Hi everyone, wanted to crawl out of lurkdom to say that I really enjoy reading all your discussions! Just wanted to share my two cents on ~the future~. I've always felt that if I were dnp I would want to have some sense of where I was heading in the long long term, and assuming they're together those long term plans would probably involve being able to be less regularly open about small things but overall more open about the bigger things (for example: if they move into a permanent home/get married/have kids one day, chances are they won't want to show too many details of their private day-to-day lives, for their own security and also for their potential kids' wellbeing - but on the flip side, you can hardly be living together with children and still keep your relationship a secret). For that to be the case, I think they need a couple of things:
- A smaller fanbase, or a fanbase that is less invested in their personal lives
- A stable income/career that isn't based primarily on their relationship/their personal lives.
I don't think this means that they want to step away fully from the Dan and Phil brand, because joint content is something they clearly enjoy making and (as you guys have said) things they do together are currently going to be more successful, at least initially, than other projects. That said, they may want a gradual transition away from the whole double act thing and to begin to branch out into other creative areas independently (with support and input from each other, ofc) in order to shift focus away from their private lives. This was what I understood the whole 'giving the people what they want' thing to be about - I interpreted it as DnP saying 'we're going to step away from this a bit in the long term, but we care about all of you and want to meet as many of you as possible and give you a year full of constant joint content'. Now we're onto stage 2, where they maybe want to create a bit of a separation between their relationship and their career (as I think I would - I'm not sure I would want my career, public persona, income, means of creative self-expression, home, emotional support system, and most of my platonic friendships to all be tied up with my relationship, because that seems like a lot of pressure to put on something succeeding, even if it's very healthy and established. Of course, a lot of people (including me) do have most of their lives tied into their romantic relationships, but I'm not sure it's a good idea long-term for your career/mode of self-expression to be one of those things).
Anyway, my point is that we obviously can't know what DnP's thoughts or plans are, but if they seem to be retreating a bit this year from joint content I don't think we should take it as them ~breaking up or drifting apart - it seems more likely to me that they're just beginning to transition towards a more open and settled life together. I still expect we'll get mukbangs, baking, regular AP and occasional dinofs, and I'd guess that whatever solo projects they unveil in the future will be clearly underscored by collaboration of some kind. I just think that maybe they don't want to be fully open about their relationship until it's very clear that that relationship is in no way being engaged with as a 'product' (not saying that phandom feel that way or that DnP are intentionally using Phan as a marketing tool, but realistically atm DnP do get most of their money from people being invested in their relationship, and I'm not sure they'd feel comfortable with that if they were fully open about being together, however unspoken that openness is).
Anyway! Thank you for reading that long ramble, and thank you for all your respectful discussion and insights, it's always nice to find a calm and mature place for fandom to chat