Created By: astronouth7303January 29, 2012 Last Edited By: queenbriFebruary 3, 2012

Published Doesn't Mean Finished

The creator can\'t seem to stop editing years after release

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
You know that movie that they keep releasing with slightly different edits for no good reason? Or even major edits. Often stuff that changes who characters are. Stuff that changes how you perceive the movie. Or, most often, just annoys you.

The original creator reimagined his or her own material. Somehow, after millions of dollars and countless hours with editors and/or writers, they didn't get it right the first time. Beyond the usual Re Cut, they edit their continuity (or create an Alternate Continuity) for the sake of fixing perceived flaws in their work. For them, Published Doesn't Mean Finished

A Ret Con starts drifting into this trope when the changes have no good (external) reason, and the edits change the way the work or universe is perceived. Alternatively, the author keeps making edits to their work, like they can't seem to get their claws out of it.

This shouldn't be confused with Pragmatic Adaptation or anime that Overtook The Manga. Even in the rare cases where the original author is involved, the goal is to keep to the original, not to "fix it up". (See Full Metal Alchemist.)

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • Stephen King rewrote parts of The Gunslinger to better fit canon established by the later novels.
  • Not only did Mary Shelly rewrite Frankenstein substantially for its second and later printings, but the heavily-revised version is the one that was reprinted after her death and is now commonly seen. The first-edition version takes a more controversial slant on its various philosophical dilemmas, and is very hard to track down.
    • You know that if you google "Frankenstein 1818 text", the entire text comes up online, right? Even print copies are easy enough to find albeit unusual. You just have to type "1818" while searching.
  • The rereleased versions of the earlier books of the Gor series are heavily rewritten. In one case close to 20,000 words were added.
  • Stephen King re-released The Stand with additional material, making it even more of a Door Stopper.
  • HG Wells rewrote parts of The Sleeper Awakes when real-life aviation technology rendered the original version obsolete.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • The creators of Blade Runner keep changing the Word Of God on some questions , like whether or not Deckard is a Replicant.
    • This is a borderline case because the changes were never published.
  • George Lucas and Star Wars having The Dog Shot First. He even said "Well, the film only came out to be 25 or 30 percent of what I wanted it to be." After two or three edited releases (depending on how you count.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stage]]
  • Terrence Mc Nally's play The Lisbon Traviata has a dramatically changed ending between the off-Broadway and Broadway runs. The original ending had already been published in a compilation or two before the Broadway run.
[[/folder]]

Tags: Rolling Updates, Needs A Better Title, Needs A Better Description

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • January 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Needs A Better Title. 1. There are a lot of people with the name "Lucas". 2. "ing" gives no context.
  • January 29, 2012
    astronouth7303
    Any suggestions? Be gentle; it's my first time.

    I just figured George Lucas was most known for doing this, so I named it in the great tradition of Jossing (killing off loved characters in the style of Joss Whedon).
  • January 29, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    but... that's not what Jossing means, either. And I'm sick of all the Lucas hatred at any rate.
  • January 29, 2012
    astronouth7303
    Ok, ok! Here's some ideas:
    • Can't let go of the pen
    • Helicopter creator
    • Published doesn't mean finished
    • It was only a draft
    • I'll get it right this time
    • New decade, new script
  • January 29, 2012
    Psychobabble6
    For future use, Jossing is when a creator kills fandom WMG, usually entirely unintentionally (the fan's thoughts just didn't line up with the creator's).

    Published Doesn't Mean Finished seems to be the clearest, IMO.
  • January 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    This can be a good thing. Some video games still get support (such as expansions and patching) years after release.
  • January 29, 2012
    SharleeD
    Happens in literature too.
  • January 29, 2012
    Wackd
    Needs examples, but this is definitely something that can be worked with. When I saw the title, the first thing that leapt to mind was Blade Runner.

    Aren't YKTTWs an example of this?
  • January 29, 2012
    astronouth7303
    @Wackd: Blade Runner is borderline. The edited version was never published/sold, but Word Of God can dramatically affect how you see the piece. And the author's canon swings on the subject give evidence to "wanting to fix mistakes" part.

    And Wikis don't qualify because (1) they change and evolve as part of their nature, and (2) there's generally no owning, authoritative author.
  • January 30, 2012
    TrustBen
    "Helicopter Creator" would be a good name too.

    In the realm of literature, Stephen King re-released The Stand with additional material, making it even more of a Door Stopper.
  • January 30, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    Tolkien's works would fit this. He constantly revised even published materials to perfect his vision.
  • January 30, 2012
    LeeM
    • IIRC, TH White rewrote large chunks of The Sword in the Stone for the omnibus edition.
    • HG Wells rewrote parts of When the Sleeper Awakes when real-life aviation technology rendered the original version obsolete.
    • Not sure it fits exactly, but Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights was re-edited by her sister Charlotte Bronte after Emily died.
  • January 30, 2012
    astronouth7303
    @Lee M Thanks! TH White sounds like it fits pretty much exactly. HG Wells is borderline, because he did it external causes, but you could make a case that the story was fine without his changes. Wuthering Heights doesn't apply at all, but it is closer to Executive Meddling.

    Part of the idea of Published Doesn'tMeanFinished is the face-palm worthy implication that the guy with the idea sold it, printed copies, and made money from an incomplete work: basically a draft.
  • January 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well often it's unavoidable, and other times mistakes can be noticed after the fact. But when a work is considered awesome by the audience, and not the creator, it becomes even weirder that it seems a draft only to the creator.
  • January 31, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Another King example: He rewrote parts of The Gunslinger to better fit canon established by the later novels.
  • January 31, 2012
    Duncan
    Terrence Mc Nally's play The Lisbon Traviata had a dramatically changed ending between the off-Broadway and Broadway runs, the original ending had already been published in a compilation or two before the Broadway run.
  • January 31, 2012
    SharleeD
    • Not only did Mary Shelly rewrite Frankenstein substantially for its second and later printings, but the heavily-revised version is the one that was reprinted after her death and is now commonly seen. The first-edition version takes a more controversial slant on its various philosophical dilemmas, and is very hard to track down.
  • January 31, 2012
    astronouth7303
    I just restructured the article to properly? format examples and incorporate the ones given. Moar? plzkthx
  • January 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ

    So I guess the main point of this is that Tropes Are Tools. As in you can tweak works after they are made, but the tweaks have to be good. Cleaning up the snowspeader shots in The Empire Strikes Back, good. Putting "Annie" Skywalker in the end of Return Of The Jedi, bad.
  • January 31, 2012
    randomsurfer
    John Norman, author of the Gor series. The rereleased versions of his earlier books are heavily rewritten. In one case close to 20,000 words were added.
  • January 31, 2012
    Psychobabble6
    ^^^ You know that if you google "Frankenstein 1818 text", the entire text comes up online, right? Even print copies are easy enough to find albeit unusual. You just have to type "1818" while searching.
  • January 31, 2012
    astronouth7303
    Han Shot First is totally the poster child of this trope.

    But to really sell for this trope, I would say that the tweaks made have to have an impact. To use the Han example, Han shooting first vs not changes the way the character is perceived. (Except that nobody believes he didn't shoot first.)

    In the case of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the last two episodes only make sense as a metaphor for The End of Evangelion. Without that context, they're just a drug trip. (The End of Evangelion might still have been a Mind Screw, but at least you could find a plot in it.)

    You could make the argument that any instance of this trope is bad (see: countless hours), but it is sometimes needed.

    I'm at a loss at the moment for the way to write it that keeps to Tropes Are Tools, or even what should be used as criteria.
  • January 31, 2012
    DaibhidC
    I think this might be Orwellian Retcon.

  • January 31, 2012
    astronouth7303
    (EDITED) They're closely related. Orwellian Retcon is the effect/mechnaism most common in this trope, especially in literature, but they're not entirely the same idea.

    Whether or not a it's through Ret Con, Orwellian Retcon, Re Cut, Re Make, Re Imagining, or Re The Thing They Do, Published Doesn't Mean Finished implies that there was a break down between the author's vision and the final product, or the vision changed after release.

    As a (hopefully) hypothetical example, PDMF would apply if Stan Lee rebooted Iron Man three times in an attempt to get the story right. Doubly so if the fanbase felt the changes were unnecessary. No Orwellian Retcon was involved, but clearly Published Doesn't Mean Finished.

    (This comment is now an instance of Orwellian Retcon.)
  • January 31, 2012
    Duncan
    • The ending of Pippin (originally produced in 1972) was changed by Stephen Schwartz for a major revival a few years ago ( now at the end, Theo (Katherine's Son) shows up singing "Corner of the Sky", Pippin's I Want Song from earlier, and goes off to find adventure with the Leading Player), and this is now included with the licensed version as an option.
    • Also, the third verse of Pippin's I Want Song "Corner of the Sky" was revised to be more in line with Pippin's specific story before the show premiered on Broadway, but the earlier version of the lyrics was published in the Vocal Selections.

    (This last one ties in with the current YKTTW Rushed Merchandise [1])
  • February 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    Aargh, someone responded to someone's proposed example, and it was edited in as natter. We don't need natter before the page even launches.

    I'd say Blade Runner counts. There's the theatrical version, the international version, the Director's Cut, the "Final Cut"...
  • February 2, 2012
    Fresison
    Under Literature:
    • Dutch writer Willem Frederik Hermans was famous for this. He made many changes to Nooit meer slapen, rewrote Conserve considerably and added a chapter to Au pair.
  • February 2, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    Comic Books: Ken Penders really wants to do this with Archie's Sonic The Hedgehog comics to where he launched a lawsuit against Archie Comics and SEGA in an attempt to take the character rights for himself so he can "fix" them as he wants. This is also an attempt at Canon Discontinuity, as Penders deeply dislikes how the comics are now and wants the series changed back to how they were like when he once worked on the comics.

    Video Games: Minecraft is one of the few games where you have to pay to use the beta for the reason that, while it is cleaned enough of glitches for it to be finished, the creator Notch wants to keep tweaking it and states that he will likely do so for as long as he lives. A case of Tropes Are Not Bad as most people seem completely fine with this.
  • February 2, 2012
    TBTabby
    The many, many editions of Street Fighter II spring to mind: the developers at Capcom kept thinking up ways to improve the game and releasing update after update, which quickly became a target of ridicule and left gamers wondering if Street Fighter III would ever be released.
  • February 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The Fantasticks: Well after the show became a huge smash, a song was replaced. "It Depends On What You Pay," which uses the word "rape" - in it's original sense of "the act of seizing and carrying off by force" - about 10,000 times. It has been replaced by another song, "Theatrical Abductions," which mentions Abductions instead of rape. Strangely enough though, the producers tend not to license "Theatrical Abudctions" to small local productions of The Fantasticks, making them use the older song instead.
  • February 3, 2012
    InSingularity
    TITLE SUGGESTIONS: "Wait, no I meant THIS"; Could Not Make Up His Mind; or George Lucas Syndrome.
  • February 3, 2012
    SharleeD
    About the 1818 Frankenstein: I meant the print edition is very hard to track down if you're collecting vintage books.

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