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What Is a Hexalogy?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 17, 2024
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A hexalogy is a set of literary work that involves six components. Some describe this term as related to any “narrative works,” which would include not only literature, but more modern mass media works of fiction including television series episodes, film projects, or other visual media works. Another way to describe the hexalogy is simply as a series of six, where presenting a collection of works in this way can be part of an artistic appeal to an audience.

In many cases, a hexalogy represents the continuation of an original trilogy, a set of three works, with an additional trilogy, another set of three works. In total, the collected works may be presented as “hexalogies,” or sets of six. When these works are never amended, the series of six will be the final result.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of a hexalogy in modern Western society -- even though it is not traditionally referred to this way -- is the Star Wars series created and designed by George Lucas. This incredibly popular set of works continued its appeal across multiple generations, through the creation of an original trilogy in the 1980s, followed by an additional trilogy in the first decade of the new millennium. Since it is unlikely that this series will be continued in the future, it would be accurate to describe the entire set of Star Wars films, which are full-length films with a common setting, as a hexalogy. Some of primary characters, along with the greater plot line, remain the same or tightly connected, though the second trilogy is set in an earlier time period.

Other popular forms of hexalogies include books by the same author. When the set of published works reaches six, bundles of these books may commonly be sold as hexalogies. This is also the case with graphic novels or comic book series offerings. Indeed, even musical or visual art works, such as symphonies or paintings may occasionally be grouped in this format.

It’s important to note that the appearance of a hexalogy does not mean that the works of fiction are bounded at a specific number. After being sold in a series of six, fictional works can continue to be amended and sold as a longer series, though the term hexalogy would no longer apply. In some cases, where the hexalogy represents a historic landmark for a fiction series, the set of six can have enhanced value to collectors.

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Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Jul 23, 2012

@browncoat - I like that too, although six doesn't seem to be a very popular number for that kind of work. Probably because it's both too many books and too few. The Harry Potter books, for example, are seven because each one follows one year of high school and I imagine a lot of school based series would do the same.

However, if you look online you can find a lot of TV movie franchises that ended up with six films. I don't actually think they did it on purpose most of the time, but simply got to six and realized they were no longer making money.

Star Wars is one of the few I can think of that deliberately set out to make a storyline that arced over six movies and even that was just because the first three did so well they eventually decided to go back to it.

By browncoat — On Jul 22, 2012

@pastanaga - I'm not sure if that strictly counts, since it probably wasn't made with the intention of only sticking to six episodes. The makers of it probably hoped that they would get the chance to have another season, so they would have left cliff hangers and things. It isn't complete in itself.

I like it when books or films intend to complete a certain number of works and they use the works themselves to follow an arc. So, while there might be a complete story within the first book, it could also be viewed as the introduction to the whole story, while the final book could be viewed as the conclusion.

By pastanaga — On Jul 21, 2012

I really like that television is becoming more and more geared towards a niche, rather than having broad appeal. It makes sense, because there are so many channels to choose from now, people don't have to put up with a show they don't really enjoy.

And this seems to have brought with it a tendency to create a small hexalogy of episodes in order to test the waters, particularly if it follows an hour long format, or it is a particularly expensive production.

For example, I watched a series called "Call the Midwife" the other day which I had linked to record. When I got around to watching it, I realized there were only six episodes available. That's because the first season only had six episodes, but it did so well that they decided to make more.

It was probably fairly expensive to make, since it required period sets and costumes so they probably didn't want to make a full twelve episodes that they might usually make in case it bombed and they wasted the money.

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