In last week’s post, I discussed a question that the Creative Producers were recently posed in our transmedia class: if you had the opportunity to reboot your favorite show or series, how would you go about it?
For the final project for the class, we have to choose a media franchise that hasn’t been rebooted before and deliver a presentation describing how we would go about reintroducing it to audiences today.
I’ve chosen to create a hypothetical reboot of the Redwall book series, which I have enjoyed since childhood and which also happens to be underutilized as a transmedia property. Redwall is a young adult fantasy novel series that strongly adheres to the hero’s journey story structure: each novel features anthropomorphic animals who act and behave like humans, and there is always a battle between good and evil. Usually there is one group of peaceful animals who must defend themselves or their homes from an attack by a band of evil, warlike animals. The author of the books, Brian Jacques, has consistently outdone himself in creating stories that are immerse, imaginative, whimsical, and highly dramatic.
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The first step toward envisioning how to approach rebooting a property like Redwall is to research the history and current state of the franchise (for if you aren’t aware of what ground has been covered before and how things stand, you’ll be at a huge disadvantage in determining the best path forward). Fortunately, a huge amount of information about media properties can be gleaned from simple internet searches: what can’t be found about a franchise’s history on Wikipedia can usually be drummed up with a little bit of determined research.
In researching the Redwall series, I discovered that while the book series has received a great deal of success (22 novels have been published with millions of copies sold), Redwall’s stretch into other mediums has been extremely limited. A graphic novel was published in 2007, and a television series ran for a few seasons beginning in 1999, but beyond that there isn’t very much out there: there are no feature films and no major video game franchises, for example. And given that the stories all follow a tight, hero’s journey formula, it should be that much easier to translate them into different mediums.
In my hypothetical reboot of the Redwall series, I would begin with an animated feature film adaptation of the first book of the series (which is also entitled “Redwall”), produced alongside a companion video game. Much like the Narnia series which was recently spun into a couple of successful feature films, with such a large library of 22 already existing stories, it would be quite straightforward to create new adaptations (movies, video games, and graphic novels) based on what is already a part of the original Redwall canon.
While planning how to proceed with a hypothetical reboot of a transmedia franchise is pure speculation for us at this point, what we’ve learned here will surely help us down the line in our careers when money is on the line and the stakes are real!