Did you love The Hunger Games earlier this year? Then you’ll probably dig Ender’s Game, the 1985 sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card about kids in an an interstellar battle school training so they’ll be able to mercilessly kill their alien enemies.
Although producer Roberto Orci has been sharing set photos for the past few months via the film’s official Tumblr, this is the first official photo! Asa Butterfield, the star of last year’s Hugo, is virtually unrecognizable as protagonist Ender Wiggin. And who’s that barking orders at him? Why, it’s Harrison Ford as the fearsome Colonel Graff. I had no idea he was in this movie, but now I want to see it ten times more. Unfortunately, I got the ending ruined for me by some geeky friends, but for your sakes I will keep this post spoiler-free.
From the looks of it, this takes place early in the movie when Colonel Graff is treating Ender in some ways better and worse than the other “Launchies” (trainees). Over the course of the story he tries to isolate Ender from his peers by emphasizing his intelligence, but he may also be blocking Ender’s emails to his sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin) back on Earth.
“The relationship between [Harrison] and Asa was very close,” director Gavin Hood told EW, “but he didn’t overly befriend him off the set. He helped Asa by allowing that slight sense of intimidation to be there.” I’m really excited to see these two face off!
However, one major difference is that the movie takes place over just one year, in order to keep Asa as 12-year-old Ender, rather than starting with Ender at 6 and following his progression through the school. “I discussed this at length with Orson,” Hood explained. “The decision was made very early on to compress the time period into about a year, so that we could have the same actor from beginning to end… We were trying to hit that sweet spot right around 12, which Asa fits in very nicely. When you sit down for two hours, you’re just beginning to bond with an actor, and then he changes and suddenly you’re bonding with someone who’s meant to be the same person, but you know he’s a different actor.”
Ender’s Game hits theaters November 1, 2013, mere weeks before Catching Fire. Hopefully we’ll get to see a trailer soon!
Photo: Richard Foreman, Jr./Entertainment Weekly