Why Ender's Game Should Have Been a Long Movie

This is a purely speculative post brought on by the discovery that the runtime of the upcoming Ender's Game film will only be two hours. There may or may not be spoilers below, but I don't know for sure because I haven't read anything disclosing the details included and the two trailers have practically no different material between the two of them. Just by remembering how the story goes, I have realized that a list can be made of all the parts that ought to have been included to do the story justice. Several entries on this list are especially important if the future holds an Enderverse franchise, which is not unlikely in the era of tentpole franchises that go on forever. (the series includes four sequels) This is not a purist rant, as the film hasn't released yet. Simply an explanation of what the film ought to include.
I have been careful not to list everything relevant to the whole story to ensure that newcomers still find surprises.
  1. Ender's Siblings: In the beginning, Ender is growing up underneath his two siblings; unstable but strategically brilliant Peter, and sympathetic Valentine. Both registered on Battle School tests as the supergeniuses that were hoped for, but they were both rejected due to character issues making them unfit for Commander School. The real reason they should be included is that a proper Enderverse franchise would have to include Peter's schemes of world domination, which he manipulates Valentine into helping him with, as a full subplot.
  2. The Bullies: This might seem like a strange item to include in a list of must-haves, but actually they ought to be included, as the events involving them are critical parts of Ender's character development. Ender gets jumped by bullies once before he's brought up to Battle School, and once afterwards. Both times he defeats the ringleader in hand-to-hand combat and kills them by accident without realizing it. Both times the Battle School administrators (led by Harrison Ford's Graff) are watching remotely, use the incidents to judge Ender's commanding ability, and never reveal to him that either kid died, although Ender does harbor lingering suspicions which cause him to doubt himself.
  3. The Battle-Room Tournament: Most of the Ender's Game novel is focused on the Battle-Room freeze-ray-laser-tag-in-zero-gravity tournament which the administrators use to assess leadership qualities. To do the story justice, the film ought to include at least four distinct matches; Ender's first, in which he wins the match for his team against orders brought on by size prejudice, his first match as captain of a team, another match day when his team is assigned two matches in a day even though one is the norm, and the final one, in which he is ordered to deal with two teams at once. The rule-bending is ordered by Graff himself just to see how Ender will react.
  4. Ender's Team: By this I mean explain them all individually, not just Petra, because they are collectively the main characters in the sequels. Eventually all of them go home to Earth and most become the political leaders in their home countries. The ones to watch out for are Petra, the Armenian (I think) played by Hailee Steinfeld, Hot Soup, a guy from China who is instantly made Emperor,  Ali, an Arab who is promptly installed as Caliph of Baghdad and rules an area about the size of the entire Middle East, (The political boundaries on the Enderverse Earth are basically divided into three or four geographically distinct empires), and Bean, a Dutch orphan who is such a major player that he gets the next entry on the list for himself.
  5. Bean: First off, Bean got his own novel series, so there's money to be had if the author will let them. By extension, he got his own nemesis and his own perspective on the Enderverse. Some of the best moments in Ender's Game were related from Bean's angle in the concurrent story Ender's Shadow. (In fact, the first reports claimed that the movie would splice the two stories together, but I doubt that is happening because two hours is simply not enough time to fit everything in) Bean is even more brilliant than Ender, but is ruled out of the leadership role due to more aggressive behavior. Bean quickly becomes Ender's prime lieutenant, and when he returns to Earth, is immediately snatched up by Peter to occupy the same position.
  6. The Mind Games:  The mind games are another system Graff uses to measure the kids' apittude, by way of a sort of futuristic video game which drags the player through various bizarre situations they have to think their way out of. Ender and Bean are the only kids in the school smart enough to beat the system and find the end of the game. The mind games are a critical part of the Enderverse franchise simply because in the later stories the author arbitrarily includes details from the mind games as clues to the big puzzle Ender has to work out in real life, so if they were to make all the books into films, the fans would expect them to include the mind games.

Everything I've listed could take as much as a whole hour to deal with collectively on film, and that's on top of other parts I haven't mentioned. Therefore I will go into the new movie with moderate expectations and a hope that there will be an extended edition. I retain a measure of optimism through the rumor that the author himself was involved in the screenplay. Note: While trying to verify my last sentence by way of rottentomatoes.com, I discovered to my relief that the siblings, the bullies, and most of Ender's team have been cast as separate characters. Only Hot Soup the Chinese kid is missing from that list. I think I'm going to like this movie.


  1. From an outsider's perspective that has not read the book, I think Ender's Game has potential considering the premise. Some of the elements about the characters actually reminds me a bit of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is a Japanese anime that I would not necessarily recommend, minus the crazy end that the series had (sorry for that tangent). Anyway, I think the talent behind the project in terms of acting is top notch because Ford, Butterfield, Steinfeld, and Kingsley are all great actors.Hopefully the movie will turn out well.


    1. As you can see, I'm more optimistic than i was before. I think it will be good, but rushed. If nothing else you should go see it just for the Battle-room tournament. Some of it will be in there.

    2. Oh and note to everyone...check out the book after seeing the movie. There's more to it.

  2. Interesting post. I must look the book up and keep an eye out for the movie. :)

    God Bless,

    1. Yeah, definitely do that, although it'll take a bit of getting used to since in the book Ender and Bean are six years old and the rest of the main characters are 14