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 Tor.com and will surely do so again.