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Discontinuity / Theatre

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Fans found these discontinuities in the published scripts of plays. Of course, a theatre company that wants to perform these plays today might revise the script, removing the discontinuity.

  • Going back a couple hundred years, the ending of King Lear by William Shakespeare incited this reaction in fans when the sweet, innocent Princess Cordelia was executed on a whim. Many refused to acknowledge this ending and rewrote it for the stage and publication. Some of the rewrites included mostly Cordelia being saved in the nick of time and being married off to Edgar or another suitor.
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  • The great majority of The Phantom of the Opera fans choose to ignore its sequel, Love Never Dies, due to perceived plot holes, poor characterization, and the fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber was the only member of the original creative team to work on it.
  • In his play Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw intended for female lead Eliza Dolittle to leave at the end and go on to become a successful, independent woman, whilst male lead Professor Higgins would forget all about her and pursue his own life. Instead, the vast preference for the audience was to believe that Eliza and Higgins would go on to become a happily married couple, to the point of Shaw's publishing of "What Happened Afterward", an essay in the 1916 print edition elaborating his official statement that Eliza had gone on to marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill and open a flower shop, combined with his arguments as to why Eliza and Higgins were wrong for each other. It did absolutely no good; the subtext of romantic attraction between the two leads was just too powerful for the theatre-goers to ignore, and every adaptation of Pygmalion since has swung towards more overtly romantic endings. Even the actors who played the parts of Eliza and Higgins thought the implicitly romantic ending was a better one, with the first actor to portray Professor Higgins in particular telling Shaw he should be grateful that they discarded his original ending.
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  • Many Harry Potter fans immediately discounted Harry Potter and the Cursed Child due to many discrepancies, including the bizarre retcons involving the Trolley Witch, Harry's sudden Jerkass tendencies contradicting what he told his son only days earlier, and most of all, a plot that required contradicting not only what Rowling had established with time travel in Book 3 but also a plot point in Book 5 - namely, that all Time Turners had been destroyed. And while J. K. Rowling was involved in the production, she neither directed it nor wrote the script. Other fans enjoyed it for what it was: a welcome return to the wizarding world.


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