Thursday, 17 January 2013

Whitney Fordman Or Ellsworth

Inconsistencies are difficult to avoid in any fiction series, especially in either a long or a multi-authored one. The science fiction writer, Poul Anderson's, reply to readers who drew attention to discrepancies within any of his various and sometimes elaborate series was that complete consistency is possible only to the Almighty and a close study of scripture shows that even he does not always manage it.

In the Smallville TV series, Lana Lang's boyfriend is Whitney Fordman. In the Smallville novel, Dragon by Alan Grant, Lana's boyfriend is Whitney Ellsworth. And these are one guy, not two successive boyfriends with coincidentally the same first name. It is easy to explain this particular discrepancy. The surname "...Ellsworth..." is spoken by Lex Luthor who might simply be mistaken. Such mistakes or slips of the tongue occur in real life but usually not in fiction unless they turn out to be somehow relevant to the plot.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we must accept that, in the novel, Whitney's surname really is "Ellsworth". A comic book explanation would be that the TV series and the novels based on it are set in alternative universes where perhaps the only discernible difference is in one guy's surname! Before writing this post, I googled "Smallville Whitney Fordman", then "Smallville Whitney Ellsworth", in order to check - there might have been a TV episode in which for some reason Whitney had changed his surname, like his mother had remarried etc.

Instead, according to the Wikipedia article on "Whitney Fordman", the character's name before he was cast was to have been "Whitney Ellsworth" so the explanation is that Alan Grant was working from a "bible" for the show that preceded that particular name change. We are thus being given a small glimpse of a pre-production version of the story. Probably, there are other such changes of which we are unaware.

Later: On pp. 244 and 402, the text, not another character, refers to "Whitney Fordman" so that is this character's name in the novel and "Ellsworth" was a mistake by Luthor.

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