Creating the Universe

After reading and presenting on Convergence Culture, I got to thinking about the future of the gaming industry. Jenkins stresses that world creation is the new important step in creating a movie/game/etc. but he also points out that the big companies and artistic rights owners have drawn in the reigns to keep their intellectual property closer at hand. Most of the time this has to do with profit… companies/creators don't want other people to profit from their ideas. The obvious example of this is the demise of the Harry Potter Encyclopedia. There were no protests when the Encyclopedia first came out as a website, yet as soon as the exact same material was going to be published in a book for profit, the material was "damaging" to the world of Harry Potter. With all this kind of fight between original artists and those wishing to expand upon the story, world, etc., I would think that eventually there would be some kind of agreement.

What I think will soon become an option is worlds DESIGNED to be expanded upon. Basically a creator would focus on the world they try to create, and create a story to introduce that world. The main purpose, however, would be to set up the world so that others could expand upon it themselves. The original artists would take a cut of the profits while the new minds could take the world where no one expected.

In my mind I see the Star Wars story world as an example. People seemed to have embraced the many fan-made content, both serious and comic. Fan fiction is widespread over the many culty movies and games, so why not harness this desire to go deeper into the world?

If a new trilogy of Star Wars films popped up, not involving the Skywalker family, but some other, distantly related story line, I would be legitimately interested because the Star Wars story line is so interesting. If George Lucas took a profit off any of the extra movies (and most likely gave approval) the Star Wars universe would continue to evolve and spread even after his death.

The potential conflicts could be worked out just like any business transaction. There would be certain guild lines that would need to be followed (nothing legitimately offense or destructive to the universe) but the main connection the creators would have would be purely business and not dealing in intellectual property rights.

What I envision is something similar to the Matrix universe, but without the constant presence of the creators. New content would be added to the universe from around the world, from Korea to the US to Europe and wherever else. There would not be one single plotline so authors could add their content while best avoiding conflict with other author's plotlines.

This seems like a very interesting idea, but I feel that if anybody could create content, I do not think that the original vision Lucas had would be preserved. Now after seeing the most recent Star Wars movies I feel that maybe he shouldn't have exclusive control, but there should be some editorial process. Have you ever really read fan fiction? A lot of it is terrible. Basically if somebody from Lucas's side would work with fan fiction writers, I think what you are saying would not only be possible, but great.