As much as I’m looking forward to the film adaptation of Ender’s Game later this month (especially after the MCM Expo panel last night), part of me is disappointed that the series wasn’t adapted into a TV show. It seems a shame to condense such a wide-reaching story into a 2 hour feature. Between Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, there is more than enough material to create the backbone of several seasons of TV, and that doesn’t even touch on the other dozen books in the series.
It is entirely possible that the film adaptation will be successful enough to get a spin-off series, although at this point it’s hard to imagine anything more than a children’s animated series to fill in the blanks at Battle School. While that might be fun, Ender’s Game is a complex novel with many adult themes, and could easily become a popular sci-fi drama.
Think about it. Every week, we could check in with Ender, Bean, and the other soldiers-in-training at Battle School, seeing them as they grow and develop into the ultimate soldiers they are meant to be. The main hook could be the regular trips to the Battle Room, with the overarcing story being the rivalry between Ender and the rest of the school, all orchestrated by Graff. In addition, there would be the political element with Peter and Valentine on Earth. Throw in Bean and a flashback episode of his early childhood for good measure, have a two part season finale at Command School, and you’re set.
The real advantage to this is that you wouldn’t have to change Ender’s age. He could still start off as a 6-year-old in the pilot, then grow in subsequent episodes before settling on a lead actor around age 12-14. Many of the events in the book wouldn’t translate as well into an older character; yes, Ender is a genius, but he’s also a kid. When he attacks his bullies, for instance, these may be calculated acts, but they would seem very out of place for a 15-year-old. In addition, it’s hard to imagine the 17-year-old Peter still being as cruel to Ender as he was in the book; he matured too much in the series by the time he was that age, and it’s such an important part of Ender’s development.
Keep in ming, all of that is just Season 1. Depending on how far the producers want to take it, the second season could follow either Ender’s path into the stars or Bean’s path on Earth. Personally, I’ve always been a bigger fan of Bean and think that the political situation on Earth is the more interesting storyline. On the other hand, Ender’s years planet-hopping as the Speaker for the Dead before arriving at Lusitania could make for a nice parallel story. Again, though, I would much rather see both of these stories in a television format, not as films, which I feel would cheapen the experience.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what happens after the film’s release. If it is successful enough to warrant a sequel, it will be interesting to see the direction the producers choose to go. But me, I’ll always be voting for the TV show.
Do you think the film adaptation of Ender’s Game will be a success? Do you think a TV show version would be even better? Sound off in the comments below or send them to us on Twitter!