Exclusive: Roberto Orci Talks Ender’s Game Sequels

Ender's Game

Roberto Orci, of the Orci and Kurtzman duo, was at the Television Critics Panel for the El Rey Network, Robert Rodriguez’s new TV channel. Orci developed the series “Matador” for El Rey and I scored a one on one interview with him after the session. Of course I brought it around to movie talk as well.

Orci and Kurtzman were producers of Ender’s Game, Gavin Hood’s adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel. The movie was successful, but even Orci didn’t know if it was successful enough for a sequel. More importantly, would that sequel be Card’s follow-up book Speaker for the Dead?

“They have rights to certain of the books,” Orci said. “I’m not sure which ones, and it’s two companies so I’m not sure who controls it.”

So the sequel could be another book in the Ender series, but in a different order. Card did write Ender in Exile in 2008, long after Speaker, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. A War of Gifts takes place during Ender’s time in Battle School. Orci had another promising option too.

“Or it could be potentially original because in Speaker for the Dead you pick him up when he’s already a man. There might be an in between step if that happens.”

Speaker does jump ahead into Ender’s adulthood, so an original sequel would give them the option of sticking with the cast of Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin.

“That’s why I think the rights that they worked out is it could either be one of the books or it could be original or a mix so that you can do what you need to do for a movie,” Orci said.

I also fished for some Star Trek 3 news, even going so far as to compliment Orci on the balls it took to do The Wrath of Khan as Star Trek Into Darkness. (See my review for that explanation.) If, perhaps, that got classic Trek out of their system, would Orci and his cowriters focus on an original Trek story next time or stay in the classic Trek world?

“Little bit of both,” Orci said. “Part of the fun of the freedom that we bought ourselves is that you can harmonize with canon and you can echo what’s come before, so you can do it in a new way.”

When it came to Venom, Orci dodged the shit out of my questions, spinning it back to his TV experience. I did ask about his approach to building a world like Marvel did with their Paramount/Disney properties.

“To take it back to TV, my first job with Alex ever was TV. That’s where we  learned the idea of having a core team of people you trust, of partners that care about the same things and create an interesting universe. That’s what you do in television. That’s what we’re doing here. You’re always writing a show, you’re in preproduction on a show, you’re shooting a show, you’re in post production on a show and you’re airing a show. It’s all got to be consistent. When we broached the subject with the idea of let’s go back to the model of having a group of people who care who can check in with each other who can be great together and then each of them handles their episode, that was a great thing to get a nice response to that.”

We’ll have more on Ender’s Game II: Ender Enderer after we beat the next level of this Mind Game. 

Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Best Episode Ever and The Shelf Space Awards. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.