Mixed Feelings – The Site’s Conclusion, Cancellations, and Hard Decisions
I’ve thought about how I’d like to phrase this blog post, as I feel as though out of everyone here, this one is going to bother me the most. Over 24 hours out from this decision, and I’m still reflecting on how I’d want to phrase it, so I would like to tell a story.
When we had announced the BTFolds section of the site, a debate had sparked up amongst the various council members around Canonicity. It’s an odd debate to have, but it came from a legitimate fear. You see, from the EU’s conception, we had users that wanted their stories to be “Canon.” Ideas like Jar Jar Pleats wanting to cause chaos to an idea I had of Billy Ali (who I think appears in Fold of the Rings?) Taking up General Creaseous and causing havoc (like, legitimate danger) to all of the McQuarrie kids. When a story was put in “Legends,” it was devastating to an author; it was a side story, a non-canon blip amongst the fabled “Canon timeline”… for a fanfiction website. We had similar fears that this would happen when we announced BTFolds. We had opened the universe to the public, so anyone could write anything. Immediately, we had an early version of the PJOU (called the ROU) in which Greek Gods were real, just embodied within puppets. We had Art Trek, with Harvey as a teacher at a school for Star Trek students. We had Foldiana Jones, where Jacob Minch was seemingly made canon. We had Miss Perigami’s, where suddenly McQuarrie had a new genre of puppets to play with.
This was dangerous. It had started a debate about canonicity.
I spent many calls with my camera turned on, adjusted to a whiteboard in my room as I tried to explain a “Timeline” for the inclusion of BTFolds, scratching things out, drawing fresh arrows, designating things as “Post Skittles” and “Pre-Skittles.” PJOU had been rebooted, and I didn’t have time to read a 10,000 word story in the midst of reading things for the DCOU and also entering another year of classes. The WFOU was cranking stories out like clockwork, Guillermo dedicating hours of his life to write story after story, and we couldn’t catch up before suddenly, those that agreed to write for the universe, were now writing for the universe.
We were having a debate behind the scenes. We finally came to a conclusion.
Ultimately, it’s the thesis statement that you’ll find in “Other Tales.” It reads as follows, “Everything is Canon. If you want it to be.” This meant that you can make your own decision as to what’s canon, what isn’t, and how these universes interact with one another.
But this had marked a kernel of an idea, one for an end-of-the-site saga simply titled “The Origami Universe.” A massive crossover event, spanning various origami universes, various narratives, and having an interconnected goal of “Destroying Funtime Once and For All.”
While Funtime isn’t the main villain of most of our OUs (VGOU, for example, doesn’t mention Funtime a single time), it’s the universal threat that started all of this. These sagas have been attempted before; The Fako Saga was meant to be Fako Mustacho in other stories, doing things behind the scenes. Instead, we got Shredder Squad, Foldtastic Four and Minch. The OU would just be a massive crossover event, not something that hints towards the potential for crossovers.
I have all of the stories. They’ve all been completed. They Will Not Be Coming Out.
I’m sure this is upsetting to a few. Roughly 66,000 words were completely written for this. All of it does not hold up to the quality that me — and most of the council — would like it to be. It was a confusing, muddy mess that made no coherent sense. Funtime was defeated by story four (with a weird villain reveal), by story 6 they’re taking on a whole new enemy with a Shredder Squad full of characters that no one cared about all-that-much. A universe ends with the B and C-list villains fighting something we don’t all care about. It’s not a way to go out.
We were going to do the Anthology thing, with brief “Conclusion” stories to tie everything up in a nice bow, however, most authors backed out by the outlining stage. It was disappointing to cancel that.
The Spider-Fold was a story that couldn’t really be posted on the site. It had broken some rules that, if we had asked Hades to edit them all this late in the game, you wouldn’t even get the OU out until probably February of 2023. It. Was. A. Mess. Not in the way that a story was a mess; it’s a good story, but it doesn’t fit with the OU or some of the rules on our site. If Hades chooses to post it on their own site, or a wattpad page, or something, they will make a post to let you know. It’s also yet another Spider-Fold story that didn’t focus on Cal. That’s always been a weird trend.
Book of Boba Felt hints towards the fact that McQuarrie, 2022/2023 – or 2024? 2025? (Where in the timeline this goes was a mess), is overran by Funtime and EduFun, but Boba Felt kickstarts a new rebellion amongst the schools. It was a mess.
Everything about it was a fumbled mess, one that would stain the endings presented in the MOU, in the DCOU, PJOU, even the “Decide the ending for yourself” Conclusion of the WFOU. It would’ve messed with the fundamental conclusions of the VGOU. It will go unseen.
Besides quality, there’s a few other reasons “The Origami Universe” will not be coming out:
- Low Viewership Count — 2022 is our worst year. Like, not even joking with you, we’re 3k views behind 2016, and I don’t think we’ll ever reach the viewership heights of, say, 2018 or 2021 in this short of a time frame. We figured this would happen; only so much discussion can occur for a world who’s actual published books ended years ago.
- Low Interaction — Largely, not just within this circle but internet-wide, a lot of traffic for “forum-like” discussion has shifted to sites such as Discord and Skype. This has been a double-edge sword, as people can have interactions with one another immediately, however, this has decreased comments on the site, which lowers ourselves in the algorithm.
- You guys just hate one another — I have seen so much vitriolic disdain. This sort of refusal to talk to users, this hidden meanness. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve also done it. We all have our bad days. But it’s been like a bad year for some of you guys. It’s sad to see. We’re such a small community already, and we’ve pushed ourselves further and further apart. The vitriolic hate has led to boycotting of universes, as though someone said “because you said this mean thing about my stories, I won’t read yours.” It’s sad. It’s a failure to communicate. One of my biggest disappointments with this site’s closure is seeing this fallout, and not doing anything to stop it as a hopeful role model to you guys.
- Some people are diehard EU fans — Not to diss on it, but it’s ten years old, when most of the writers you see writing (for example, me), were middle school age. It was 109,169 words. the MOU is quadruple that size with many high-quality stories. the PJOU is double that. The DCOU is triple. There’s so much more out there that has been missed. The Origami Universe would not be doing any justice to those users.
- This point annoys me so much and I don’t have a name for it, and if I start actually going into it it’ll make people more upset. Point is, when I presented this idea (which was presented to me by someone else and then I made a document around to make something suited to each user), and got people to agree, I tried working closely with users, checking in on them and making sure things were going smoothy. Then things became “phoned in” and people flat out told me they didn’t care about the site or the stories. I have written a few sentences now, all in various tones, and I can’t figure out a nicer way to say more. I’m just gonna stop.
- We’re moving forward — I think, ultimately, that’s what this all boils down to: a moving forward. The annoyance comes from a place of exhaustion; a constant workflow since 2012 for some of us, 2018 for others (me), and even as recent as 2020. That’s why we hate one another. We’re just exhausted with our existence. No one really wanted the OU; they just wanted stories done and out so that we can all move onto the next project. From Hades and Noah to Jar Jar and Jawa, I’ve interacted with people that I hope to still communicate and potentially work with as collaborators in the future. However, we need a break. With the site’s ending, hopefully that’ll give us that. I’ll say, I’m tired of checking in every other week for “progress reports.” Nonetheless, I think I see my calling as an editor or a writer within comic books or some other collaborative medium. We must move forward. We must grow. We must change.
Originally, the site was going to conclude with “Shredder Squad vs. The Council of Owls.” A story that would be a crossover between DCOU, PJOU, MOU, and even Revisited as they face off against a nationwide cabal of storytellers that work in the shadows, shaping the “Folds” for years to come. It’s done. It’s not coming out, because collaborative writing is awful and incoherent when both authors are not sharing new chapters to review and work with.
With this cancelled, it means that we have one story left for the site: The PJOU Finale, by Hades.
However, upon hearing this cancellation, JC and Jawa have decided to make a fabled return to write a set of Revisited stories that, at least, act as sort of comfort endings for not just the characters, but the site itself, returning to the roots of the McQuarrie kids. I hope it doesn’t have Wishing Skittles. I think it’s Bag and Crinkle 2, Anakin Skyfolder, and Foldy Wan Kenobi.
I’m thinking about making some sort of conclusion thing myself, something to at least put a bow on the universes that shaped our writing ability. I’m not sure what it will be, though. It’ll come to me in a dream, no doubt.
I’m sorry about this.
I’ve been in a funk, I guess, but I am genuinely sorry about the massive cancellations that have happened this year; I’m sorry that the flame has slowly died out to a whimper, and the candle wax has solidified again. I hope to at least reignite a flame later on, for another thing. I hope you guys light your candles again for something you’re actually passionate about. Most of all, though, I hope you guys keep being the amazing people you already are. I’ll come back next time with some actually good news.