Since its publication back in 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s science fiction classic A Wrinkle in Time has been considered an unfilmable story. Well, more than 50 years later, Ava DuVernay has proven skeptics wrong, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t make some pretty big moves in adaptating the the book to the screen. Here are some of the biggest changes…
The missing Murrys.
If you’ve never read the book, then you probably don’t know that the Murry family lost two family members in the jump from the page to the screen. In the A Wrinkle in Time book, Meg and Charles Wallace have twin, 10-year-old brothers named Sandy and Dennys. They are the affable, likeable sort who, much to Meg’s chagrin, don’t have the same kinds of problems fitting in that she does.
While Sandy and Dennys don’t feature much in A Wrinkle in Time, they become very important later in the Time Quintet series as protagonists in Many Waters. We talked to A Wrinkle in Time screenwriter Jennifer Lee about what happened to the Murry twins. Here’s what she told us.
Charles Wallace’s adoption.
We shouldn’t be too worried about Sandy and Dennys missing from the A Wrinkle in Time movie. After all, as Jennifer Lee pointed out to HelloGiggles, this is the kind of family that adopts kids and seems to have extra love to give. This is what happened to Charles Wallace who is adopted in the film versus being the biological child of the Murrys in the book. We talked to Lee about when and why that change happened. We think it’s one of the best changes from the book to the film!
One of the saddest changes from the book to the film is the erasure of Aunt Beast and the planet of Ixchel, where Meg travels after Camazotz before returning to the planet to save her brother. While on Ixchel, Meg meets an eye-less alien named Aunt Beast who she communicates with telepathically. It’s a weird, moving part of the book and, while we understand why it was cut from the film, it’s still sad to see it go. However, there may be a chance that it will make it into a deleted scene, so that’s something!
The Murrys are a multi-racial family living in California.
One of the coolest changes from the book to the movie came in changes to the Murry family. In the book, the Murrys are a white family living in Connecticut. In the movie, they are a multi-racial family living in California. While it’s gloriously subtle in the movie, the different backgrounds and identities give some insight into the diversity within this one, on-screen family: Chris Pine is a white dude from California, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a biracial English actress, Storm Reid is bi-racial, and Deric McCabe is Filipino-American. This makes for a more diverse on-screen family than is usually seen on-screen, let alone in big-budget cinema adapted from a very white-centric book.
The Happy Medium’s genderswap.
A Wrinkle in Time did some pretty cool things to mix up its representation when it came to casting the books most iconic roles, but less attention has been given to the gender-swapping of the Happy Medium character. In the book, the hippy soothsayer the Mrs. bring Meg & co. to identifies as a woman. In the movie, the Happy Medium is played by Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis spoke about the importance of his role as a different kind of male character during the A Wrinkle in Time press conference, urging boys as well as girls to see the film.
Dr. Alex Murry’s absence.
In the book, Dr. Alex Murry is gone for a little more than a year before Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin go looking for him. In the movie, he is gone for four years. To be honest, this was one of the changes that was the hardest to swallow in the movie adaptation. It makes the reunion that much more bittersweet and means that Dr. Murry and Charles Wallace never really had a chance to get to know each other before the former went missing.
Mrs. Who’s quotes.
In both the book and the movie, Mrs. Who uses famous quotations from other people to communicate. As the book was written more than 50 years ago, the movie made the smart decision to update the quotations used for modern audiences. In the book, Mrs. Who mostly sticks to Eurocentric writers and philosophers. In the movie, she quotes writers and philosophers like Shakespeare and Rumi, but also OutKast, Chris Tucker, and Hamilton. Additionally, in the book, Mrs. Who also initially speaks the quotations in whatever their speaker’s native language is. In the movie, she simply states where they hail from, which probably make Mindy Kaling’s job a heck of a lot easier.
Rowan Blanchard’s character.
In the movie, Rowan Blanchard plays a character named Veronica who bullies Meg at school. This character doesn’t exist in the book at all.
What were some of the big changes you noticed in the A Wrinkle in Time movie adaptation? Sound off in the comments below…