At Disneyland, though, most of the strange historical details are there as well made up. Speaking of Disney, sections delimited by theme park themes are called “lands” (like Tomorrowland), and the new one is Campus Avengers, based not on a fairy tale, but on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies and TV shows derived from Marvel Comics that began in 2008 Iron Man and continue, this week, with the Disney + show Loki. Like the movies, this physical version of the decades-old comic book story universe has all sorts of pretentious in-built stories. One of the attractions is built, in the story, in an old flying car factory owned by Howard Stark, father of Tony Stark, the man in the Iron Man armor. It’s an unlikely historical gesture for that part of Southern California, even if it’s not true – an imaginative gloss on Philip K. Dick’s concept of “historicity,” of ginned-up details like history which add a patina of authenticity. Fun!
Meanwhile, you can walk just about 20 minutes through the theme park another ground centered on a different Disney-owned shared history universe—Galaxy’s Edge, based on the Star Wars franchise of movies, TV shows, books, etc. Both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars Universe have prescribed times and geographies, even given the disgusting timey-wimey opportunities you might expect in any science-fiction. universe. Both have their own history of ownership.
Except Avengers Campus is like other things to do and see at Disneyland as it has a certain timelessness. Wild Ride by Mr. Toad is not located on a chronology in the mrtoadiverse. But Galaxy’s Edge takes place not only on a specific planet in the Star Wars universe (“Batu”) but at a specific time. On a specific day, even-repeating, resetting. He has what I have described when it opened as chronotopic properties — a temporal narrative like books and movies, as well as a spatial narrative like other immersive theme park environments. It’s ambitious, but it also means that, for example, any artists walking around dressed as stormtroopers should be in the new more angular white armor of the latest film trilogy – the old style seen in Star Wars or the clone armor from the prequel trilogy would be anachronistic.
Now, OK, I got it: A book is not a theme park. But let me go over just the three possibilities here: You have a historical fiction, fictional science stuff found in the real world of the past, with the known physics of our universe and current historical events like rails of guide. For my purposes here, here it is The hidden Palace. You have a spatial, immersive narrative set in a time and place, but one with rigid (albeit fictional) events and guide rails. Here’s Galaxy’s Edge, or any other fictional or future universe – Extension, perhaps, or Middle-earth. And you have Avengers Campus, located in a fictional universe with spatial but not temporal guide rails. The timey-wimey is wibbley-wobbley.
This is the digital ectoplasm of what Twitter is fighting for. Do the details of the lands adhere to the canon and the chronology? And you can sort of see the point. Well, actually, let me review that — no, you can’t, it’s absurd. But it may be true that Galaxy’s Edge’s ruthless application of chronotopic status increases loyalty – critically important to the transnational society that holds the intellectual property – while limiting narrative flexibility. On Avengers Campus, anyone dressed as Iron Man can “coexist” with an actor in the Sam Wilson version of Captain America’s costume, even though in the story Sam did not become Captain America until after Iron Man’s death. Just go with it. But in Galaxy’s Edge, Darth Vader can’t just present; he died several movies ago, and would have disappeared with a pop at the entrance. (Even if Vader port participate in Jedi training in Tomorrowland, because it’s off the timeline.)
When any aspect of a game’s mechanics, rules, and gameplay, it contradicts that of the game. history, is called “ludonarrative dissonance.” It’s when the pieces, the cards, are all that can do anything in the rules that it violates the narrative superstructure. (If chess is a battle between two opposing armies, are the players the generals? And yes, why can they command the king? Maybe it’s a playful dissonance; these are the kinds of things players have exciting battles about.) So Darth Vader in Galaxy’s Edge would be the equivalent of the theme park — chronotopic dissonance, perhaps. But Iron Man in a Refreshed Stark Factory wouldn’t.