EnderThinkingIt: Teaser Trailer Tropes

We lay odds on what Trailer Tropes will be included in the upcoming Ender's Game teaser.

Welcome to EnderThinkingIt, where we subject (one particular part of) the popular culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t (but in this case definitely does) deserve.

Ender’s Game is one of my all-time favorite books. I first read it when I was 11 or 12, and have read it (at least) once a year since then. So suffice to say I’m extremely excited – and extremely apprehensive – about the November 1 release of the film adaptation of the book. The excitement because I think the story has the potential for to make an amazing film. The apprehension because it’s the kind of story that could EASILY be botched, especially given the way movies are made these days. So expect to see me blathering about Ender’s Game a lot in the next few months.


And with a teaser trailer scheduled to drop next week, I figured it was time to roll out my coverage/nerdiness. There are a lot of common “tropes” that we’ve come to expect from trailers, particularly for genre films like EG promises to be. So: What tropes will I be looking for next week? And what will it mean for Ender’s Game if we see it?


  • Bullet time (a.k.a. slow-fast-slow action sequence)
    • This is almost inevitable, given the heavy emphasis on both the Battle Room and in sweeping space battles. I’d be shocked if they didn’t incorporate lots of fancy CGI camera angles and the slow-fast-slow style of editing to show some of the battle room sequences.
    • Odds: 3:2 in favor
  • Lots of shiny space ships doing battle
    • One of the things I’ll be most looking for is the ratio of Space Battle vs. Battle Room sequences. The core of the book is really the Battle Room and Ender’s experience in it. That said, those are probably a lot harder to film (or make convincing CGI).
    • AND it’s a lot harder to sell toys if you don’t have some cool looking space ships on both sides of the battle. I’m very very worried that the movie will shift a lot of the action out into space, instead of on the characters that the book paints so well.
    • Odds: 2:1 in favor (ugh) 
  • Space ship/station crumbling into pieces
    • This one’s less likely only because of the contours of the plot of EG, but if they decide to show scenes from the First or Second Invasion, we’ll see it for sure.
    • Odds: 5:1 against
    • BONUS: If it’s immediately followed by characters running from an explosion
  • Character jumping towards a ledge/object/vehicle while the camera speed slows down
    • See above for the Space Battle / Battle room ratio. Obviously the battle room has lots of jumping off of things and reaching for them, so we can hope to see some of these.
    • Odds: 2:1 against
  • Explosions
    • Honestly, there shouldn’t be that many, since so much of the book happens at a remove from the “battle”. That said….
    • Odds: 2:1 in favor (see Space battle, shiny) 



Modern trailers are required by law to have (at least) one of the following sound effects:

  • “Wub-wub-wub”
    • The dubstep, oh god, the dubstep.
    • Honestly, I’d actually be surprised – that’s always been reserved for the movies that want to show just how XTREME they are, and Ender’s Game is (at least I hope) a little more reserved than that.
    • Odds: 5:1 against (Pleeeeeease) 
  • “Braaaaaaaahm”
    • Every trailer since Inception.
    • This sound is typically meant to show just how awe inspiring or mind-blowing something is going to be. It could be used to show off the Battle School or the Battle Room, so I wouldn’t be surprised, but I get more of a “Look how great this is” vibe from the marketing than a “We should all be terrified” vibe.
    • Odds: 3:2 against 
  • “Beeeeooooooooouuu (Dropping bass note)
    • This is typically accompanied with the “jumping into space” or “slow-fast-slow” action sequence referenced above, and I’d be shocked if it wasn’t used to show someone leaping headfirst into the Battle Room (or, God willing, feet first – the enemy’s gate is down people!!)
    • Odds: 10:1 in favor



Enders Game is not THAT well known of a property, and voiceover is always the best way to do your world building, so we’re no doubt going to get some sort of Basil Exposition style voiceover. The only real question is whose voice will it be? EG has two high-profile actors that could plausibly have some good exposition in Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.

  • Harrison Ford: 3:1 in favor
    • He’s the big name, especially if you’re trying to sell a movie about space. Graff makes more sense as a character as well, since he does most of the introcution to Battle School in the book. 
  • Ben Kingsley: 3:1 against
    • He could still be the voiceover, especially since the trailer is dropping just after Iron Man 3 is scheduled to come out, and they might wish to capitalize on it. 


But what will the voice over say?

  • “In a world….”
    • This went out of style years ago, and the world is worse for it.
    • Odds: 20:1 against 
  • “Only you can do it Ender” (or derivative therof)
    • Odds: 5:1 in favor 
  • “Is this all just some sort of GAME to you?”
    • Odds: 11-billion-ty:1 in favor


Plot points I’ll be looking out for

  • How much Bean? There were rumors that the movie will double up with Ender’s Shadow, but I think those have been quieted down. So probably not much. Sorry Julian, maybe next time.
  • Will they show much of the Buggers?
  • Will they show any of Peter/Val’s sub-plot?

Anyway, I’m excited to see the trailer, excited to see the movie.