After an alien race called the Formics (also known as the "Buggers") attacks Earth, the International Fleet prepare for the next invasion by training the best young children to find the future candidate to lead the International Fleet and fill the shoes of the legendary war hero Mazer Rackham. Ender Wiggin, a shy but strategically brilliant boy, is pulled out of his Earth school to join International Fleet.
He attends the legendary Battle School in Space. After easily mastering the increasingly difficult war games, distinguishing himself and winning respect among his peers, Ender is soon ordained by Colonel Graff as the military's next great hope resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he is trained by Mazer Rackham himself to lead the military into a war that will determine the future of Earth and the human race.
Since Ender's Game was published in 1985, author Orson Scott Card had always been protective of the film rights and artistic control. Card explained that he had many opportunities through the 1980s and 1990s to sell the rights of Ender's Game to Hollywood studios, but refused when creative differences became an issue.
With the formation of Fresco Pictures in 1996 (which Card co-founded), the author decided to write the screenplay himself. In a 1998 interview, Orson Scott Card discussed the process of adapting the novel into a screenplay. "The first decision I made was not to pursue the Peter/Valentine subplot with the Internet, because that's just watching people type things into the computer.
The second decision I made was to give that information about the surprise at the end from the start. In my script we know who Mazer Rackham really is and we know what is at stake as Ender plays his games.
But Ender doesn't know, so I think the suspense is actually increased because the audience knows we're about the business of saving the world and that everything depends on this child not understanding that. We care all the more about whether he wins – and we worry that he might not want to.
As we watch the adults struggle to get control of Ender, we pity him because of what's happening to him, but we want the adults to succeed. I think it makes for a much more complex and fascinating film than it would have been if I had tried to keep secrets."
Card submitted a screenplay to Warner Bros. in 2003, at which time David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were hired to collaborate a new script in consulation with the then-designated director Wolfgang Petersen. Four years later, Card wrote a new script not based on any previous ones, including his own.
Card announced in February 2009 that he had completed a script for Odd Lot Entertainment, and that they had begun assembling a production team. In September 2010, it was announced that Gavin Hood was attached to the project, serving as both screenwriter and director.
In November 2010, Card stated that the film's storyline would be a fusion of Ender's Game and its parallel novel, Ender's Shadow, focusing on the important elements of both. On January 28, 2011, it was reported that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman would be producing the work and would begin presenting the script to prospective investors.
On April 28, 2011, Summit Entertainment picked up the film's distribution along with Digital Domain. Gavin Hood joined as director, using Hood's script adaptation, and Donald McAlpine joined as cinematographer. Creative producers are Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman of K/O Paper Products, with financial producers Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough of Odd Lot Entertainment.
The film is also being produced by Lynn Hendee of Chartoff Productions, who has worked with Card on the development of the film for over 15 years, and Robert Chartoff. In an interview with Brigham Young University newspaper The Universe, Card said that his role as co-producer was in the early stages and that the screenplay is 100% Hood's