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    13 Differences Between The "Chaos Walking" Books And The Movie

    I was pleasantly surprised.

    After a painfully long three years, Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, is finally in theaters.

    Walker Books, Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In the words of Lizzo, "I've been WAITING for this one. Turn it up!"

    The story follows Todd, who lives in a world without women, and where the men's thoughts are on display at all times. When he meets Viola, a girl who has crash-landed on his planet, they learn that their world is not what it seems.

    Murray Close / © Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The movie, based on the trilogy of the same name, was originally supposed to be released in 2019. But because of Tom's and Daisy's respective Marvel and Star Wars commitments, and because the movie was deemed "unreleasable" in 2019, it was delayed until this past weekend.

    Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as Todd and Viola stand together on a rock
    Murray Close / © Lionsgate / courtesy Everett Collection

    All we got for two years was this one photo.

    I'm an avid fan of the books, and I've told basically everyone I know about them. While there are quite a few differences between the book series and this new movie, not all of them are bad.

    Lionsgate / Regal

    If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: If you haven't read these books, you haven't lived.

    Spoilers ahead for both the books and the film!

    1. Perhaps the most immediate difference is that in the books, Todd and Viola are 13, but in the movie, they're older teens.

    Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland playing Todd and Viola in the movie Chaos Walking. they are both sitting down with their dog manchee in between them in the woods.
    Murray Close / © Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    I actually prefer them to be aged up like this because their instincts, decision-making, and even their stamina were a bit more mature than two 13-year-olds' would have been, imo.

    2. Only humans have Noise in the film.

    Tom Holland playing Todd in the movie Chaos Walking. Todd is holding his dog Manchee
    Murray Close / © Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In the novels, all of the animals in New World have their own, distinctive Noise. It makes Manchee's death in The Knife of Never Letting Go much sadder because you've gotten to know him as a character.

    In the movie, only the men and the native species, the Spackle, have Noise. But I understand why they made that decision because it would have been wayyy too overwhelming.

    3. In the book, Todd leaves his home before everyone knows about Viola. In the film, he leaves because everyone knows about her.

    Todd, Viola, and Manchee running from the mayor and his men
    Murray Close / © Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Everyone in Prentisstown learns about Viola early on in the movie while scouting her crashed ship. After the mayor makes it clear that he wants information about the rest of her people, Viola quickly realizes that he's a bad guy and escapes with Todd.

    This is another change that benefits the film because it's direct and gives movie Todd and Viola a concrete reason to go on the run.

    4. Davy is a lot more prominent in the novels.

    Nick Jonas as Davy Prentiss
    Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    When I read the books, I was surprised at how much I ended up caring about Davy. His arc and development were very well done, as was his (kind of) friendship with Todd. He also shoots Viola at the end of the first book, nearly killing her, but we'll get to that soon.

    While Nick Jonas's Davy did convey how he felt the need to compete for the mayor's affection, the movie only scratched the surface of Davy's depth as a character.

    5. In The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd is worried that he'll transmit the Noise to Viola because he thinks it's fatal for women.

    tom holland playing todd
    Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Todd thinks that there are only men in Prentisstown because of both the Noise and the Spackle War that took place after the people landed. In reality, the men went crazy when they realized that they couldn't know what the women were thinking and killed them all. Because Todd believes that the Noise killed the women, he's worried that Viola will die, which, of course, she hears in his Noise.

    In the film, Todd blames the death of the women entirely on the Spackle, so his Noise is mainly a source of annoyance rather than fear for Viola...once she gets used to it.

    6. Book Todd doesn't realize that any of the Spackle are alive until he has to fight one. In the movie, everyone knows that they're alive and well.

    Spackle walking in the woods with noise around them
    Murray Close / Lionsgate

    In the movie, one of the Spackle is only in the movie for five minutes when it fights Todd, but the entire Spackle population plays a huge role in every single book. They're enslaved by the men of Prentisstown in Book 2, The Ask and the Answer, and stage an all-out war against the humans in Book 3, Monsters of Men.

    7. A huge part of book Todd's character is not being able to kill because of his humanity, a characteristic that sets him apart from the rest of the men. However, you'd only get that from the film if you already knew it.

    Tom Holland playing todd in the movie chaos walking. he is about to talk while standing in the woods and appears startled.
    Murray Close / Lionsgate

    There are two significant birthdays for boys in Prentisstown: their 13th, when the mayor tells them the "truth" about how all the women died, and their 16th, when they become men by killing someone.

    That's why Todd's adoptive parents suddenly send him away in The Knife of Never Letting Go, so he won't have impure thoughts and will therefore be accepted by the rest of the world.

    8. But while he doesn't kill the Spackle in a fight in the movie, he does in the book.

    Spackle from the movie choas walking in the water being defeated
    Murray Close / Lionsgate

    An odd exchange, if you ask me.

    Todd and Viola discover the Spackle in The Knife of Never Letting Go after they're attacked by Davy. When Todd can't bring himself to kill Davy, he thinks it's because he's a coward. After they find the Spackle, Todd's embarrassment over his "cowardice" and his worry about a Spackle attack lead him to kill the Spackle, but he instantly regrets it.

    9. The movie doesn't include WILF!!!

    Oscar Jaenada in 2011
    John Shearer / WireImage / Getty Images

    Wilf (who was going to be played by Óscar Jaenada) is a farmer who helps Todd and Viola throughout the entire trilogy, and hides them in his wagon so that they can sneak into places undetected. He's one of my favorite characters in the books because of his courage, kindness, and determination, and he isn't in the final cut of the movie. #WeWantWilf

    10. Aaron straight-up kidnaps Viola in the book.

    Todd, Viola, and Manchee escaping Aaron on the river
    Murray Close / Lionsgate

    Aaron was the only aspect of the story that I thought was translated at the same intensity from page to screen, and boy was he SCARY. He does fight Todd and Viola in The Knife of Never Letting Go, but he kidnaps Viola and wounds Todd in the process. Todd finds them a few days later and helps Viola escape, which leads to Manchee's death.

    In the film, all of this is condensed into a single fight on the river. And as someone who hates whitewater rafting, I was watching through my fingers.

    Todd, Viola, and Manchee's boat capsizes in the river

    My worst nightmare.

    11. Book Todd can only hear bits of his mother's journal at a time because it's too overwhelming for him.

    Todd and Viola hide in Farbranch

    In the movie, when Viola and Todd are hiding in Farbranch, Todd admits that he can't read and asks her to read his mother's journal aloud. She reads the entire thing in one sitting, and that's how they find out that the men of Prentisstown killed all the women.

    Book Todd learns what the diary says later on in the series because as he learns to read, he can only hear a little at a time because of how emotional it makes him. Todd and Viola learn about the murders from Todd's dad, Ben, not on their own.

    12. In the book, Viola kills Aaron so that Todd doesn't have to — not while she's trying to contact her ship.

    Aaron and his red Noise
    Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Aaron tries to become a kind of sacrifice for "the last boy in Prentisstown" in The Knife of Never Letting Go, and when he attempts to provoke Todd to murder him, Viola kills him instead.

    Book Viola isn't able to contact her ship until The Ask and the Answer (my favorite!), and it takes a lot of people to get her to that point. There are at least half a dozen characters besides Todd who help Viola complete this personal mission of hers.

    13. The mayor dies after...falling into a spaceship?

    The Mayor
    Murray Close / Lionsgate

    This is honestly the difference that was most jarring for me. Book Todd and Viola are nearly at Haven, where it's rumored there's a cure for the Noise, when Davy finds them and shoots Viola. Todd carries her into Haven, and they realize that Mayor Prentiss has taken over, declaring himself mayor of all of New World. He's also figured out a way to hide his Noise.

    In the movie, Todd and Viola work together to send the mayor plummeting to his death in a way that cuts off his arc as the main villain.

    All in all, I thought the script was a good adaptation and made for a very compelling film. And Tom and Daisy did phenomenally, of course. If you need me, I'll be restarting the trilogy.


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