Jun 20 2012 12:30pm

Ender’s Game Filming News Roundup

This week, principle photography on the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game officially wrapped, moving the long awaited project ever closer to actually coming out. This is exciting news for Ender fans, as a movie version has been in development for literally decades. (Hey, remember when Jake Lloyd was going to play Ender back in like 1998? Whatever happened to him?) You can follow along with the progress of the film by reading the producers’ detailed and fascinating production blog.

On the other hand, completion of principle photography follows news that the film’s release date has moved back by eight months from March to November 2013. No reason was given for the move, though releasing the kid-oriented picture in the holiday season, getting out of a crowded competition for March audiences, and giving the special effects team more time in post-production are each perfectly valid reasons for the delay. 

Also, when the film does finally come out, it won’t be 100% Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. In his account of visiting the set and recording a cameo line, Card explains that “very few of the scenes in this movie [come from the book]”, and he is totally in favor of that. Card specifically describes watching Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin shoot a quiet scene on a shuttle craft that is totally original to the movie, and praises the subtle and smart acting of both Ford and Butterfield. 

And, after all, all adaptations are in some ways new creations based on previous works, and Card feels that Gavin Hood’s movie captures the characters and story well enough while creating entirely new scenes and moments. So perhaps, rather than a near literal retelling like the movie versions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone or The Hunger Games, it would be a good idea to think of Hood’s film as a science fiction movie heavily indebted to Ender’s Game.

Steven Padnick has written about comics and other subjects before on and will surely do so again.

Kathrine Roid
1. Kathrine Roid
I'm going to take the optimistic "If Card enjoys this different beat being spawned from Ender's game, I will as well" view.
Kathrine Roid
2. Kathrine Roid
I hate making a typo that is still a word, so no wiggly red line alerts me of my mistake.
Chuk Goodin
3. Chuk
It works with different beat too, kind of.
I haven't read a Card novel in years but I am interested to see what kind of reception this movie gets. Wouldn't be an opening night watch for me.
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
*minor grammatical point - should be "principal" in this context.

I'm hoping for the best here but am quite nervous. :-o Cast is strong, but the directing and especially the writing will be critical.
Kathrine Roid
5. dioxholster
I'll be frank, authors are rarely good judges on what makes a good film, even though their profession is closely tied.
j p
6. sps49
Just so the ending is the same-- that is the core of the story, bu Hollywood loves to be original when mining others' stories.
7. Mouette
@5. Generally, perhaps not, but Card's original background is in playwrighting and acting as well as novel writing. If he says its good, I'm fairly confident in his opinion, given how long he's been fighting to get this movie done right.
Kathrine Roid
8. a1ay
Just so the ending is the same-- that is the core of the story, but Hollywood loves to be original when mining others' stories

Possible ways in which Hollywood could be "original" with the ending:

1. Ender finishes final "game" and destroys Formic homeworld, Graff reveals that it was just a game, in fact entire war is fictional, just a way of distracting the population from oppressive rule of Interplanetary Hegemon

2. Ender finishes final "game", wakes up inside the End of the World/Giant's Drink world, which turns out to have been reality - whole Formic War/Battle School was just escapist dream of small child living in weird universe with giants, peculiar wolf children etc WHOA HEADRUSH

3. Ender finishes final "game" and destroys Formic homeworld, Graff reveals that in fact he was controlling a real fleet in a human-vs-human war and has just destroyed Earth, Ender falls to knees, raises arms and yells "You blew it up! You maniacs! Damn you to hell!"

4. Ender finishes final "game" and destroys Formic homeworld, Graff says "well done", Ender takes home Space Battle Little League trophy and special jacket, goes to prom with Petra Arkanian, makes out in back seat of car borrowed from kindly avuncular Colonel Graff

5. Ender finishes final "game" and destroys Formic homeworld, M.D. weapon turns homeworld into inexplicable large blob of sentient amorphous evil, Ender forced to unite with wise-cracking jive-talking Formic hive queen and aged Hegemon Peter transported back from the future by amorphous evil blob for no adequately explained reason in order to fight new enemy

6. Ender finishes final "game" and destroys Formic homeworld, alarmed to see Colonel Graff and all other I.F. personnel gradually fading into transparency, mystical voice explains that he is actually a Speaker to the Dead with the sacred mission of putting ghosts to rest, entire War long past but ghosts of war dead still obsessed by need to WIN; followup series will see Ender travelling around British Columbia Speaking to the Dead in succession of increasingly mawkish episodes; gaping plot holes (how everyone else seees ghosts too, how ghosts pilot space shuttles etc) left infuriatingly unaddressed
Kathrine Roid
10. Alisha S.
Thanks for the update on the film, Steven!

I'm still withholding judgement on how to feel about this adaptation. I'm one of those EG fans that was hoping and praying the movie never made it to the screen, because of a belief that it would be doomed to the status of pale imitation, no matter what.

Now, I thought the same about the Lord of the Rings, so I'm prepared to be proven wrong. ^_^

As for release date move, I doubt it has to do with catching the younger set. (UNLESS the film's tone is fundamentally changed from that of the book.) Ender's Game is *about* kids, but that's about it; it's brutal and raw and so not feel-good. ^_^ It'd be like releasing a Lord of the Flies adaptation "just in time for the holidays!". lol But LotR and many films since have proven that November and December are still prime months for films with a darker, less family-oriented vibe.
Kathrine Roid
22. Dabby
I love the idea that Enders Game is becoming a movie. I really can't wait for it to come out I have been counting down the days! But I notice that major Anderson is going to be played by a woman? I am fine with that but in the book I alway pictured major Anderson as a man. For the people that have read the book will know that major Anderson is a man in the book but for people it really doesn't matter but that was a little problem I had with the casting. Other then that thank you so much for making Enders Game into a movie :)

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