‘Ender’s Game’ Director Talks Potential Sequel Based on Upcoming ‘Fleet School’ Book

Published 11 months ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 8:57 pm,

enders game movie sequel Enders Game Director Talks Potential Sequel Based on Upcoming Fleet School Book

It may’ve taken 28 years, but the Ender’s Game movie adaptation finally opened in U.S. theaters this past weekend. However, between the lukewarm critical response – our own Kofi Outlaw’s review wryly notes that the adaptation defies expectations (good and bad) by falling “squarely in the middle of the pool” – and a respectable box office opening around $28 million (but against a $110 million budget), there’s no guarantee yet of a sequel; much less, that the film will birth a new franchise that goes beyond movie #2.

Fans of author Orson Scott Card’s source material will be aware that the Ender’s Game sequel novel, Speaker for the Dead, is a far cry from its predecessor. Indeed, the sequel installment in Card’s Ender Saga takes it cues from the Alien franchise and jumps ahead far in time, some 3,000 years after the events that transpire in Ender’s Game. Question is, if the Ender’s Game movie franchise lives to see another day, will it follow down that same path? There’s a reasonable chance that the answer is “no,” in part because Card is currently writing a novel that could be the basis for a more traditional Hollywood sequel.

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WARNING: ENDER’S GAME SPOILERS AHEAD

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Enders Game Reviews starring Asa Butterfield Harrison Ford Viola Davis Ben Kingsley and Hailee Steinfeld 2013 570x294 Enders Game Director Talks Potential Sequel Based on Upcoming Fleet School Book

Speaker for the Dead catches up with an older Andrew Wiggin – who has long abandoned the name Ender because of its association with his genocide against the Formics – after he’s spent thousands of years searching for a plant where the Formic Hive Queen may rebirth her species. Thanks to the benefits of relativistic space travel, Mr. Wiggin is only around 35 years old when he sets out to another planet colonized by humans – called Lusitania – which is also home to a different sentient extraterrestrial species, known as the Pequeninos (a.k.a. “piggies”).

Ender’s Game writer/director Gavin Hood told Hero Complex that a movie sequel – in the event that it does get a greenlight – might not go that route:

“[Would I make a sequel is] 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…”

Indeed, Speaker for the Dead is such a far cry from the storyline featured in the first Ender book, one could argue that it essentially forms a separate trilogy with the third and fourth installments, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why Hood is doubtful about Speaker‘s prospects of getting a film adaptation, even though it would be saddled with fewer of the artistic compromises that come with creating an easy-to-follow continuity (for a related discussion, see our pros/cons list for original cast members returning in Star Wars: Episode VII).

Moreover, in the case of the Ender series, the producers might be all the more hesitant about straying too far from the young adult narrative template, given its lucrative nature (see: Twilight, The Hunger Games). That wouldn’t be a concern if the Ender’s Game movie sequel were to be based on Card’s upcoming “Fleet School” book, which the controversial author – and Southern Virginia University professor – discussed in a video recently posted to the SVU official Youtube account.

Here is how Card summarized the beginning of the “Fleet School” saga:

“[The new book is] for a YA audience, but 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 [and] explorers in the colonies that are forming. [We] get to see as the school administrators repurpose the school. The Battle Room is still there, but it’s a whole different kind of education…”

Thing is, though, Card has spent a lot of time playing in this sandbox already, having published the Ender’s Game book quartet, additional novels set in the universe and the spinoff book series, The Shadow Saga (which revolves around Ender’s Battle School peer, Bean) – but, arguably, with depleted quality, despite healthy book sales. Between creative burnout and the indication that Card is writing these new books with a potential film adaptation in mind (because that approach worked great for Mark Millar on Kick-Ass 2), there’s reason to be cautious about these novels serving as inspiration for the movies iteration hereon out.

Then again, said Ender’s Game movie sequel is far from a sure thing right now, so we’ll have to wait and see how all this pans out. In the meantime, feel free to share with us your own thoughts about the first movie (and whether or not you’re even interested in seeing this franchise live on).

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Ender’s Game is now playing in theaters.

Source: LA Times

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  1. I was surprised with how much I liked the movie. Not a perfect movie, but a solid adaptation of the book, which is one of my favorites. It’s unfortunate that there were so few battle room scenes, but those scenes were the film’s strongest IMO. I really liked Speaker For The Dead, but it wouldn’t make sense as a franchise sequel for the movie. Hopefully the movie does well (this weekend seemed to be ok…#1 at box office with $28 million), because I would definitely be interested in a sequel.

    • It’s going to need to do very well internationaly to get a sequel. It’ll probably be crushed in the States pretty quickly, with Thor this week and Catching in a few week taking big chunks of its audience away

  2. Dear Screen Rant,

    Uh, you guys say the book sequel comes 3,000 years (with ,000 and everything) after Ender’s Game and the Director (and plot summary of the book) suggest 30 years after….

    • The author Is correct the sequel book rakes place 3000years later because he is travelling to different worlds but hes moving so fast that hes hasnt aged very much

    • My guess would be that, having not read the books, Ender/Andrew only aged 30ish years, but 3000 have passed? That’s what I got from this anyway from the article: “Thanks to the benefits of relativistic space travel, Mr. Wiggin is only around 35 years old when he sets out to another planet colonized by humans”

    • It’s real physics. Without travelling at or faster than the speed of light, the body/object in motion experiences time on a MUCH slower pace/scale than the observing entity (people remaining in a relatively fixed point in space, say the planet Earth). The faster the object moves, the less time it experiences- compared to the observer. This means if the character Ender is traveling very fast through space, but under the speed of light (universal speed limit), he will experience the passage of time at a much slower pace. To him, the 3,000 year journey is only a few years in passing to him (maybe a couple of decades). This happens everyday in real life. Astronauts on the space station actually experience this. Not at nearly the same scale, but it exists. If you had 2 watches, set to the same time, and had them calibrated the same; and sent one up with a Space Station Astronaut, when that one returned a year later, it will actually be a nano-second or 2 behind. Thus, the watch, and astronaut have actually travelled time, into the future (relative to you and me). This same effect is experienced by satellites orbiting Earth- they experience time at a slower pace due to their high speed. Real physics, not a mistake.

    • it does take place 3,000 years later. read the book.

    • The director knows what he is talking about because relative to Ender it takes place 30 years later. And what really matters outside of what’s relative to Ender?

  3. Loved the book growing and I thought the film was a pretty fair representation of the book. I’ve never seen a movie that was better than the book source material.

  4. I loved the movie and thought the special effects were really good and creative. However I like good stories, and I regret they dropped the whole Demosthenes-Locke thing. The political angle would have been very interesting and actually quite timely. That could be a good basis for a sequel.

  5. Well…on one hand, it would be a shame for such a great cast to only get one go-around. But in terms of the actual story, that was kind of always going to be the deal.

    If you do a ‘Fleet School’ film, can Ender himself be part of it without contradicting the existing storylines of the books? Maybe if they lose the ‘relativistic space travel’ time effects, Ender, his fellow cadets and his siblings could all remain the same age relative to one another, i.e. the same actors could return. But that, again, would be a departure from the story.

    What I am most interested in is seeing more of the story of Ender’s siblings Peter and Valentine. That may be a long shot as it is not directly part of the battle/fleet school storyline, though…

    • If they were going to make a sequel, and still keep the same cast. Why is everyone talking about this new book, that doesn’t even feature Ender, when they could just as easily adapt Ender in Exile. Which picks up right after Ender’s Game?

  6. they can and should produce the sequel pertaining to the shadow series, i havent seen the movie yet, but from what i can tell, Bean plays a good enough part to be recognized as with peter and valentine,. so having an enders shadow movie follow up to enders game can keep the major players in the spotlight while also allowing the jump to relativistic space travel via ansible comms to ender and valentine and also produce a movie with TONS of action based on the global conflict that arises in the shadow series its freaking perfect. kids getting kidnapped, governments staging for wars, islamic nations uniting, fear and triumph at the hands of kids..

    • +1

      Came out of the film postulating that would be the route a possible sequel could take. Glad to see I’m not the only one. :3

    • I agree, they done they done really great work on the movie and for once in a long time my kids and I was able to sit down and watch something that I liked from my past.

  7. Although it’s a very good film, there will most likely not be a sequel. 28 million for it’s first weekend is a lukewarm commercial reception at best but an impressive line-up of real blockbusters – Thor 2, Hunger Games 2 and eventually The Hobbit 2 – will destroy any possibility for Ender’s Game to break even domestically…

    Internationally the movie is DOA. It bowed worse than flops like After Earth, City of Bones and Percy Jackson 2… it’s dead in the water: not even 10 million after TWO weeks in pivotal territories such as the UK and Germany…

    Nope…there are ZERO chances for any sequel, though I’d most certainly like to see one…

  8. Having read the book four times and finally watching the movie, I was both pleased and upset. They did remove alot of the books important parts from the movie. More than 1/3 of the book was about the battle school yet it only took up about 1/8 of the movie. All in all it was done great, but removing some things and adding in others took away from what alot of readers can see as important in the book. As for a sequel, I can see how using Speaker for the dead can throw off alot with confusion. Creating a different sequel may be a better idea and if they do succeed, maybe have the new sequels somehow slide into speaker for the dead book. Yet, I guess only time will tell.

  9. I enjoyed Ender’s Game (EG) book enough to read Ender’s Shadow (ES), as well, since I heard the movie was going to be based on both…A little disappointed that NOTHING in the movie refers to any of the themes from ES in which I found Bean, to be a much more interesting read and character than Ender. Adversely, the “ansible” issue (instantaneous hyper-wave communication) which was important in ES, with Bean knowing about the ansible and Ender not knowing was central to the books, and was dismissed as a casual remark by Graff in the movie, missed a real chance to make Bean the center of a potential Sequel. I understand movies never really quite measure up to the novel…but the screenwriter strayed a bit to far from Bean, depicting him as a little whiney kid, and not the one student who scored higher on tests, and was secretly trained to back-up Ender if Ender froze under immense pressure. Plus IMO Bean’s origin’s make a much more interesting story than the extra child/Val/Peter backstory of Ender.
    “Imagine the opening scene of ES, with Bean sitting on a trash can, starving, eyeing POKE and her gang, the whole Sister Carlotta rescue, and venture on to Battle School…” Anyway I can dream can’t I?

  10. I loved the Enders Game book and the movie was good to. I really want there to be a speaker for the dead movie because it is also a really good book.

  11. I loved the movie. I don’t read very many books but i loved your movie so much I’ve started reading speaker of the dead and i think it would make a great movie with the new aliens and enders computer friend jane. I would love to see a sequel and ill recommend it to all my friends.

  12. ok im a huge ender saga fan and shadow fan and to make sequels work for this book series transferring to the big screen it would have to be done in a linear format not from when they were released but from the timeline in which the books fall into and that’s alot of books to list off and its been 5 yrs since i got into the series enders game had to come first to introduce all the the key players enders shadow is the logical choice for a sequel focusing more on character development than the formic war since we already know what happens. focus more on war games and the ansible detail. start the movie from a much older ender looking back at those days and so on… that way by the time we get to speaker for the dead the actor that played ender would be the right age to reprise his role. but considering the budget of the film and how it actually did im not getting my hopes up for a sequel and if it isnt enders shadow im not gonna bother cause it would be stupid i didnt even read speaker for the dead until i finshed the shadow saga

    • here is the way i think they should do the sequels Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind. other wise it wont make much sense

  13. Kinda surprised the only nod to the Shadow Series was Bean – I’d think that if there was to be a sequel, the Shadow Series would be a shoe in. Easy to slim down the plot to one or two movies, too. IMHO

  14. as a die hard Enderverse fan I was a bit disappointing in the film adaption from a reader’s view. While I think certain things had to be sacrificed to keep the film under 3 hours (which I wouldn’t have minded if it went that long personally) I have a few issues I would have liked to seen addressed.
    First being the the emotional development of Ender. We really don’t get the effect of how much Peter contributed to how Ender competed in battle or command school or the way he thought. We defiantly didn’t get that Ender and Valentine truly feared Peter for their own personal safety. Finally there is ZERO of Ender’s fight against the entire system, half of the book is about how Ender doesn’t want to play their game and doesn’t want to fail at the same time. Where did his deep need to revolt against battle school go? The lack of insight into Ender’s head was my biggest let down in the film.
    Next issue Bean is introduced at the wrong time (the only book deviation that really bothered me) while it’s been a bit of time since I reread Ender’s Game (I’ve read and re read the series more times than I can count) correct me if I am wrong but Bean and Ender’s interaction doesn’t take place until he starts doing free time practice. I am %100 sure it wasn’t on the launch to battle school.
    Finally the next ones are basically the same left out content. We graze over some main points in battle and command school. Where is the development of the relationship between Bean and Ender? Where are all the launchie Practices? Where are all the wins in Dragon army and the leader board in command school mess hall. They only touched on the deep connection with Petra and Ali but Fly is only introduced once where is hot soup? Lastly where are all the battle room battles. The only one you see Ender command is the double one I feel like we missed 8 chapters in battles alone.
    There is no sense of how they completely destroyed Ender’s already fragile mind. There is no sense at all of the hardship of his toon leaders except for one mention of lack of sleep. Where is Petra’s break down? Or Ender’s for that matter? The film just grazes over the fact that this poor kid is ruined so badly that they have to drug him to sleep.
    All of that aside I think it was decent adaption of the book. I went into viewing the film not expecting it to be like the book for the mere fact that no film adaption is.

    Sequels? Well I know that Mr Orson would really not like to see Speaker for the Dead be a movie but I would. The Film would have to be mostly computer made but who cares they all are now. Orsons thoughts are the violence that would be put into picture is a bit too much..? I hesitate to comment on this because I respect him as an author but hey man seriously you imagined that violence and it is not without a point but do you really think because they are written words make it any less of an impact. I mean no disrespect but the violence is just as powerful in written word and it isn’t senseless violence. That being said I would rather jump to the story line split and see Bean’s adventures played out in full before moving to Speaker for the Dead but the film left out some pivotal political plot lines to make this happen As already mention in the comments the development of the other siblings online alter egos. I guess I fear that the Ender Film adaptions will die with Ender’s Game which makes me sad.

  15. I saw the movie with my brother and it blew both of our minds. We thought it was absolutely amazing. I would really love to see a sequel but I understand that because it has not done well at all at the box office that it is most likely not be made. I believe that they could bounce back with the sequel if they just had a different release date.

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  17. I really like this film although i never thought that is there any the novel about this done before.. I dont have any idea about what is th realstory that beed made. But my comment despite everything has been discussed . Children all over the world needed the new figure of young actor alike harry potter sequel.. Im as a daniel radcliffe fans feels so sad after harry potter series has been done.. And daniel radcilfe has grown up too.. But when i see asa butterfield i feel that i found new figure of young actor that could change daniel in my top idol.. He has a good and strong character.. This story was very good actually.. By making these films. To be sequel or series.. Its gonna be awesome.. Please lionsgates decide the wise decision…

  18. The movie was amazing, i was captivated… though i’m disappointed because it ended rather unsatisfying… i very much hope for a continuation about wiggin’s(ender’s) journey…

  19. I watched Thor and Ender’s Game the same weekend. I was extremely disappointed in Thor, and LOVED Ender’s Game. Thor had NO story line, had NO depth and was a film built around the effects of things blowing up. Ender’s Game was rich, symbolic, deep and profound. I really really hope they can figure out a way to do a sequel and release it with better timing.

  20. I expected Ender’s Game to be condensed, minor characters omitted, etc. so that the story moves along in feature-length film. Obviously, the downside is that the characters aren’t fully developed, and we don’t get to see the full scope of what Ender endures. Still enjoyed the ride — I have to commend Asa Butterfield’s intense performance, and the special effects portrayed the magnitude of the Formic Wars. I would love a sequel to pick up at the Shadow Saga! Hopefully, they actually delve into Peter’s character, which will explain Ender’s aggresive tendencies when backed into a corner, how being in Ender’s Shadow shaped Peter into being the person he becomes, the Demosthenes-Locke demagoguery, Bean’s struggles with arch nemesis Achilles, and also follow the other Battle School characters in their game of Risk. Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind would make more sense as a separate trilogy further down the line. It’s definitely going to have a different look and feel than Enderverse and Shadow Saga, and I envision it more like Avatar, because of the other species being more prominent. But please don’t dumb it down for the audience — I really wouldn’t mind sitting through a 3-hour film if that’s what it takes to get a story with substance and characters with multiple dimensions.

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  24. I really liked this movie. I saw it twice in the theater and I just pre-ordered the DVD last week, which is set for a February 2014 release. Look, I love Sci-fi and I’m not a young, wet-behind-the-ears nerd, but a mid-50 year old fart (computer programmer) who grew up on Star Trek, TOS. This was a great movie with epic, special effects. In order to watch this movie in all it’s splendor, I just upgraded my 42″ HDTV to a 60″ HDTV (nothing wrong with my 42″). Between the Superbowl and Ender’s game, I get to watch the the special effects in full 5.1 surround sound. Now, I certainly hope they make a sequel, because I want to see the reestablishment of the sentient insect race after the mass genocide of their species. I don’t care how badly they deviate from the original material in the book, but I must have my answers and balance must be brought back to the universe. Live long and prosper, y’all.

  25. Personally, I am hopeful for a sequel to the movie.

    I’ll admit first off that the movie itself was lacking, but that is the nature of ANY book-movie adaptation you will ever find. The story line of Ender’s Game is FAR too dense for one movie, but way too short for two, and as such I believe that they did the movie the best they could.

    Secondly, I’ll admit further that I am somewhat of a pirate. I do not believe in buying a car by looking at the shell from the outside just as I do not believe that I should pay for a movie based upon selected scenes for a “trailer”. In this case, I truly enjoyed the movie and after watching I immediately pre-ordered a copy for myself. Not because I need a physical copy to enjoy it, but because I believe in good movies and I invest in good movies. They have gained my investment. This movie was put together fantastically and I enjoyed it; despite the crammed storyline.

    My only complaint in regards to the movie was the little emphasis put on the actual game. He really only “plays” once, and the rest is adapted (the best it can be though). I’m not sure who directed, edited, blah blah. But they did a fantastic job. All that being said, I read the book in grade 7 which was nearly 9 years ago, but it was the ONLY book I’ve ever enjoyed in my entire life an the only book I finished before my entire class.

  26. First offm I’m a huge Ender’s Game fan and have read the original quartet plus some of the spin-offs. After watching the movie, I felt that it was a good Sci-Fi movie overall as a standalone movie. However, I look at it from the idea about sequels. They left so many important ideas out like *spoiler starts* Valentine leaving with Ender to travel the universe especially since she plays a huge role in the Xenocide the 3rd book. Also one the key reasons why Ender can’t return to Earth besides find a new home for the Formics, was because Peter convinced the world leaders that Ender was basically evil and Peter became the Hegemon, basically leader of Earth. Theres also the fight between Peter and Valentine as they take up writing about politically, controversial topics using pseudonyms which plays a huge part in making Peter leader and influencing the politics of the book and later book. *spoilers end* However, I know that they can’t fit every single detail in a movie so they had to change some aspects and it’s not a perfect adaptation. The movie as pretty good but they left so much out. I really want them to make Speaker of the Dead and Xenocide because they 2 of my favorite books and I really want to see a piggy on a big screen. I really don’t believe that doing those movies will confuse the audience if they explain it correctly. Its not that hard of a concept to grasp.

  27. They should introduce another species more power than humans and planning to destroy humans, wiggan after delivering the queen (previous species he destroyed) and facilitate the growth can make alliance with them, At the climax just as the humans feel they are doomed, wiggan arrives with a powerful alliance to destroy the enemy.

    • Well that wouldn’t really happen since the movies will be based on the books and in the books there is a “species” that is more “powerful” but definitely wouldn’t align themselves with Ender or anyone for that matter.

  28. The first movie was brilliant. Incredible. A second movie or even a third and fourth would be a waste. I think lionsgate might have stumbled upon another great franchise

  29. Sorry about that guys. I meant to say it would be a waste not to make a second movie or even a third or fourth. Because the first one was so brilliant