Universal Oddities
September 26, 2002

The Spectacular Gatsby

Considering the enormous success F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby has met with, why is it that no one ever chose to capitalize upon it with a sequel? For instance, perhaps Gatsby didn’t die after all, or perhaps he could be resurrected in a book-long seance. Or perhaps Fitzgerald could have written about Gatsby’s evil brother, the Great Batsby.

Overall, Gatsby’s demise is of little concern from a marketing perspective when we simply consider the value to be gleaned from the necessary prequels which would serve to offer us delightful backstory and novelty yarns. After all, when nearly every student in the United States is required to read one’s book, it seems like a prime idea to capitalize upon.

Perhaps Gatsby stories should be manufactured in the spirit of the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, with books that keep coming out every week and branch off into a lucrative Gastby franchise, and even a weekly, animated television show (such as Gatsby-9; or Gatsby Voyager, or Gatsby P.I., or Turner & Hooch & Gatsby; or perhaps all of them).

Why hasn’t anyone ever thought of making The Great Gatsby into a movie? It’s simply ridiculous. I would suggest a young Robert Redford for the part of Gatsby, and Courtney Love for the part of Daisy. It seems to me that she’s already proven her delicate acting mettle in Remains of the Day and numerous adult films.

And what better way to provide literary material (a difficult commodity to come by) than with spin-off novels regarding Gatsby’s friends?

Perhaps one could involve a cross-country car race with Nick and his faithful dog Millie, who are pitted against the evil Baron von Ruckenheimer, who is intent upon capturing Nick’s faithful dog companion and turning him into gold. A hibernating bear could be inserted for comic relief. A talking pigeon could be inserted for more comic relief. And a drunken porter and dancing koala could attempt to convince Nick not to murder King Duncan. They could appear in his dreams as Nick’s conscience; or they could just keep appearing at gas stations and Nick could keep driving off in the middle of their speeches, and he could keep running over the koala’s foot each time he drives off. It could be a running theme throughout the story. And then, at the very end, just before Nick is going to run over the koala’s foot again, the koala could step back a few paces, satisfied that he’s safe, and then a giant safe could fall on his head; and the porter could shrug.

Another book could be a prequel involving Gastby and a pie eating contest. And Gatsby could find a gold ring in his pie and then spend the remainder of the novel searching for the owner of the ring and a cache of lost, Martian pirate treasure on Neptune. It would be a perfect fit for Gatsby’s elusive character.

Also, there’s much talk of the “Great War” in The Great Gatsby, an event that apparently occurred prior to the events of the book. This in itself sounds like creative gold, with the potential to be expanded into a prequel trilogy and possibly even movie series. What happened in this mysterious “Great War”? Where clones involved? Why aren’t there any Jedi around? Were they all defeated in the “Great War”? Did Gatsby have anything to do with it?

The title itself, “The Great War”, heralds wonderful imagery of greatness and ultimate war. Though a slightly hokey contrivance, Fitzgerald can be forgiven this faux pas as it leaves open a variety of exciting possibilities. The cliche of epic wars has yet to be fully explored and may even lead, perhaps, to “The Great War II” or “The Ultimate War”; or a series of wars in which the war is modified in each case by a pulpy, yet compelling, adjective. Perhaps it could be fractured into a series of alphabet murder mysteries such as M is for War, and Q is for War, and so on.

One of the obvious downsides to The Great Gatsby is that there’s an awful lot of talking going on. Too much time is spent pining for Daisy, developing pointless characters, narrating... and not enough time is spent explaining to the reader just how great Gatsby is: extreme sports, extreme lion taming, Gatsby’s stint with Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the time Gatsby killed Hitler, the time Gatsby located the Holy Grail and bonded with his father, etc...

And just when you think you’re going to see some blood, the chatter starts up again:
“Oh Mr. Bingley! We will find a suitable wife for you in our Jane.”
“Mr. Darcy, your pride is without bounds!”
“Well, Ms. Bennet, you’re prejudice and overt racism sickens me. I shall kindly leave you now and say good day.”
“Oh Mr. Bingley!”

This tract of dialogue could just as simply have been replaced with a gigantic picture of my butt. The reader would immediately have captured the precise intent and overwhelming essence of Fitzgerald’s point in that case.

The reason for this dialogue probably has something to do with women. As Fitzgerald himself worried: “the book contains no important woman character and women control the fiction market at present.”

Interestingly enough, Fitzgerald didn’t realize what a truly revolutionary notion it was to purify the book of women. This ethnic cleansing campaign of Fitzgerald’s would prove significant to the future of literature and society. Fitzgerald was the first to, unconsciously, inquire: “why do women need to read books?” As such, his psyche felt that it was necessary to form a deliberate shift in the market, to veer women away from reading books and educating themselves, and to lead them more safely toward subservience and vapidity and golf. Had this not been the case, it is made clear that the much feared “race wars” discussed in Fitzgerald’s novel would have been granted the most appropriate climate to come to fruition. The academic community can only speculate as to the validity of the claims of Fitzgerald’s fervent subconscious.

And so, with the extent of material available to us, it is a puzzlement why we do not proceed to expand upon the fascinating Gatsby universe with a series of novels and short stories, movies and television programs, to delight and tantalize and enlighten.

The Spectacular Gatsby, The Amazing Gatsby, Gatsby the Insurmountable, Gatsby the Invincible, Gatsby the Destroyer, Conan the Brave, Gatsby in Japan.

One day, Gatsby will enter into the public domain. Until then, I shall bide my time.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s master gentleman returns in his most diabolical challenge to date.




Copyright © 2000-2002 Jacques. All rights reserved.