Thursday, March 31, 2011

History: The Dark Knight Trilogy

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight represent the modern reboot of the Batman movie franchise. Batman is a popular character among the target TV Tropes demographic, so somewhat inevitably, a page was created for these movies. Notice the wording- page, singular, for movies, plural. Generally speaking self-contained movies are given their own pages, but as there is no rule stating they must be given their own pages, a troper of the lumper mindset is perfectly free to combine similar themed movies into a single page. This article was created at a time of very positive buzz for The Dark Knight, so it was assumed that another sequel would be made, thus creating The Dark Knight Trilogy.

There was only problem. As the months dragged on, it became clear that there was little evidence of a trilogy. Christopher Nolan, the director of the previous movies, wasn't signing onto the project and Warner Brothers, the studio which owns the Batman rights, was unwilling to make a new movie without him. So over at TV Tropes, we had a page called The Dark Knight Trilogy, which consisted of exactly two movies. While one day it could have three movies, for all anyone could figure out the page could eventually have four movies, because who knew how many they would end up making by the time everything was said and done?

When the rename proposal for this page first came up, I was against it. I felt it made more sense to split this page into the individual movies- they were fairly self-contained, and you don't really need to watch Batman Begins to understand what's going on in The Dark Knight, though it certainly helps. So I went to the merges and splits forum, and proposed that the page be split. Surprisingly, I was met with strong resistance on this point. In the merges and splits thread, tropers generally agreed that the name didn't make much sense, but were strongly against splitting the page because...well, I don't think I really remember the exact reasoning. I think it had something to do with the greater vision connecting the two movies, but I'm not completely sure.

This was an obnoxious stalemate to be sure- a rename forum thread that agreed on splitting and a merges and splits thread that agreed on renaming. I disliked the idea of simply abandoning The Dark Knight Trilogy (after all, the title was incorrect), so I got creative. I drafted a proposal in Wiki Talk requesting that the Merges and Splits forum be merged with the Trope Rename forum. While this would allow for a solution to this specific page problem, I also went some length in explaining how this idea would benefit the wiki as a whole. Trope Repair Shop, as it eventually came to be known, would have the authority to deal with a broad range of possible solutions to wiki issues. We would not just have to rename tropes- we could propose some other, less controversial solution instead, and maybe the middle ground would make people happier.

Suffice to say, this request was enacted. With this forum of wider latitude, I made a new proposal as to The Dark Knight Trilogy which posited both a rename and a split as possible outcomes. There were still some individuals opposed to any action at all on the grounds of The Dark Knight Trilogy being a term in wide use (a fact, which under scrutiny, could not be proved) and the third movie being inevitable, but when the crowner votes were tallied, a rename to The Dark Knight Saga was the most widely supported outcome, so that was the title adopted, and it persists to this day.

While this page directly led to the creation of Trope Repair Shop in its current form, there are other facts of this rename that are of a more direct interest. For one thing, in retrospect, this whole discussion sounds somewhat ridiculous, as now there is going to be a third movie in this series, and it has been stated in all media quite clearly that it will be the last one. That makes this the only rename in all of TV Tropes history that was unnecessary in the sense that outside forces would have eventually made it a valid title. Mind, I still think we made a valid decision- for the year or so in which the fate of the franchise was ambiguous, the TV Tropes title was accurate, and that really has to count for something.

But more oddly, this page action was the last time I ever saw a moderator apologize. It was a moderator who originally created The Dark Knight Trilogy, and this individual showed contrition in the rename threads for giving it an inaccurate title, though at the time the page was created it was not unreasonable to assume that the series would become a trilogy. Though I have not frequented TV Tropes since my banning, I was recently told by some individuals of events that have transpired in my absence. Suffice to say, I do not expect apologies over even minor matters to be forthcoming in the near future.

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