The other day I was thinking about the rising popularity of superhero/comic book/novel adaptions and a strange thought struck me. It’s okay for writers to drift from the source material when adapting heroes for the big screen. For the hardcore readers of the original material this may sound insane, but time and time again, examples have shown that changing it up is a good thing.
All mediums are NOT created equal
Storytelling in the modern age is much, much more complex than any other period in time. Today, there are so many platforms in which people consume stories and entertainment. Novels, TV, movies, comic books, videogames, graphic novels… The list just goes on and on. What people often forget is that not every medium is made the same. Books are fantastic for telling stories, but since there is no visual representation the look and feel of the world is imagined differently in every reader’s mind. This is when it becomes necessary for the new writers to take liberties with the story to fit the strengths of the new medium.
The biggest appeal of adapting a story is creating a new take on something that’s already familiar. A perfect example of this is comic books. There are literally dozens of incarnations of popular heroes and villains, all with a different writer’s unique spin to the original character. In fact, some of my favorite creations are spinoffs of the original character: Batman Beyond and Spiderman 2099. If comic books can benefit why shouldn’t other mediums?
A new writer with the right vision can also improve upon a story that is already good. A perfect example is the first Iron Man movie. Before this film Iron Man had a pretty good following from comics, but was not nearly as well-known as other superheroes. After being adapted into a film by Marvel, Iron Man quickly went from obscurity to popularity. This is because the writers were able to collect from the source material and adapt it for a wider audience to enjoy.
If something from the original source must be changed in favor of a better story then I’m all for it. At the end of the day, writers are out to create interesting stories to entertain the public. Sometimes it’s necessary to drift from the original source to tell a great story. And who wants to hear the same story over and over again with no change?