Twitter claims that the Beatles have announced that Peter Jackson is making a movie about them. “We are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson,” the Twitter account doing business as @-sign thebeatles tweeted.
The Beatles cannot be proud, and the Beatles cannot announce, and the Beatles cannot collaborate, because the Beatles do not exist. Peter Jackson can turn New Zealand into Middle-earth and can make Elijah Wood (internet-reported height: five-foot-six) stand knee-high to Ian McKellen (internet-reported height: five-foot-11) because those are movie things, constructed within the context of movies. Peter Jackson cannot turn two individual living people and a bunch of legal permissions into a collective entity made up of four people, who quit working together circa 1970, who agreed to dissolve that collective entity in 1975, and two of whom have since died.
Even the fictitious Beatles who released some ersatz “Beatles” content in the ’90s don’t exist. It is no longer possible to form a Fab Quorum of the Fab Four. Even a majority of the various “Fifth Beatles” are now dead.
If not for the cruelties of fate and human nature, if the members of the Beatles had all lived, they probably would have inevitably re-Beatled by now. No grudge is strong enough to keep a band off the Boomer nostalgia circuit. But the Beatles remain irrevocably in the time before, the ideal of a band that went out, did its thing, and went away, making room for other, newer bands. They were not the greedy undead Rolling Stones, shuffling along from self-parody to horror to ageless abstracted brand equity, mascots for the annihilation of the possibility of youth culture. The Beatles are immortal because the Beatles are gone.