Rumor VS Reality – How Bad Reporting Breaks Fandom’s Spirit

Late Thursday, Vulture posted a story detailing how an unnamed source had confirmed to them that Warner Brothers/CW Network had tapped veteran writer Allan Heinberg to pen a pilot script for a new Wonder Woman show. After the debacle that was David E. Kelley’s abortive attempt to launch a series featuring the Amazonian bombshell, this nugget of half-news was all it took to set the blogosphere on fire.

     In minutes, headlines began streaming forth from blogs, comic news sites, and even industry pros, their fingers blazing with excitement. Like the “telephone” game you played in grade school, the story evolved rapidly with every telling, until soon the CW had a series in development and fans began to rage over potential casting choices.


     Take a step back and remember that this began with an anonymous source stating that a writer had been asked to deliver a script.


     Why is this a problem, you ask? Why shouldn’t fans be excited that they might be getting a series featuring one of their favorite characters?


     The answer: the boy who cried wolf.


     Too often, fan sites take rumors and blow them wildly out of proportion. See the recent kerfuffle over Marvel’s “planned reboot,” Marvel NOW!. According to rumors on many of these same sites, Marvel was planning on following in DC’s footsteps and starting their entire universe over from scratch. Not only would this have been a monumentally bad idea, but it was also patently untrue. However, thanks to the blogosphere, the damage was done. Fans were either buying AvX because it was now Marvel’s Crisis on Infinite Earths or staying away, because why waste time and money on stories that would soon be ret-conned out of existence?


     So, what does this have to with a script that may or may not have been ordered for delivery?


     Once an idea begins to bounce around the fandom echo chamber, expectations will begin to develop. There will be fantasy castings and discussions of the writer’s work on the source material and debates about which version of the character translates best to the small screen.


     If a show materializes from all the hubbub, then wonderful. These rumors will be hailed for having helped build a groundswell of fan interest. If not, then the network will be subjected to the standard hail of remarks about their inability to develop their top-tier properties in live action. In the event that a serious effort is mounted at a later date, it would surely be met with skepticism and disdain.

    The bottom line is this: fans deserve better. They don’t deserve to have their hopes raised and dashed because some webmaster went for shock value when writing their headlines. The viability of a character in various media should not be compromised for the same of some web-buzzard’s hit count. 

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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