SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for A Wrinkle In Time. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know details about the end, we recommend bookmarking this page and returning after your screening!
There is a lot of bold creativity and weirdness translated to the big screen in Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle In Time, but fans probably noticed that the movie didn't include one of the source material's oddest characters. In Madeleine L'Engle's original novel, Meg Murry is saved at one point by a creature identified as Aunt Beast, but that sequence didn't make it into the theatrical version of the movie. Instead, it was filmed but cut -- and recently producer Catherine Hand explained why it had to happen:
Well, I think that Aunt Beast, obviously, is a hugely important part of the book, and I think we were looking at running time, and how to trim. And we found a way of trying to get across story-wise, how to do that when Meg is crying with her father and says, 'Don't leave Charles Wallace,' and then the dark thing pulls her. So there was a way to collapse some of that that had happened [with] Aunt Beast. And it was just a matter of making the movie work, and that's why we did it.
I sat down with Catherine Hand late last month in Burbank, California, where the filmmaker participated in a press day for the home video release of A Wrinkle In Time. During the interview one question I asked was about the Aunt Beast sequence -- and she not only confirmed that the scene was filmed, but explained why it had to be cut out of the movie.
In the novel, the Aunt Beast sequence comes towards the end, shortly after Meg is able to find her father and Charles Wallace is taken over by the IT. Because Dr. Murry doesn't have tessering 100% figured out, Meg winds up nearly paralyzed on a planet called Ixchel. They are surrounded by a bunch of strange-looking monsters, but they prove to be helpful. One of them, who Meg nicknames Aunt Beast heals her so that she can move again.
The good news is that Aunt Beast lives again now that A Wrinkle In Time is out on home video. Fans who pick up a copy will not only get to see the Aunt Beast as part of the collection of deleted scenes, but there is also a 30-minute featurette, music videos, bloopers, and a commentary track with Ava DuVernay and select members of the crew who made the film happen.