It’s the nature of adaptation that the work will and must change when it goes from one form to another. So, of course, this is the case for A Wrinkle in Time, Disney’s big-budget adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved science fiction novel.
Den of Geek was part of the A Wrinkle in Time press junket in Los Angeles where we had the chance to talk to screenwriter Jennifer Lee about adapting the story from page to screen. When asked to choose one element that was the hardest to cut from the movie, Lee had an easy answer: Aunt Beast.
For those who haven’t read the book, Aunt Beast is an alien Meg meets after she, her father, and Calvin tesser off of Camazotz and away from The IT. While there, Meg befriends a very strange alien named Aunt Beast who lives on a planet called Ixchel. Aunt Beast, who has no eyes or head can only communicate with Meg via telepathy, but she helps Meg prepare for the battle to come.
Here is a description of the Aunt Beast aliens who live on from the book:
They were the same dull gray color as the flowers. If they hadn’t walked upright they would have seemed like animals. They moved directly toward the three human beings. They had four arms and far more than five fingers to each hand, and the fingers were not fingers, but long waving tentacles. They had heads, and they had faces. But where the faces of the creatures on Uriel had seemed far more than human faces, these seemed far less. Where the features would normally be there were several indentations, and in place of ears and hair were more tentacles. They were tall, Meg realized as they came closer, far taller than any man. They had no eyes. Just soft indentations.
So what happened to Aunt Beast? She was initially in the movie, said Lee, but was cut because it was what the story needed.
“The discoveries you make when you put [the movie] together and you go, this is where the challenge needs to grow, and [Ixchel] pulls you away from it,” explained Lee.
So part of it was, the structure of the book is so sound, but then every now and then the crack shows that cinema, unless we did the three-hour version, can’t hold it. Really it was a challenge to say, this is not the time she gets to have some release. She has to face this herself before anyone is given her help. And that’s really true. It made her rise to the end much stronger.
We do get a brief glimpse of Ixchel during the vision Meg has while visiting The Happy Medium and, apparently, there’s more where that came from. “[Aunt Beast was] shot, she’s made, there’s beautiful scenes,” said Lee. “Maybe it’ll end up in the DVD.”
We’re keeping our fingers crossed!