As we've pointed out in the past, much of what we've seen from the upcoming feature adaptation of Ender's Game has focused on alien invasion, war and what may very well prove to be some impressive visual effects. But those who have read the books know that there are key elements in this story that have yet to be revealed. The above photo gives us a look at one of them, as we see Asa Butterfield's Ender Wiggin (right) facing off with Moises Arias' Bonzo.
I'll be delicate with the spoilers here, for those who haven't read the book. To vaguely describe the situation, Bonzo is one of the army leaders at Battle School, a space-set orbiting training facility for kids where young Ender Wiggin has recently been recruited. To say that Bonzo and Ender don't get along is an understatement. It's established early on in the book that Ender's kind of a bully-magnet, which makes him a prime target for a guy like Bonzo. To say that the situation escalates would be an understatement, and the fact that Ender has a towel around his neck makes me wonder if we're looking at a particularly memorable scene from the book.
When we talked to director Gavin Hood at Comic-Con about the film's violence, he spoke directly about Ender's feud with Bonzo:
I donʼt want it to be a violent ﬁlm, but the effect of the moment of violence on the psyche of the protagonist and the people around him is profound as it is in the book. It has to be, and so those key scenes in the book--Bonzo in the shower are absolutely in the movie, and they shock in their suddenness, but they are not in any way indulgent. Iʼm not interested in showing blood ﬂying around the room or any of, none of that. Whatʼs more important is to see how these young character handle it and thatʼs why I think itʼs an important ﬁlm. As a parent, I want my kids to go to a movie and not be spoken down to, deal with difﬁcult themes, but be able to talk about it, not celebrate that, just talk about it.
There's relevance to Ender's situation with Bonzo, as there is with just about everything else this kid encounters in Battle School. All of his experience contributes in shaping him to be the leader he's training to be, and to make the decisions he finds himself faced with later on in the story.
As for Moises Arias, I can't wait to see how he handles this particular role. He showed off his funny side on ABC's The Middle in the recurring role of Sue Heck's boyfriend a while back, and more recently, he showed off his sweet dance moves and smoke-ring-blowing abilities in Kings of Summer. I expect him to be a lot less likable in Ender's Game, but that's not such a bad thing. A little versatility goes a long way for an actor. And in a related note, it looks like he's been working out!
The above is just one of a bunch of new photos Summit released for the film, all of which you can check out here. They include these two photos, the first of which shows Butterfield floating around in the zero gravity Battle Room, and the second gives us a glimpse of Abigail Breslin, who plays Ender's sister Valentine in the story.
It looks like she's staring up at some kind of mobile showing alien "Formic" ships. Perhaps it's one of the decorations in Ender's room, if not her own room. Seems like it would be weird for a kid to have a decoration or toy that depicts the aliens that once actually invaded Earth, but on the other hand, we know the International Fleet's all about propaganda, so it's not so difficult to imagine them creating toys and decorations to serve as constant reminders to humanity's children that "The Next Invasion is Imminent".
Ender's Game will be invading theaters November 1.