As we look forward towards the Ender’s Game movie, it may be interesting to conduct an analysis that looks at the two primary characters – Ender and Bean. These roles both will both involve a great deal of talent to pull off, as these two characters are so deep in their emotions and personality. To adequately compare the two, we need to look beyond the obvious distinctions, and look into the kind of people they are. At the surface-level, Ender is the strong leader, the person who can bring people into battle; Bean is the quiet strategist, the best right-hand man you could have. They fit together as a team perfectly, but that is so intriguing when we see the way they think, the way they act.
The first place we can find the distinction is the famous scene in Ender’s Game when Bean comes into Ender’s room after their latest battle, as it has begun to wear heavily against the Commander. As Ender speaks to Bean, we see a deeper part of the character. He feels isolated, alone, exhausted. He doesn’t want to play the game anymore. Yet, in Ender’s Shadow, we see Bean’s reaction: he is almost annoyed at Ender’s reaction. He understands the pain, but feels Ender is not pushing himself to his potential. As we see in that companion book, there are many times where Bean feels Ender is overrated; but this of course turns at the final battle.
Bean, by stark contrast, is super-independent. Due to his upbringing, he has the strength and courage to act on his own, regardless of the consequences. Through his intellect, he discovers many secrets of the Battle School. It is Bean who builds Dragon Army and it is Bean who helps in the final battle to deliver the final push of Dr. Device onto the Formic home world.
The challenge for the actors of course is to adequately portray the depth of these characters. They should be strong companions, maybe even friends in the movie, but there must be an effort to show their different way of looking at the world. Ender constantly fears he will be too violent, like Peter; Bean fears he will not take action, like when he did not have Achilles killed. At the end of the day though, these are the narratives we look to in discovering ourselves. Ender and Bean are mirror images of how every single human being can act.
Which character do you best associate with? What kind of person are you?