UPDATE: Alas, the only force in the universe more daunting than the Bugger army is Summit’s lawyers, so we’ve had to remove the posters at their request. Hopefully they’ll get officially approved soon and we can put them back up.
Is there anyone out there excited for Gavin Hood’s adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved sci-fi novel Ender’s Game? I suspected there might be a few of you lurking out there. It’s gearing up to be one of the biggest sci-fi events of the latter part of the year. Summit Entertainment has just released five new character posters from the film, and boy do they look futuristic.
Most of the key players are present and accounted for. There’s Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin—that should be a given, his name is in the title—Harrison Ford’s Colonel Hyrum Graff, Viola Davis as Major Anderson, Hailee Steinfeld’s Petra Arkanian, and Sir Ben Kingsley as the tattooed warrior, Mazer Rackham.
In the future, when an alien race called Formics attack Earth, only the half-Maori military genius Mazer Rackham can save the day. Earth prevails, but at a great cost. Hoping to prevent another devastating assault, Colonel Graff and the rest of the International Military start training young children at Battle School, an orbiting military academy, looking for the next evolution in strategy. Ender is awkward and shy, but a tactical genius. Quickly ascending the ranks, he graduates from Battle School to Command School, where he trains with Mazer, and may be the only hope humanity has left.
Though the film’s plot sounds fairly similar to the story of the novel, the movie has reportedly made some pretty drastic changes. The character of Ender seems less overtly sociopathic, for starters. Mainstream movie audiences don’t like to see children make hard, even horrific choices that get people hurt, especially when they’re the protagonist.
I’m especially curious to see how much of the subplot about Ender’s siblings the film retains. Abigail Breslin plays sweet sister Valentine, and Jimmy Pinchak plays cruel older brother Peter. In Card’s book, they assume alter egos and publish world-shaping political essays. For what sounds like a more action heavy interpretation, I imagine this will be greatly trimmed.
Like many upcoming genre movies, Ender’s Game is going to be at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. Summit will present new footage, there will be cast members to rub elbows with, and they’ve even planned an interactive “Fan Experience,” you know, for fans. One name won’t be on the list, however, and that is Card. His absence could easily be explained away as a scheduling conflict, or maybe he just doesn’t feel like it.
Part of me, however, wonders if this is a strategic move. Given Card’s well-known, particularly vehement, and often publicly stated, anti-gay stance, can’t you just imagine someone stepping to the mic and asking a question about the recent Supreme Court decision on DOMA? Maybe the studio is trying to avoid a potentially messy public scene before opening the really expensive movie they made.
Ender’s Game opens November 1.