Comic-Con 2013: The Ender's Game Panel
Harrison Ford and company unveil the sci-fi epic...
The book has been hugely popular and the film has been discussed for literally decades. Now the wait is finally over, so they had new footage from Ender's Game to prove it. And this was HUGE-scale footage on a level far beyond what we'd seen in the early trailers. It went down a storm here, and deservedly so.
While the book sees Ender play a series of wargames against an alien race in a way that's described like an '80s video game, now he's acting in a fully immersive display that shows Ender amid spectacular alien landscapes, huge space fleets and enormous scale.
We see Harrison Ford's Hyrum Graff in his role as "Ender's manipulator" (as Ford describes it), arguing with Ben Kingsley's Mazer Rackham about the ethics of what they're doing to a child - even if he has been "bred" for his current role as the great white tactical and strategic hope for mankind's army against the insect aliens who threaten Earth.
Viola Davis' Major Gwen Anderson also worries about the effects on Ender of what he's being asked to do in her role as a psychologist, and we glimpse Ender's sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin) advising him that Earth depends on his efforts, so that Ender's being pulled in all directions. "What will be left of him when all this is over? " asks Anderson. "What does it matter if there's nothing left at all?" snaps Graff.
The panel comprised producer Bob Orci, director Gavin Hood, Asa Butterfield (Ender Wiggin), Hailee Steinfeld (Petra Arkadian) and Harrison Ford (Hyrum Graff).
"This is not a simple story of good and evil - I'm kind of bored of that," says Hood. "We're bored of great effects without a story - and this is a great story. To have characters that wrestle with their own capacity for good and evil, to have actors of the calibre of Asa and Hailee and Harrison on a good day - and you bring in Sir Ben Kingsley if he's not having a good day - (Ford laughs) that's just a great, complex story. You have to have actors who fit, you can't fake intelligence. I'm so happy to have found this young man and to set him up against these actors."
Asked about author Orson Scott Card's controversial views on gay marriage, Orci said, "Obviously our first reaction was concern. We decided to use our position to support Summit and Lionsgate's statement in support of LGBT rights and human rights. A lot of people worked on this movie to put it out, and I would hate to see them suffer for the views of less than a percentage of the person above, especially since the message of the book and the movie is compassion. So no matter how we got here we're happy to use this moment to say that we support LGBT rights."
"I'd like to think this is about leadership, compassion, empathy, tolerance, self-identity - how do I define myself in a complex world where I could be aggressive like my brother Peter or compassionate like my sister Violet?" says Hood. "How do you define your moral position in the world? Those great themes in the book is what we were all drawn to. If I had one goal it was to be true to the spirit of Ender Wiggin."
Ender's Game is out in cinemas on October 25.