This is NOT another rant about canon. No. This is about something I find rather sad instead of annoying.
I originally published this at Fanpop's TLK club as bendaimmortal.
This is NOT another rant about canon. No. This is about something I find rather sad instead of annoying.
Why doess this fandom's situation sadden me? Why do I take this so seriously? Why do I bother writing a lengthy article like this? Because I don't think Disney is ALL about enrichening people's life and encouraging creativity. It is essentially also about teaching values and morals. The whole point of this article is to remind people of that and how because of that any conspiracy theories and fan-made stories should not be falsely claimed as what really happened.
I honestly believe Disney never hopes that fans' creativity would alter and over-shadow the true means of their films by getting claimed as part of official stories with conspiracy theories.
This is just my opinion and I may or may not be wrong in my point of view. No offense intended.
First of all, let me be more specific; I don't think Kopa as a character is a problem. It's the way he's treated by his fans.
It seems like the fans of Kopa and the Six New Adventures book series and those people who are quick to believe their theories, have forgotten or fail to grasp that the sequel is naturally based on the first film, and that the said film has an actual story of a very dark and tragic life which affects the main character's personality and psychology. When paying attention to the first film's story, it is clear Simba would be exactly the way he is in SP even if the first film never showed any cub.
Even a little thought to Simba's life story provided in the first film makes it screamingly obvious why Zira was exiled. (Which is because she sided with Scar who had murdered Simba's daddy, almost him [Simba] too, and hit his mommy and intented to let his family starve, and lied to him for all his life and shown in every which way how deeply untrustworthy and dangerous he can be.) And Simba had lived for years in exile thinking Scar was his friend and then all the sudden learning all that crap. Who WOULDN'T exile Scar's fan and heirs in Simba's shoes?
And even a little thought to that life story makes it screamingly obvious why Simba is over-protective of his only child. The sequel film itself even SAYS it in Simba's line. Give a child to an immature, insecure and traumatized adult to raise and see what happens...Especially if the child is his very own and he is supposed to raise the child into a queen. This lack of mental maturity and security also applies to the exiling without any crimes committed.
It's like all Kopa fans (and some others who believe anything that makes sense at the first impression), see anymore is the books and their own wild fan theories with the cub at the end shown for 10 seconds differing from Kiara's design. The rest of the ORIGINAL movie and its morals and depths have ceased to exist or at least become very unessential to those fans. Or alternatively they adapt them to fit their own Kopa theories instead of giving serious thought to the backgrounds as they are.
'This is a story about growing up and since there's the kingship aspect it's also about responsibility.' or something along that line the canon film makers commented on their film. (That was NOT an exact word-to-word quote but the point I got right.)
^By turning the 10-second cub at the end and 3rd party books and their own fan theories into the main source for the official sequel film's content and/or making it into more important, the fans are horribly disregarding the whole point of the original TLK's story. And in my opinion, that's sad.
Kopa fans: "Simba is like that because he's still grieving and upset about his son who was murdered! It's true! It's official!"
A big fat NO. NO film maker's ever said the cub in the film was a son and NO son has ever been murdered in any official content. In fact, Simba is like that because his dear uncle totally messed up his life in every which way when he was only some 10-years old (in human years) and because now his own daughter was just like he was as a cub! HIS OWN LIFE UP TO THE DAY HE DEFEATED SCAR MADE HIM THE PERSON HE IS AT THE SEQUEL'S TIME. Just like life and trials do to all of us.
The sequel's morals, characterizations and depths base on the first film's story's essentials and not on the 10-second, nameless and genderless cub at the end. The sequel is a movie sequel to the first movie, and not to some random 3rd party books that were never released outside USA and never re-printed. As in books 99% of the world hadn't even heard of, and some 90% still hasn't.
Kopa and the fan theories paraded falsely as facts are stealing the spotlight and meaning from the original story that is truly what children and any viewer of the sequel should think about.
Why? Fanfiction is soooo much fun and people are entitled to believe whatever they want! Oh yes, certainly.
But here's the thing:
The Lion King is a story about growing up, responsibility and the changes in life that can happen. And about how one can over-come deep guilt, let go of his past and face his ghosts, and find his place in the circle of life even though the road is hard and scary and even though it hurts. That's the TRUE story, the IMPORTANT story setting up the stage for the sequel's events.
And because the sequel story is about equally important things in life related to the ones in the original story. It's important to the morals of Simba's Pride's story that Zira didn't commit any crime to deserve the exile but was exiled for no valid reason in her eyes and for very valid reasons in Simba's eyes. It's important to the lessons of family and life that Kiara was his first child, his first touch with parenting of which he naturally had absolutely no clue how to do as he had never been prepared to even adulthood much less fatherhood.
There's no place nor need for the completely fan-made child-murder / runaway brat / Beauty and the Brave -ish family drama. And in my opinion people really shouldn't parade that fanfiction more than the official story. Because, forgive me for saying but obviously most of the Kopa theorising people have no clue whatsoever what it means to have your child murdered/disappear, as they claim their theories believable seeing to the sequel film's content. Whereas Disney's film makers are adults who always teach important morals and values through their films of relatively believable storytelling.
I'm not saying people wouldn't have the right to like the fanfiction theories and/or prefer them over the original story. Of course you do. I'm merely saying that those fanfiction theories are wrong to be paraded as facts because they're not facts and are kicking into darkness very important facts, and that thus maybe the official story would be generally speaking more deserving of and more important to be highlighted. I just personally feel it's quite well been left in the shadow of all the Kopa fawning which always raises questions from new fans and soon no one is thinking of what the story really is saying but only about the silly conspiracy theory.
When fan theories are thrown around the entire fandom as if they were part of the official storyline, that's crucially changing the way the story is seen and through that the morals and meaning of the story. As I said, it's important to the morals of SP that Simba exiled Zira & co. for no truly valid reason in anyone but his own opinion / against his father's laws. When the Kopa story is claimed as "what really happened", it completely changes the morals. It completely alters and thus destroys the story Disney really wanted to tell and teach us with TLK and the combination of TLK and SP.
The Kopa story is TOO crucial to character development and story morals to not affect everything when it's falsely claimed as part of the official story. And through that, people are going to get the wrong impression on the morals and values Disney wanted to teach, and also people are going to focus on the silly conspiracy theory and set of mind instead of the true story.
Even though the Kopa story doesn't completely change the morals, it most certainly does take away from them by affecting their base crucially. You can't just throw a murder over innocence and expect that the morals don't crucially change.
I mean; there's a fine line between punishing someone for just loving a person and being a threat, and punsihing someone for the murder of your child. And there's a fine line between punishing innocent people for being associated with another innocent person, and punishing innocent people for being associated with a child murderer.
Also important to remember is that he didn't just exile them. He exiled them under the penalty of death. As if they'd commited the crime of a century, done something unforgivablle. Now, a murder of a child who'd even been a prince & being associated to the murderer applies to that severe punishment relatively well, but just loving Scar & being associated with this lover ? No way!
Hence, the injustice level is WAY lesser in the crime case than if everyone was innocent, the justification for prejudice is WAY more there if there was a crime than if everyone was innocent, and the wrongness of the exilining is WAY lesser in the crime case than if everyone was innocent.
The whole point of the morals is that SImba did NOT have a justified reason to exile, threaten with death and throw his prejudice at them so fiercely and for so long. He had an understandable reason, but not justified because they were all innocent. If you add a crime--especailly as serious as a child murder--into the senario, you give Simba more or less justification for his actions and attitudes, and thus the lesson we learn changes crucially. The morals change crucially.
There are also those who vision Kopa not murdered but just disappeared in one way or another, which is a little bit better for the moral matters - but unfortunately the Zira-killed-Kopa has been accepted by FAR the most "truthful" story.
But there's one more thing. While the Kopa-disappeared version doesn't necessarely mess up the morals regarding Zira & company's exile, it does greatly affect the way the film's life lessons are seen. I mean, think about it: Simba and Nala have their first born child disappeared, so they let their second child run around with no appropriate babysitter watching over her, the mother is completely care-free about the new child, the father dreams only of his own father and any dark event leads to a reference to Mufasa and never to Kopa. And just generally a lost, dear child was never spoken of with so much as half a word in all those years. Those things are one more reason why both but especially the murder version is so NOT what really happened. Because such event/character-reaction combo is NOT what Disney does with their family films. It would be unrealistic and highly inappropriate.
Amd how could people take to heart the life lessons and morals that SP wants to teach when the Kopa fan story is paraded as a fact and as "what really happened"? It's literally impossible to take the real things to heart if you have completely wrong impression on what the real thing is. I repeat; you can't just thrown a murder over innocence and expect that the morals and life lessons don't crucially change.
And I think it should be frowned on in this child-murder/disappearence case for the reason stated; how unrealistic and inappropriate such story-addition makes Simba and Nala come off in SP (because SP was written with no such thing included.) I don't mean to judge the stories as fanfiction visions - in fanfiction just about anything can pass as more or less appropriate because people can judge them as fanfiction as in some random person's views. Whereas when something that turns a Disney film's morals into inappropriate, is paraded as official and what really happened, then it becomes something to frown upon. And the way the Kopa stories are passed on is doing exactly that.
So: ALL I've ever wished is that Kopa fans would stop claiming that their beliefs and theories are facts because they're not facts, and because claiming those beliefs and theories as facts also does something to a Disney film that shouldn't be done to it. Love and believe in Kopa, enjoy your more or less interesting fanfiction visions but please DON'T say they're facts and what really happened because they're not facts and they didn't really happen. For the sake of ending the confusion among newcomers and for the sake of Disney's true morals.
If the Kopa theories were spread honestly as nothing more but fan theories and if the fact that the cub is not Kopa but Fluffy or Kiara, was promoted instead of the conspiracy theory, people would be left understanding and paying attention to both the Kopa fan story's morals AND the official story's morals. The official story morals being the ones Disney really wanted us to see and learn from.
And for the last; I admit this article's tone developed into somewhat judgmental, but please notice that I said "I wish" and "please" , and that I don't mean to judge these things as mere fanfiction. And in the beginning that this is just my opinion and no offense intended. I see myself as just another fan. Thank you.