Warning: spoilers ahead for A Wrinkle in Time! Read ahead at your own risk!
Adapting any literary story to the screen comes with a distinct set of challenges, and those challenges are compounded by a piece of literature as dense and complicated as A Wrinkle in Time. As a result, a number of changes had to be made to Ava DuVernay's take on the tale, including the omission of the beloved Aunt Beast scene from Madeleine L'Engle's original text. Discussing Aunt Beast with CinemaBlend at the film's recent press junket, screenwriter Jennifer Lee admitted that the scene actually was in the movie for quite a while until they decided that the celestial being removed agency from the arc of Meg Murry (Storm Reid). Lee explained:
I'd say Aunt Beast was in there until a few months ago, so Aunt Beast did not go lightly. We all fought for her, including Ava, and it wasn't that we were fighting any one entity saying couldn't do it. We were fighting to try to make it work for ourselves. But the truth was what it did in the book for Meg that it could do, took away from the journey that needed to happen in the film. In the book, she's guided. It's lessons she's learning along the way. It was beautiful entities that are nurturing. Here we had a girl who's about to go in to face, the ultimate, The It, and we really need to arm her with nothing. She had to go in there as raw and as wounded and in feeling the wounds of her father. That moment of finding him and realizing he's not the answer to everything and that the pain is still there. Her brother is still in trouble and she's the only one who can fix it and not being armed with all this support before she walked in because that's not what you get in life. So in some ways when we watched it without, we realized it was the right journey for the film, but I still carry Aunt Beast with me because she was my favorite, but I get it.
So, it sounds like there was a version of the A Wrinkle in Time film adaptation that actually included the bizarre Aunt Beast scene, in which the alien being nourishes Meg and gives her the strength to rescue Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). But the film places an even more profound emphasis on the fact that this is Meg's journey, and for the story to work, everyone involved in the movie felt that it was best to remove that source of comfort and force Meg into a situation in which she had to find the strength to win on her own.
It is worth mentioning that the Aunt Beast scene's omission doesn't inherently mean that Aunt Beast doesn't get a shout-out in the movie. During the sequence in which the ensemble travels to the home of The Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis), the vision that Meg sees of the cosmos offers up a brief glimpse at Aunt Beast on Ixchel. She's still in the movie, but her relevance to the core narrative is significantly reduced.
Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time is currently in theaters. If you are looking for more information about the film, then check out CinemaBlend's full review of the movie, as well as our comprehensive review roundup, to see what critics have to say about it. As for the rest of this year, check out our movie premiere guide to see what other films are coming this year!