Social media is abuzz today with the news that Dragon Con is continuing its streamlining efforts by cutting more of its long-standing fan tracks, in this case Whedonverse and Tolkien.
There is already a thread on the Dragon Con subreddit where attendees are discussing what might happen next, and someone even created a “Save Whedon Track” Facebook group. Meanwhile, a Tolkien track fan posted a call to action on Middle-Earth News with information on how to contact Dragon Con about that particular track’s elimination.
Personally, I think it’s past time for Dragon Con to get rid of all the single-fandom/writer tracks. I know for a fact that they’ve been working toward doing so since sometime in 2012, although I can’t say I necessarily agree with how they go about it – unless I’m missing something, they have a bad habit of eliminating tracks practically without warning, and in doing so, not giving those tracks one final Dragon Con in which to wrap things up. Much of what I’m seeing across social media today is less about them eliminating the Whedonverse and Tolkien tracks at all, but rather the fact that there won’t be any closure for the people who have loved and supported these longstanding tracks.
After my fifth Dragon Con last year, I wrote an article summarizing my experiences and thoughts and pointed out that “Because Dragon Con is a fan-run convention, and because many of the people running it have been doing so for a very long time, that unfortunately means that a lot of the tracks don’t evolve with geek and/or pop culture.” We can only hope that by cutting more of the single-fandom tracks and allowing for more direction and volunteers in the bigger tracks, we will see more panels and events evolving.
While nothing is set in stone yet, it seems likely that Tolkein’s works will be added to Fantasy Lit, while the Whedon show Buffy the Vampire Slayer will probably move to Urban Fantasy and his infamous Firefly series may end up with the American Sci-Fi/Fantasy Media track. The chances of such popular series disappearing entirely from Dragon Con programming are basically nonexistent, and while I understand that many attendees are concerned about losing their favorite events (such as the Buffy and/or Dr. Horrible shows), I say give Dragon Con a chance. They’ve needed to do more streamlining for a while now, and although they may not have handled these track cuts in the best way possible, inundating them with pleas to reinstate the Whedonverse or Tolkien tracks probably isn’t going to do much good.
Instead, if you want to contact Dragon Con, maybe simply ask if they’ve decided where your favorite series will end up in terms of existing tracks; perhaps even mention that favorite event that you don’t want to see disappear entirely. These track cuts were bound to happen and it’s highly unlikely we attendees can convince Dragon Con to bring them back, but we can remind the powers that be how much we love certain panels and events and hope that this information gets passed on to the track directors who take on Tolkien and Whedon’s works.
EDIT 1/10/16 at 1:23 PM Eastern
A source shared an email from Tony Gowell, Dragon Con Office Administrator: “This year, we are creating a new track called High Fantasy that includes all things Middle Earth, plus Game of Thrones, Shannara Chronicles, and other similar stories. Whedonverse programming will be divided among existing tracks. Buffy and Angel, for instance, will move to Urban Fantasy. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be found in X Track.”
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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