Why Anodites didn't work in Ben 10
Tactical Ochoa last edited by
The late Derrick J. Wyatt once explained why he didn't like Anodites, as shown below. This is one thing that I certainly do agree with him on. I think that the way that the Anodites were incorporated into Alien Force ended up causing more harm than good to the Ben 10 universe and was an unnecessary explanation behind Gwen's powers. The Original Series already provided enough of an explanation as is and even then, more simpler explanations could've been used in Alien Force instead that wouldn't undermine Ben 10's lore and worldbuilding.
Anodites illustrated what I think is one of the major issues with Alien Force being that the series tried to make everything about aliens and focused too much on aliens. When Anodites were introduced in Alien Force, it was for the intention of making magic into alien-derived powers. Magic isn't actually magic, but instead is an alien thing...because yeah, that makes sense given what the Original Series established for magic. So in that case, characters like Hex and Charmcaster should also be Anodites as well, right? Nope, because Alien Force season 3 and Ultimate Alien retconned magic back into being just magic, as if the writers themselves realized that the Anodites retcon didn't work. From what I've read, there were many complaints from fans and viewers about this. Enough complaints to convince the writers to pull a 180° on the Anodite retcon. The problem with making magic into alien-derived powers is very much what DJW stated. It made the Ben 10 universe feel smaller and less interesting. It undermined much of the depth and variety that the Original Series created. Magic added so much to Ben 10 and the Anodites retcon ended up being more of a disservice to Ben 10's lore and worldbuilding. It's one of the reasons why I felt that the folks behind Alien Force and Ultimate Alien didn't have a good understanding of Ben 10.
Then there’s the incorporation of Gwen being half Anodite as a way to explain her powers. As I mentioned before, it’s an explanation that I find to be unnecessary. The Original Series has already provided enough of an explanation behind Gwen’s ability to use magic. Many humans, in general, can use magic and Gwen has an aura that includes her into that very aspect of Ben 10. Also, no, having that aura doesn’t mean that she’s half alien because characters, like Hex and Charmcaster, also have a magic aura and they’re fully human. I recall seeing some argue some years ago that Gwen needed to be half Anodite because she was too good and powerful at magic and that justified it. If someone decides to bring that claim back up again, no, she wasn’t. Gwen started off as an amateur and there are plenty of moments in the Original Series that backed that up. Even when she got better, Gwen was outmatched by Hex, who’s more experienced than her, and struggled to hold her own against Charmcaster. Even then, there are better ways to explain Gwen’s powers than to make her half alien and, again, undermining the lore and worldbuilding in Ben 10, such as establishing that there are sorcerers amongst the Tennyson family tree. I feel like this does a disservice to Gwen as a character herself because she’s a dedicated and determined character who becomes good at things because she works hard to achieve them. While yes, she still had to learn how to use her powers, making it so that she’s half alien and was powerful to begin with felt like a slap to the face with her as a character.
Now that’s not to say that Anodites can’t work in Ben 10, because I think there are ways that they can. The Little Moments fanfic series does an interesting thing with Anodites where they’re treated more like an urban legend, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Folks in the known universe have heard stories of them, but no one knows if they truly exist. It’s something that I find to be intriguing. Even then, simply having Anodites exist as their own alien species would’ve been fine. Just leave the Tennyson family untouched by them. This is what Little Moments did as well. The writers of that series kept Gwen as a fully human character. Verdona is also fully human as well, being a sorceress herself, like her granddaughter. Another interesting idea to incorporate Anodites is to put a more magic-oriented spin on it by having Anodites be the inhabitants of Legerdomain living alongside the human sorcerers there. One idea that I heard was that Anodites could be the result of a magic user that’s so tapped into magic that they can transform into a pure mana form. I don’t think that’s necessary to incorporate though, but it is something that’s more interesting than the aliens route with them.
I think I’ve provided enough material here. Anodites can work in Ben 10. It’s the way that they were incorporated into Alien Force and how they retconned the lore and worldbuilding is what made them not work. Again, I think DJW is right here. Not everything needs to involve and be connected to aliens and Ben 10 works better off that way. The Ben 10 universe is filled with all sorts of variety and depth not just because of the franchise’s science fiction elements, but its fantasy elements as well. Magic is a big part of the Ben 10 universe and trying to make it into an alien thing takes away a lot from said universe. Making Gwen half Anodite was also unnecessary and she worked just fine and better off as a fully human sorceress.
If anyone has any thoughts of their own about this, feel free to leave a comment down below.