Production Blog #12 - Human vs. Formic Design

Since filming wrapped on Ender's Game earlier this month, we all knew it was only a matter of time before the production blog came to an end as well. So, this is it! The final post -- and it looks like they saved the best for last:

While in the previous entry we got an inside look at what it's like to costume a futuristic world, the final blog post was all about designing the world itself.

This week, the producers sat down with production designers Ben Procter and Sean Haworth, the two men responsible for creating the world of Ender's Game:
We recently got them [Procter and Haworth] to reflect on the process of creating this world.

As Ben described it, the most fun was creating the two contrasting cultures of Human and Formic technology and architecture.

"We tried to imbue the spaces and vehicles with a gritty, engineered realism that would help sell the seriousness of the training our hero kids are going through. The visual style of the Formics, on the other hand, needed to be both exotic and beautiful to represent a society not deserving of extinction."

Ask them to describe the Formic world and you’ll get excited tales, imagining a Formic method of manufacture that was distinctly inhuman — a kind of biological 3D printer, with the drones building living spaces and spacecraft layer by layer.
I really like the use of the word "drones" here because, as it is a word usually associated with insects, it suggests that the design team has indeed embraced the canonical idea that the Formics are bug-like.

Fun fact: Did you know that the word Formic comes from formica, which is the Latin word for ant? This is why an ant infestation in your house is usually treated with formicide. 

Let's look at some ant stuff:

The first image is an example of a rather large ant colony taken from Discovery.com. Blown up, it would sort of look like a fortress, right? Or at least something one can imagine humans living in.

The second, however, is from concept artist Kaitlyn Colhouer. This image has nothing in particular to do with Ender's Game; rather, it's the concept design for a video game aptly named God Save the Queen, which seems to feature ants as the main characters and takes place at least in part inside an ant colony. I really like the look of it: doesn't it remind you of how Ender describes Eros, with its low, carved-out ceilings?

You should check out the rest of her artwork here. The design for one of her characters, Faro, is very similar to how I've always pictured the Buggers in my head, though perhaps slightly less intimidating. What do you guys think?

It will be really interesting to see how the production designers incorporate insect-like design into Eros and the Formic dwellings. What would Eros have looked like, nearly a century after the humans captured it from the insectoid alien species and repurposed it for their own use?

We'll have to wait and see!

And hey, this week we also got a peek at the Battle Room gate:

I don't know about you guys, but I really feel like grabbing a handhold and flinging myself through those doors.

How many gates do you think the Battle Room will have in the movie? If there's a "B" Gate, then we can most likely assume there's an "A." Are these the gates through which the two armies would send their soldiers? Will there be a "teachergate" for I.F. staff such as Graff and Anderson as well?

This week's post also made clear that both Haworth and Procter were huge fans of the novel before they even joined the team.

"Even in a short conversation," the author writes, "their excitement for the project is tangible."

So, it seems, is their excitement for their co-workers:
But the most amazing thing about talking to them, without question, is their eagerness to share the credit and sing the praises of the whole crew that brought ENDER’S GAME to life.  Whether it be admiration for the beauty of Gavin’s adaptation, the "coolest art department ever assembled", the ingenuity of construction coordinator Anthony Syracuse and Supervising Art Director Todd Holland, or even the fact that Orson Scott Card himself came to give their design and vision his seal of approval, this was a great crew in every sense.
 Read the full blog post here


That's a wrap on the production blog, guys! But that doesn't mean there isn't still fun stuff to come: Keep checking back here for all your Ender-related news, or give us a follow on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr!

Did you know that we've officially passed the 500 day mark? Only 498 days to go 'til Ender's Game hits U.S. theaters.
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