How To

Fan petitions: When do they work, and when do they not?

Fan petitions: When do they work, and when do they not?
Jacob Yothment

Jacob Yothment

  • Updated:

You might have heard about the fan petition to completely remake the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

Game of Thrones petition

With nearly 1.5 million signatures, it has gotten quite a bit of attention. However, these signatures will more than likely prove fruitless as HBO has shown zero-interest in reshooting the final season.  Even the actors and actresses have spoken about how ridiculous they found the petition.

“All of these petitions and things like that — I think it’s disrespectful to the crew, and the writers, and the filmmakers who have worked tirelessly over 10 years, and for 11 months shooting the last season,” actress Sophie Turner said.

Recently, fans of the MCU have created a petition to change the fate of Tony Stark from “Avengers: Endgame.” With only about 40,000 signatures, and the vast majority of fans enjoying the film, fans can’t expect this petition to make a difference either.

Since even petitions that get loads of signatures don’t go anywhere, why do fans think they’ll make a difference? Well, it turns out that sometimes they work.

How Hey Arnold! got a new movie

Hey Arnold
Arnold, you’re a bold kid

Around 2009, fans of the Nickelodeon series “Hey Arnold!” started to petition to end the series how the creators intended.

Initially, “Hey Arnold!” was supposed to end with a movie about Arnold and his friends journeying to the jungle to uncover the truth about Arnold’s lost parents. Though production started, the project was scrapped, never to be heard from again.

However, fans created a petition that generated about 15,000 signatures for the writers to make “Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie.” In response to the desire to bring back the show, Nickelodeon brought back the creator, Craig Bartlett, and made the movie.

So why did Arnold get a second chance while Daenerys is still cold and dead in the ashes of the city she incinerated? The answer to that might lie in the cost.

For the eighth season, each episode of “Game of Thrones” cost about $15 million. “Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie” was not released in theaters. Also, since it was animated, it cost a lot less to make.

Another thing to point out is that “Hey Arnold!” was always meant to end with this movie. The only reason it didn’t happen was because it was canceled. The ending fans got from “Game of Thrones” was the ending the writers wanted to give. Clearly, there’s a big difference.

However, there might be more to the story.

Star Trek was saved by a letter-writing campaign

Captain Kirk
“I’ll never let go, Jack”

After an abysmal second season on NBC,  it looked like “Star Trek” would not be returning. However, fans of the series started a letter-writing campaign to get a third season. After literally thousands of letters for fans were sent to NBC, the network realized the Nielsen ratings they were abiding by were not as reliable as they had hoped. As a result, NBC brought back “Trek” for a third season.

After more bad ratings in the third season, the series was canceled. However, since there were now enough episodes, the series entered syndication, where it became a pop culture phenomenon.

So why did “Star Trek” get another season, but “Game of Thrones” didn’t? In this particular instance, “Star Trek” had not been officially canceled, according to an article from “Game of Thrones” is officially over. Secondly, Trekkies were able to prove that the Nielsen Ratings were wrong. In fact, according to the same article, the ratings were faulty and doctored by employees at NBC to get the show canceled.

Sure there are loads of fans of “Game of Thrones” who have been bugging the creators of the show to redo the final season, saying that the writers were “incompetent.” However, they can’t prove that anything egregious went into the making of the final season.  If they could, they MIGHT have a case.

Firefly: You might not get what you want, but you might get something


In 2002, Fox released “Firefly,” a sci-fi series that was canned after a single season in which a handful of episodes aired out of order. After it was canceled, fans of the series went ballistic. The show left a lasting impact, and fans still want to see it return.

To urge the production of more adventures, so-called Browncoats bought the series on DVD and shared the episodes with friends. The continued DVD sales and word-of-mouth campaign were better marketing than Fox ever managed. Remember, this was before Netflix pioneered the video streaming we take for granted today.

Thanks to the ongoing fanbase engagement, Fox continued the adventures with the 2005 feature film, “Serenity.”

Although we still don’t have a second season of “Firefly,” the love of the fans was what led to us getting the movie. Although fans might not get to bring Tony Stark back to life, or give Daenerys and Jon Snow the ending they deserve, a little persistence might result in something.

If a fanbase is really motivated, there’s also the Kickstarter route. In 2013, fans of “Veronica Mars” shattered records by contributing $2 million in 11 hours to bankroll a feature film. The movie ended up losing money, so maybe the network had the right idea in the first place.

Throwing the Hail Mary


In some cases, fans resorted to more creative methods of getting their favorite shows back. In some cases, fans mailed items related to the show to the studios. When “Jericho” was canceled, fans mailed peanuts. When “Roswell” was facing cancelation, fans mailed Tabasco sauce. After “Friday Night Lights” played its final game, the studio was sent lightbulbs and eye drops.

In each of these cases, the show was kept on the air. Whether or not the weirdest mail call ever was the reason why these shows stayed on the air, we don’t know. However, the studios very well might have kept the shows on just to keep the rest of their mail from getting saucy.

Learning from How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother

Fans of “How I Met Your Mother” were also disappointed by the show’s final season. Although there was an alternate ending to the show, it was not created in response to the fans petition to reshoot the final season. 

Just like “Game of Thrones,” fans didn’t get their reshoot. Also just like “Game of Thrones,” “How I Met Your Mother” ended on its own volition. The hit show received the ending that writers had wanted for better or worse.

So what can we learn from “How I Met Your Mother?”

As the Rolling Stones have said, you can’t always get what you want.

However, as they later clarified, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.

“How I Met Your Mother” did not give us the ending we wanted, but it did give us the ending the writers wanted.

The same goes for “Game of Thrones.” To be completely fair, although there might be endings that more people would like, there is no ending that EVERYONE would like. 

Although many fans still dislike the finale of “How I Met Your Mother,” fans have grown to despise it less over the years.

Sure, a bad finale can sting. However, as the years go by, you might appreciate the finale for what it was.

Wrapping up

A petition and persistence can sometimes make all the difference. However, sometimes they’re a fool’s errand, and sometimes you need to think outside the box.

Maybe writing a petition is too bland. Maybe, if you really want HBO to remake the final season of “Game of Thrones,” you should mail them plastic dragons and bottles of wine.

Jacob Yothment

Jacob Yothment

Jacob Yothment is the assistant content editor for Softonic. He's worked in journalism since high school, and has been a fan of all things technology and video games his entire life. He is a 2016 graduate of Purdue University Northwest.

Latest from Jacob Yothment

You may also like

  1. MW3 Zombies reveal: Everything you need to know

    MW3 Zombies reveal: Everything you need to know

    Read more
  2. How to collect Birthday Presents in Fortnite

    How to collect Birthday Presents in Fortnite

    Read more
  3. Pokemon GO Oddish Research Day overview: Quests and rewards

    Pokemon GO Oddish Research Day overview: Quests and rewards

    Read more
  4. How to download Messenger Lite APK now that is not in Google Play

    How to download Messenger Lite APK now that is not in Google Play

    Read more
  5. How to evolve Applin into Dipplin: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet guide

    How to evolve Applin into Dipplin: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet guide

    Read more
  6. WoW Secrets of Azeroth Day 13: Stormshroud Peak and A Curious Orb

    WoW Secrets of Azeroth Day 13: Stormshroud Peak and A Curious Orb

    Read more