Yesterday’s Ender’s Game trailer makes basically no sense

Type “enders game recruitment video” into Google, and you’ll come up with no shortage of results for the :50 clip that dropped today. At the time of this writing, here’s the first page of results [in no particular order, with repeats]:

Asa Butterfield ‘Ender’s Game’ Recruitment Video: ‘Battle School Needs You!’

Official Ender’s Game Recruitment Video: Give Us Your Children

Comic-Con: Ender’s Game Battle School Recruitment Video and Aptitude Test

Harrison Ford features in ‘Ender’s Game’ recruitment video

ENDER’S GAME – Six New Banners and Recruitment Video

Comic-Con: Take a Look Inside the Ender’s Game Fan Experience

‘Ender’s Game’: New recruitment video and aptitude test

Comic-Con: Ender’s Game Battle School Recruitment Video and Aptitude Test

‘Ender’s Game’: New recruitment video and aptitude test

‘Ender’s Game’ recruitment video: Harrison Ford asks you to enlist to fight the next invasion

All of those links lead to articles describing the promotional trailer, with some going into even more detail about the original book. But they all leave out one very important fact: the new trailer makes absolutely no sense. Here’s the offending montage:

If you’ve seen the original trailer that came out back in early May, you already know about its most curious inclusion (spoiler alert!): footage of Dr. Device putting an end to the conflict that lies at the heart of the narrative. In the book, the sequence shown in the trailer is something of a plot twist. In the movie, it’s in the trailer.

That’s certainly not how I would have done it, but that decision was at least understandable. After all, the real story isn’t about the battle between human and Formic, but about the battles that go on in Ender’s mind. Or, as the book’s author Orson Scott Card put it better:

“Ender’s Game is an ‘unfilmable’ book, not because of too much violence but because everything takes place in Ender’s head.”

But while I can rationalize the old trailer, I cannot make heads or tails of the recruitment video. It is clearly meant to take place before or at least concurrent with the events of Ender’s Game. In other words, the events depicted at :36 have yet to take place — indeed, the ability to execute them is a closely-guarded military secret — at the time this recruitment video would have aired.

There are two possible explanations I could come up with: 1) That’s not footage of Dr. Device. But if that’s correct, I truly have no idea what’s going to happen in this movie. 2) This isn’t actually meant to be a recruitment video… which would be weird because it sure sounds like one, and nine out of those ten articles above certainly referred to it as such (though, to be fair, that was what I searched for — still). Which leads me back to 0), which is that the video makes absolutely no sense.

That said, I’d be more than happy to hear your conjecture, if you’ve got better ones.


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