Sequel-begging: a term usually used (yes, I did that on purpose) to describe hints, throwaway lines or scenes in a movie whose only purpose is to entice the studio into making a sequel or the audience into demanding one. They’re everywhere these days, done with various degrees of success. However, one of the most tantalising (and curiously underused) hints are those regarding Arthur’s return. We all know the drill: Arthur’s demise in Camlann (or Salisbury or wherever the author puts it) may or may not be permanent. According to some variations of the legend he shall rise again (in a manner similar to Cthulu I suspect…) for purposes undetermined at a time undefined.
It should be an author’s/scriptwriter’s dream come true! And yet, the only reincarnation/second coming story I am aware of is Meg Cabot’s Avalon High. Why is that? I’d say it’s the intimidation of having to handle characters with such complicated and often contradicting backstories, characters that are, even within their own world, larger than life. Except it can’t be that considering the amount of adaptations, reimagining, differing interpretations and what have you that the Arthurian legends face. And know, I am not complaining. That is how a legend remains relevant: by being reimagined.
Or is it that taking these characters and these stories would not be able to retain their special something if they were placed at another time period? Well, I had a lot of fun once assigning the role of the Star Wars movies to Arthurian characters, so I will just say that if the original material is respected and understood, then heck! Go nuts on the adaptation! Nobody said exactly where/when Arthur will return…
Of course it could be that the reason a second-coming story is not often told is exactly because so few hints are given about it. Reincarnation stories always run the risk of simply being a repetition of the original in a different setting. Balancing the line between tribute to the old and introduction of new material is hard at the best and having come across fanfics dealing with this sort of trope very, very well but also very, very, very badly I’ve learnt to be weary.
All I’ll say is, I’d love to read a second-coming story (or see it in movie form, I’m not picky). I also wish someone would explain to me why is it that nobody back then seems to have written on the subject….