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Trivia / Ender's Game

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The books:

  • Executive Meddling:
    • Ender's Shadow was originally titled "Urchin". That title was re-included as that of the first chapter.
    • An accidental example: Card intended for only Speaker For the Dead and Ender's Game to be written. His agent accidentally pitched them as "the Ender trilogy", and Card decided to use the opening to write Xenocide.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Orson Scott Card got the idea for Ender's Game as a kid, when he tried to theorize what the military of the future would use to train soldiers in space, thus imagining the Battle Room. That manifested into the original short story, but the full novel didn't emerge until he was trying to decide who would be the protagonist of Speaker for the Dead, when his wife suggested it could be Ender.
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  • Science Marches On: Notably averted in the remarkably accurate descriptions of tablet-sized computers, the Internet and the blogosphere, in a book written before the creation of the World Wide Web. Although, as xkcd points out, it missed the mark on the blogosphere in terms of scale if nothing else.
  • Trope Namer: Hive Queen.
  • What Could Have Been: The Shadow books were originally going to be written by different authors, each centering on a different member of Ender's friends.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Ender's Game Wiki.
  • Word of God: In one interview on National Review, Card says that he was inspired by Bruce Catton's histories of the American Civil War, and that part of the message was that war means sacrificing the innocence of young people for the Greater Good and that it is the duty of the old to make sure their civilization is worth it.

The film

  • All-Star Cast: Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, and more. In fact, the marketing campaign made a point of including "Academy Award Nominee" and "Academy Award Winner" in front of every name that qualified to show just how many heavy hitters were in the cast. Even Harrison Ford's nomination for Witness was included even though he normally doesn't have any awards or nominations mentioned above his credit.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: the songs Bonzo makes the cadets sing during the run to the battle room are a tame example of military cadence, fitting for school age children but not out of place in modern US basic training.
  • Box Office Bomb: The film was budgeted at $110 million not counting publicity, and it only made back $125 million worldwide. This is mainly due to an extremely poor marketing campaign that, in assuming that all audiences were familiar with the novel, not only made the story rather unclear, but suffered from uncertainty about its target audience, and the tight competition it faced from Thor: The Dark World. The backlash the film received from the LGBT community due to Card's less-than-favorable views on homosexuality and gay marriage did not help Lionsgate one bit, despite the fact that Card actually makes NO money from the film's ticket sales, and director Gavin Hood and co-star Harrison Ford stating repeatedly that they support gay rights.
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  • Dawson Casting: The Battle School students are all meant to be ten years old, but they're all played by actors who are very obviously in their teens.
  • Development Hell: The film was mired there for decades. Unusually, Card was partially involved in keeping it there, as he preferred having no film than having one with a poor script and a bad child actor in the main role.
    Card: My favorite thing about the end of 2013: I will never again have to answer questions about when the Ender's Game movie will come out.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The film was shot in sequence with Ford keeping his distance from Butterfield and the other kids at first so that their being in awe of The Harrison Ford (as well as their physical growth) would work for rather than against the story.
  • Fake American: Asa Butterfield as Ender.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The command school sequences show the characters using Nostromo keypads as they give commands to the fleet.
  • Playing with Character Type: Harrison Ford is known for playing heroic characters, among them Han Solo, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold that was likable. Ford's portrayal of Graff is just the opposite - a cold, calculating figure that isn't concerned for the safety of his cadets so much as he's concerned with overwhelming an alien race.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Orson Scott Card's vocal cameo was removed from the final cut after threats to boycott the film followed anti-gay remarks he had made. Still didn't help its box office chances, though.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Plans were made for a sequel, but the underwhelming box office performance has left that in doubt. That being said, the plans were to follow with the Fleet School series instead of the actual follow-ups (which are completely different in tone from Ender's Game, slower-paced, more philosophical, and eventually reaching 2001 levels of oddity; in Card's own admission, Speaker for the Dead is unfilmable for being "talking heads, interrupted by moments of excruciating and unwatchable violence").
  • What Could Have Been: Jake Lloyd as Ender and Dakota Fanning as Petra. And yes, Card knew of how hated Lloyd was and felt a better script would have done him justice.


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