• Adaptation for knowing audiences – analysing fan on-line responses to fidelity and deviation in film adaptation

      Pearce, Samantha (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-07)
      Adaptation theory has historically viewed film as hierarchically and artistically inferior to the book, measuring the success or failure of an adaptation on the grounds of fidelity. More recent critics have challenged the possibility and the desirability of fidelity when adapting one medium to another, proposing other tropes to validate the adaptive process such as intertextuality and contextuality. By examining the online Twilight fan community as an example of a ‘knowing audience’, acquainted with both novel and adapted film, this thesis considers the tensions that exist between fidelity and deviation by analysing the fans’ responses to the altered ending of the film adaptation Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012). Having conducted a systematic cataloguing exercise of this online fandom, unprompted online fan discussion from a sub-set of key fan sites was analsyed, uncovering the startling reaction of fans to the film’s unexpected ending. This study identifies fan audiences as intensive readers, collaborators and viewers of adapted texts and suggests the creative and commercial advantages to be gained from a collaborative and open dialogue between adaptors and fans. It also challenges the assumed superiority of the novel and the author’s authority over canon and narrative, and reveals the unexpected added pleasure derived from a deviation from canon.