Does and Author Have the Right to Wreck his own Work?

I read an article a while back that dealt with the interesting question of how much authority an author retains over his work, and whether if, after publication, it becomes somewhat of a public trust. I wish I could find the article, but I was thinking about this stuff the other day so thought I'd share my thoughts.

I've come to the view that somewhat straddles the two above-noted positions. I think that for the most part, the author does have full control over his property and he can do whatever he wants with it. However, on the other hand, I think that this "power" over their own worlds is not absolute. The exception being that no author has the right to introduce changes that make his work unquestionably worse.

Obviously this is usually quite subjective, so I think any doubt must be resolved in favour of the creator. But sometimes there is no ability to debate a change, such as the whole "Greedo shot first" treatment that George Lucas gave to the DVD edition of Star Wars (pictured above). It's completely idiotic and Mr. Lucas' claim that it was "always this way" and the difficulties of filming in 1977 are the only reason it appears Han shot first totally lacks credibility. Even if we set aside the arguments over Solo's character, there's no way a seasoned bounty hunter like Greedo could miss from that range. As such, all the nerd rage over this change is wholly justified.


Sophia's Favorite said...

Well, in Tales from the Mos Eisley cantina, most of which is no longer remotely even Expanded Universe canon, Greedo is...well, to be blunt, he's a n00b. Han's his first actual job.

I incline to agree, although I'm reminded of something from Penny Arcade, about bad Sonic the Hedgehog games: "I think there should be some kind of Mascot welfare service for the videogame industry. You know, so that when there is evidence like this of abuse towards a mascot they can step in and remove the mascot. Maybe even place him with a foster company for a few years. Who knows, if we had a system like this maybe Lara Croft would still be alive today."

fugerunt said...

Have you seen the Red Letter Media Plinkett reviews? They're vulgar, but I like the dark humour (admittedly as a guilty pleasure), and the reviews themselves are stellar. They deal with the Star Wars "prequels" (and more).

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