Why the Destiny Universe is a lot like the Marvel Universe, and why that’s ok.
There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding Destiny 2’s handling of the lore. Whether regarding updates to previous material, conflicts with known information, or the general tone of the narrative. People want Destiny’s lore to be “consistent” and to “respect” what Destiny 1 introduced.
Words like disappointed, immature, and retcon are consistently used as people react to these changes. I used to be one of those people. I wanted everything to fit together. The Destiny universe was one big puzzle waiting to be solved. There could be missing sections, but you couldn’t re-cut the pieces.
After some thought I’ve come to re-think that stance. I’ve realized that Destiny is a lot more like Marvel than it is The Expanse or Game of Thrones and that’s ok.
In traditional prose fiction, books are nearly always written by a single author. Whether spanning one or many works the single author allows for consistency, it allows for increased scrutiny, and it helps to minimize complication.
We see this in the world of comics as well when looking at creator-owned material. These comics are typically designed as self-contained novels with a clear ending. The creators simply choose to serialize their story instead of releasing it all at once. They have the freedom to make big dramatic changes and not have them reversed down the road.
The Marvel universe is not like this. Marvel comics are written by hundreds of people over dozens of years. The characters and franchise do not belong to the authors themselves but to Marvel. Each author attempts to tell the best story they can using the current material available. While some stories can have major consequences, all things are reversible. The characters are intended to live on forever so that new stories can be told to future readers.
Destiny is a lot more like Marvel than it is prose fiction. Destiny is written by dozens if not hundreds of people over a number of years. The Destiny franchise does not belong to these specific authors, but to Bungie. With each new expansion a new story arc is told. The narrative director and the writers attempt to tell the best story they can with the material available to them. If a change is needed to make that story more cohesive or relatable, it is permissible.
The statement that Destiny 1 grimoire is “folklore” was simply an acknowledgement of this fact. It is all folklore. Like in the comic book world, the old material provides context and lore, but is trumped by the currently occurring arc. To say that new material cannot update old material would be a detriment and promote the stagnation of the universe. It would transform Destiny from a franchise into a creator-owned work. One written and owned by the original authors.
A New Perspective
It’s not wrong to ask for consistency. Comic book fans do it all the time. Some old Marvel stories were great. Some were not. Some of Destiny’s old lore was great, and some was not. But it’s all in the past. These stories are living things and best experienced in the now.
For me personally, I’ve decided to enjoy Destiny in the same way I enjoy Marvel. I look forward to each new entry in the series for what it is, a new take on a storied past. I love the history, I love the lore, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.