but there was a small panic culturally in the early 90s when someone put like John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart in a commercial. I think it was Humphrey Bogart selling Diet Coke or something like that. There was a strong feeling that this would lead to old stars being in EVERYTHING and who knows what would happen then! Nothing would. Sure there were a few strange blips here and there where someone would pop up somewhere, but now we have Princess Leia and Tarkin showing up in Rogue One and it’s weird, but nothing collapsed in upon itself.
This is a novel about a future Hollywood where remakes are everywhere and old stars are showing up remakes of movies that came out long after they were dead.
It’s an interesting slice of what early 90s Connie Willis seemed to believe would be culturally relevant as time marched on. I am not getting into her cultural politics, I just mean literally the movies she thought would be ripe for remake when it was time to do so. So like Back to the Future for example. In the novel, a woman figures out how to use the remake technology in order to shape her own life.
Anyway, what’s always been funny to me about remake panic is how Hollywood has always had remakes. I also think it’s funny how weirdly attached people get to the idea of “remakes” when what they are often describing is adaptations. You can’t remake Hamlet. You can’t remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You could technically remake Total Recall because of the title, but even then you’re moving into weird territory.
This is a funny weird little slice of cultural panic, the same way Bellwether was for me when I read that.