While we were enjoying our summer break in Canada, the world was captivated by the new series ‘The Twilight Saga’.

Boldly going where no vampire has gone before, Stephenie Meyer boldly shook the literary world with her bestselling books.

But this was no ordinary success. ‘The Twilight Saga’ is the story of Bella Swan, a young woman who ventures out into the world to find love. But not just any love. She seeks to find Prince Charming, a man whose heart she breaks to earn.

Though this may seem like a fairytale story, the true magic of ‘The Twilight Saga’ is how effortlessly it weaves a timeless tale into contemporary themes. What was once a story about a young woman finding love has evolved into a potent metaphor for the fight against apathy and the desire to find passion and purpose in one’s life. A fitting tribute to Stephenie Meyer’s literary prowess, let’s dive into the remarkable cultural phenomenon that is ‘The Twilight Saga’ and its impact on our world.

A Tale of Two Cities

In 2014, Stephenie Meyer released the long-awaited third instalment of her Twilight Saga, titled ‘Eclipse’.

Set in motion by Vincent and Bella’s passionate lovemaking during Bella’s visit to Italy, the events of ‘Eclipse’ unfold against the backdrop of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Like its predecessors, ‘Eclipse’ continues the story of Bella’s quest for love as she ventures to Italy to attend the World Cup. However, unlike its predecessors, ‘Eclipse’ takes place a year after the events of ‘New Moon’.

While in Italy, Bella meets and immediately falls for an Italian man named Salvatore. Desperate for a wife to attend the World Cup, Vincent forces Bella to accept Salvatore’s proposal and move to Italy with him. But unbeknownst to Vincent and Bella, the overbearing manner in which Vincent forces Bella to wed Salvatore foreshadows more tragedy to come.

‘New Moon’ and its two prequels established the tribulations that are continually heaped upon the woman named Bella. But despite the horror she witnesses and the pain she suffers, Bella never once ceases her quest to find love. Ultimately, she does not give up until she is given a reason to. In ‘Eclipse’, we see that even when life seems unlivable, Bella’s love for her husband and daughter remains undaunted.

A Marriage Retrospective

In 2015, Warner Bros. released the first in what would become a three-part series of historical reimagining titled ‘The King’s Speech.’

Starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, the critically acclaimed film depicts the complicated courtship between King George VI and Princess Elizabeth. After the unexpected death of King George’s father, Prince Albert, the young man becomes king. But much to Queen Victoria’s dismay, George declines to marry Elizabeth, whom he considers beneath him. Instead, George chooses to wed the beautiful Swedish woman Princess Margaret. 

The year is 1897. The film begins at the very moment when George and Margaret are married. We see the newlywed couple happily settle into their opulent new home at Buckingham Palace. They are blessed with a son, who they name King Edward, after Queen Victoria’s late husband, King Edward VII. While the world focuses on this new family, the true tragedy unfolds behind closed doors.

Like Bella, Queen Victoria could not bear to see her precious George marry another. So she does what she must in order to save face. In true Victorian fashion, she orchestrates a massive scheme to prevent the couple from having children. But her scheming does not go unnoticed. And before long, Queen Victoria is forced to admit defeat and permit King George and Princess Margaret to begin a family. As in the case of ‘Harry Potter’ and its two-part finale, we are treated to a magnificent display of magical realism as the foursome are happily settled into their new lives.

Rerun Rumours

In 2015, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ smashed domestic records and became one of the biggest films of all time. With a whopping $255 million in ticket sales, it broke the record for the highest opening weekend of all time and set a new box office benchmark. But the movie doesn’t stop there. In the months following this historic debut, ‘Age of Ultron’ became the basis for a massive wave of reruns on television and online platforms like Netflix. Not content with one record-breaking film, the Marvel Studios sequel was hailed as even more extraordinary when it was revealed that it was the subject of more than 500 references in the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ series. From comic book characters to action scene mimics, ‘Age of Ultron’ has been referenced more than any other movie in cinema history (save for maybe ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Star Wars’).

Comic book movies were hardly a new phenomenon when ‘Ironman’ was released in 2008. But even then, it was clear that ‘Ironman’ would not just be a one-off. Audiences had been hungering for super hero films for decades. And with the rise of comic book adaptations in the 21st century, it was only a matter of time before our favourite characters made their way to the big screen.

A Match Made In Heaven

In the same year that ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ set a new box office record, Netflix released the critically acclaimed series ‘Suits’.

Based on the American TV series of the same name, ‘Suits’ is the story of Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a high-powered Toronto attorney who moves to New York in pursuit of a career in America. But what begins as a golden opportunity for the ambitious young man becomes a veritable hellish nightmare when he meets Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), a manipulative, dangerous woman whose sole purpose is to destroy his life and career. In the process, she does fall in love with him, albeit a love she hypocritically keeps at arms length.

The show’s phenomenal success and critical acclaim was assured from the moment it was released. Yet another opportunity for contemporary themes as well as a powerful story of a love affair gone wrong. With its gritty portrayal of modern-day romance and obsession, ‘Suits’ is destined to become a classic, much like ‘True Detective’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’

But it wasn’t just Netflix. Shortsightedness has become a trend in Hollywood. And while many might argue that this is a positive development, it has had its downsides. One of the most prominent is that creators are now beholden to streaming services for the bulk of their income. In an effort to remain relevant in an ever-changing world, many in the industry have begun to explore new, innovative ways to fund and distribute creative content. And as the world’s wealthiest and most famous continue to bankroll Hollywood’s brightest and best, traditional theatrical distribution models may no longer be enough to sustain creativity.

Creative Spirits

It would be a missed opportunity not to acknowledge the indelible mark that Stephanie Meyer has left on the literary world. With each novel, she has become more daring and imaginative, continuing to challenge herself and her readers with each new work. In 2016, the multi-award-winning author published the first book in what is perhaps her greatest creation: The ‘Dark Tower’ series. Set in a mythic kingdom, Roland Deschain continues his quest for the Dark Tower, a structure of unmatched power and promise. Each book in this series is named after a gun in the ‘Dark Tower’ cannon, leading up to the final installment, which is scheduled to be released in 2025.

With each new novel, we learn more about Roland’s troubled past. However, it is his present circumstances that prove far more interesting. A self-acknowledged hermit who spends most of his time tinkering with technological marvels and solving puzzles, Roland is the last line of defense against an onslaught of trolls, ghouls, and other malevolent creatures. In the words of Stephenie Meyer, Roland is a man who simply cannot stay out of trouble – and that is precisely what makes him interesting.

A Revolution In Character Design

Where ‘The Twilight Saga’ truly shines is in its iconic and fully realised character designs. Though the films were not designed with traditional animation in mind, they were the beginning of a revolution. And as 3D computer graphics evolved, so did the films’ sophistication. From subtle expressions to amazing special effects, these timeless tales are animated by the best in class.