‘Ender’s Game’ Comic-Con 2013 Trailer & Panel Recap

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 30th, 2013 at 2:17 pm,

517875857 3 620 439 Enders Game Comic Con 2013 Trailer & Panel Recap

Summit brought the long-awaited Ender’s Game adaptation – based on the touchstone sci-fi novel written by Orson Scott Card back in 1985 – to the studio’s panel at the 2013 International Comic-Con. The project has been embroiled in controversy for sometime now, due to Card’s outspoken anti-gay marriage views; then, more recently, Lionsgate issued a public response to the growing online campaign to boycott the film. So, all in all, this year’s Comic-Con provided a good chance for the studio to help encourage people to start talking about the movie instead (rather than the divisive author who penned the source novel).

The lineup at the Ender’s Game Comic-Con panel included director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and co-producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) in addition to cast members Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and the legendary Harrison Ford, back after his ‘Con debut back in 2011 (when he was promoting Cowboys & Aliens). Moderation duties for the panel were handled by The Nerdist‘s Chris Hardwick.

enders game poster update Enders Game Comic Con 2013 Trailer & Panel Recap

For those who need a refresher, here’s an official synopsis for Ender’s Game:

In the near future, a hostile alien race (called the Formics) have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander, Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young children to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategically brilliant boy is pulled out of his school to join the elite.

Hood got the party started by announcing that he was visiting the San Diego Comic-Con for the first time (which is a long ways from home for the native South African filmmaker), before he excitedly introduced his fellow collaborators – with Ford, by far, getting the biggest and most enthusiastic response from the people in Hall H - and showed off a brand-new trailer for his Ender’s Game adaptation (which Hood both directed and scripted from Card’s novel).

enders game movie trailer preview Enders Game Comic Con 2013 Trailer & Panel Recap

The new trailer opened similarly to the previously-released trailer (in terms of general content), albeit with different voiceover from Graff about the devastation of the last Formic invasion and Ender’s potential to become humanity’s savior. That material was juxtaposed with new footage of sky battles between human aircraft and Formic ships in Earth’s atmosphere (in addition to brief glimpses of the Formic homeworld and a scorched Earth).

Thereafter, the Comic-Con trailer shifted into overdrive, with rapid-fire glimpses at space-battle sequences between the International Fleet and the Formic vessels, in addition to footage which showed Ender guiding and commanding the human forces to use outside-the-box fighting strategies. Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian and Abigail Breslin as Ender’s sister, Valentine, made brief appearances, along with Viola Davis as Major Gwen Anderson (though only the latter two were shown speaking during the “sizzle reel” portion of the trailer).

Finally, those who have read Card’s original Ender’s Game book will be better able to appreciate the significance of the scenes between Ford as Graff and Kingsley as Rackham – where the pair discuss Ender’s progress – as snippets from those were interspersed within the more bombastic and effects-heavy footage; though, once again, only a few brief shots teasing the Battle School’s zero-gravity training room were included (hopefully, to save that stuff for the actual movie). The trailer concluded with an extended version of the previous trailer’s finale, showing the IF spaceships in attack formation before Ender issues his final deadly order (which still probably only feels that spoiler-ish for those who’re familiar with the context of that sequence).

Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin in Enders Game1 Enders Game Comic Con 2013 Trailer & Panel Recap

The panel concluded with some questions from the moderator, followed by the standard audience-member Q&A segment:

  • Orci mentioned that he appreciated how Ender’s Game was one of the rare films that he just produced (as opposed to serving as both a producer and screenwriter).
  • Steinfeld mentioned that her role as Petra marked the first occasion where she had to undergo intense physical training.
  • Ford corrected the moderator, saying that he doesn’t consider Graff to be Ender’s mentor so much as his “manipulator.” He went on to express his amazement at how the original Ender’s Game book could’ve imagined a world that has become an everyday reality (his example was drone warfare) 28 years before the fact.
  • Hood praised the complexities of Card’s story and its amazing environments (ex. the battle rooms), promising that this film includes a great, competent story with cool effects and non-simple characters (e.g. everything X-Men Origins: Wolverine was not).
  • A fan mentioned the controversy surround the film and asked about Card’s involvement. Orci handled the inquiry, as he explained that the studio decided to use the attention to defend LGBT rights. Orci also emphasized that there were many people who worked hard on the project, and they appreciate the story’s messages about tolerance, empathy and compassion (which earned applause from the audience).
  • The Q&A concluded with Ford taking a couple of goofy fan questions, like what he thinks Indiana Jones and Han Solo would say to one another if they met (“Hi, how are you?”) and whether or not Han would be a good soldier for Graff’s army (Ford said he believes Han is what we now call an “independent contractor,” so no). Ford also jokingly grumbled that he’s never coming back to Comic-Con.


Ender’s Game opens in U.S. theaters on November 1st, 2013.

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  1. Pretty excited about this…It sucks that nearly everything is political nowadays. I don’t mean the actual works of fiction either, because lots of great sci-fi have political messages. It just seems like everything gets dragged into that 24/7 media spin room type of s*** that is pushed as the “hot topic” of the week.

    • *great sci-fi books

    • Yeah, feels like that to me too.

  2. The title misled me, I was expecting trailer. :(
    Looking forward to this movie.

  3. Loved the book when it first came but since then Card’s social and political views supercede my desire to see it. This is a personal decision that each of us will have to make.

    • I agree with you. I also will be skipping this film.
      What disappoints me the most is how so many people are misunderstanding or misrepresenting the actual issues at play here.

      I sometimes wonder, had Ousama Bin Laden written a sci-fi novel, would there be an uproar if that book were to be turned into a film?

      • So an author who expresses his views on an issue (which the book goes nowhere near) is the same thing as a leader of a terrorist organization?

        • It can be.

          • But probably not in this case.

  4. I’m looking forward to this.

    And you’re using the word “bombastic” incorrectly. I know this is nitpicky, but I feel like I’ve been seeing this use a lot lately. (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”)

  5. geez, lighten up people. card is entitled to his own opinion. just because you feel you have a righteous cause does not mean you should crucify anyone who disagrees with you. great book, btw (assessed without extreme self-righteousness, self-pity or inability to accept other people’s views)

    • Too many people lighten up these days. There is a difference in right and wrong. Too many people think everything is grey.

      • By the way I was just generalizing. Not expressing any particular view. Its late, lol.