New Orson Scott Card Book Could Act as 'Ender's Game' Sequel Now
by Ethan Anderton
November 4, 2013
While box office analysts don't think the performance of Ender's Game this past weekend was enough to warrant a new franchise. But there's still a chance that a sequel could happen. However, if it does, don't expect the film series to follow the same chronology as the Orson Scott Card book series. Without getting into spoilers (we'll do that below), the book sequel Speaker for the Dead takes place thousands of years later. That doesn't mean all of the surviving characters from the original film are dead though, because the particulars of space travel mean Ender is only 35 in the sequel. But a new book may give us a new direction.
**Beware of spoilers for Ender's Game from here on out**
At the end of Ender's Game, the young commander is tricked into running through a simulation of a pre-emptive war with the Formic planet, but in reality, Ender is actually unknowingly put in command of the International Fleet and destroys the entire planet, committing intergalactic genocide. However, on a nearby Formic outpost that the fleet has taken over, Ender discovers one remaining queen alien, and one surviving larvae, opting to leave the fleet and find them a new home. The book sequel follows Ender at 35 after leaving behind his warrior status. Here's the official synopsis:
In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.
Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening…again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery…and the truth.
SlashFilm calls the book sequel, "political, philosophical, and interested in science — it’s hard core sci-fi." Supposedly novels like Ender in Exile fill in some of the gaps following Ender's Game. However, Orson Scott Card recently announced a new series of young adult books that continue the timeline of Ender's Game, but without the title character. The first book is called Fleet School, and Card says, "It’s about what happens to Battle School after the International Fleet loses its purpose of war. It becomes what is called Fleet School and it prepares kids to be commanders, explorers in the colonies that are going to be forming." Director Gavin Hood is aware of this fact and when asked about sequels, he told Hero Complex:
"It’s a great question, but I think it’s such a difficult one to answer, because the sequel “Speaker for the Dead” takes place 30 years after, so we’re in an interesting place. I think we have to hope that audiences respond to the film… And Orson is apparently writing something that’s more of a direct follow called ["Fleet School"]. Obviously, from the studio’s point of view, they’d almost certainly want to move the characters from this film into the next journey. So it may be that “Speaker for the Dead” is not the sequel now."
However, at the time, Hood wasn't necessarily optimistic about a sequel saying:
"But to be perfectly honest, I don’t think we can count our sequels before they hatch. We’ve got a complicated film here. I hope that it does two things. I hope that it gives the audiences the visual excitement that they want from a big movie, but it does have the challenge of asking questions that films of this kind don’t usually ask. And we’ll have to see whether audiences embrace that. Most big popcorn movies are bad guy does something to good guy, good guy gets revenge on bad guy, sets the world right and moves on. And 'Ender’s Game' is just not that simple, so it’s an exciting challenge. It’s a little terrifying, and let’s see how audiences respond. I hope they respond well so we can keep doing films that are not just goodies versus baddies."
Aside from the box office analysts naysaying, the bigger issue here is that author Orson Scott Card has some activist groups on his back because of his personal anti-gay sentiments and beliefs (which Lionsgate denounced). That might stop some of these young adult novels from getting traction, and it could very well keep a sequel based on those books from moving forward. Honestly, as it stands, I like the way Ender's Game concluded, and I don't think a sequel is necessary. These young adult novels feel like pandering, and following a sequel without Asa Butterfield as Ender just doesn't sound all that enticing. Thoughts?