In this talk, Prof. Burnett argues that franchise properties like James Bond differ from Star Wars by showing a preference for multiplicity over unity, providing consumers with numerous serial continuities to “thread” between in distinct media.
I delivered this lecture in February 2019 as part of the Performance Arts Department Colloquium Series at Washington University in St. Louis. I thank the series organizers for inviting me to present my research!
The talk puts forward an interpretation of two trends in media franchise storytelling, one that seeks unity (transmedia storytelling), the other that seeks multiplicity (threaded media storytelling). My thinking on this score has evolved since the talk. I am now researching an article, tentatively entitled “The Multiplicity of Multiplicities: Towards a Constructivist Narratology of Franchise Storytelling,” in which I survey the range of franchise storytelling forms that seek to strategically exploit alternatives to the creation of unified or coherent narrative experiences. Nevertheless, this talk, while dependent on a simple dichotomy between transmedia and threaded media forms, serves to clarify a number of underlying assumptions of my ongoing research.
Here’s the talk, presented as a two-part video lecture: