SDCC ’13 Recap: ‘Divergent’ and ‘Ender’s Game’ Panel

By July 19, 2013

Ender’s Game and Divergent are more alike than one might think. In fact, according to one poor fan, they are the exact same thing!

A man’s blunder garners a roar of laughter from the audience when he informs the cast of Divergent that he was a huge fan of Ender’s Game. Fortunately, he has a good sense of humor; upon returning to the microphone during the Ender’s Game panel, moderator Chris Hardwick asks if he’s a fan of Ender’s Game; this time, he claims he’s a fan of Divergent!

What is Divergent? For those not in the know, it’s yet another young adult novel being adapted to film, and takes place in a futuristic, dystopian Chicago. Chicago’s remaining citizens are divided into five factions, each dedicated to cultivating particular virtues in its members.

A bundle of nerves at her first ever Comic-Con panel, novelist Veronica Roth nearly forgot what those virtues actually were. (They’re selflessness, peacefulness, honesty, bravery, and intelligence, for those who are wondering).

What’s it like watching one’s book come to life, the audience wonders. Roth admits that she doesn’t have a particularly visual imagination, so it was neat to see it come to life. One thing she felt uncomfortable watching, however, were romantic scenes between Tris and Four; Roth found it too voyeuristic.

Theo James has a laugh at the distortion of his face on Hall H’s gigantic screen, immediately after Chris Hardwick calls him a “dreamy fellow.” He finds Four to be particularly masculine, not because he’s unafraid, but rather because he admits that he is.

Shailene Woodley assures the audience that Tris is a normal girl, not an action star or superhero. “I think all of us are extremely brave, but not put in situations where we’re forced to call upon our bravery.” Tris, unlike most of us, has the opportunity to do just that.

Ansel Elgort gushes about his desire to be in the rest of the films; because it’s been said at Comic-Con, Chris Hardwick says, it must now happen. “I’d like to announce that Ansel will be playing all the characters [in the rest of the films],” he jokes.

It’s nearly time for Ender’s Game, but the last audience member has a question for everyone: how are they similar to their characters?

Everyone agrees that Maggie Q is, like her character, a bad ass. Mekhi Phifer tells the audience that he grew up in Harlem, so he had to be brave. Theo claims to be very protective of Shailene; he jokes that he won’t let her go to bathroom without him standing beside the door. Shailene, apparently, is brave in real life; she climbed to the top of an actual Ferris wheel, admitting a fear of heights while dangling off the side.

Zoe Kravitz claims that both she and her character, Christina, have a problem with word vomit. Amy Newbold and Ansel have one thing in common with their characters: they’re tall. Miles Teller claims that both he and his character, Peter, like classical music and brushing their teeth in the shower.

In case anyone missed it the first time around, Hall H promises to show the newly cut together footage once again. The lights fade, the audience waits…and nothing happens. “Somebody stole it! This is the greatest movie ever!” A few members of the audience heckle as they sit in darkness before footage of Shailene stepping off a building lights up the screen.

It’s a short break before the Ender’s Game panel begins, and Chris Hardwick makes the most of his time, giving a play by play of Comic-Con’s staff resetting the panel table. Before he can sing an entire musical about killing time (and he tries!), the cast and crew are ushered on stage.

The cast of Ender’s Game underwent rigorous training, including space camp in Alabama and military boot camp.

Morality is the issue of the day; the irony is not lost on the audience that Ender’s Game is a book about “tolerance, compassion, and empathy,” a message that runs counter to Orson Scott Card’s hostile stance toward gays and lesbians. The panelists are forced to confront the controversy head on; the very first audience member at bat takes a swing. Producer Robert Orci assures the audience the cast and crew “completely support Lionsgate’s statement in defense of LGBT rights,” and that he hopes the positive messages of the novel “will live on long beyond [the hateful statements of a single man]”…even if that man is the book’s original author.

Harrison Ford was “drawn to the complex moral issues involved in the military,” and feels that the “book imagined a world which has become an every day reality.” After all, he reasons, “the ability to wage war while removed from battlefield is one of the realities of our life now.”

“If Han Solo and Indiana Jones were to meet,” someone asks Harrison Ford, “What would be their first words to each other?”

Ford shrugs. “Hi, how are you?”

A man from Brazil approaches the microphone; he and Chris reminisce for a long moment over a previous meeting, until Harrison breaks in and gets their attention. The Brazilian fan tells Harrison that he used to pretend to be Indiana Jones…until a stone broke his leg. He asks if Han would have made a good soldier in Colonel Graff’s army,

“You and I have a lot in common,” replies Harrison. “I used to dream about being Indiana Jones when I was younger. Not so much anymore. I don’t think Han Solo would be good as a soldier in anybody’s army. I think he’s now what we call an independent contractor.”