set it up again for new scrutiny. We're already encouraged to change a cover if your books not selling, even though there's hardly proof the cover has anything to do with it.
So the question is: is anything ever done?
When Hollywood remakes, reboots, and reissues any story you could ever think of, tacks on franchise tags and sequels to even the most inane of properties, and dishes up rehashes of the same stuff on multiple DVD editions and "director's cuts," its hard not to wonder if in the age of the digital books publishing couldn't fall into those same traps. I'm not saying it will happen, I just wouldn't be shocked if it did.
This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I miss the idea of a finished product. Its there on paper (or screen) in all its glory or failure for generations to marvel at. When its done, its done, and let the chips fall where they may. I think its unfortunately to have a "Lucas" mentality, where everything is subject to alterations no matter what the original incarnation of your work looked like. I mean, honestly, Star Wars SHAPED A GENERATION! If Lucas can't stop messing with a classic, what's to stop us from rewriting until the end of time that little indie book that's not selling so great, when instead we should be moving on to the next project.
Maybe its just me, but I like things set in stone. I like a story being cover to cover or first reel to last reel and letting that work be judged on its own singular merits. I miss endings.
So put a fork in it, Lucas; that goose is cooked. Go find a new dish to serve up.
(And honestly, if you're going to go back and change anything, could you maybe hop in the DeLorean and go un-imagine Episodes 1-3? At the very least shoot the casting director in the face for their Anakin choices. Something? Anything? Please???)
Oh well. Until next time nerds.