Will the ‘Artemis Fowl’ Movie Be Like the Books?

With Artemis Fowl set to premiere this summer, fans have already begun rereading each installment in the 8-book series. Whether calling themselves “artemisians,” “fowlies,” “fowls,” or any other term of endearment used to adequately express their devotion, Artemis Fowl followers likely have one thing in common: high expectations.

From Eoin Colfer’s attention to detail regarding his magical world to the character identities so perfectly calculated, the production team has a lot to live up to. Kleptomaniac dwarves, fairy police commanders, and goblin rebellions are just a few fantastical features demanding finesse. Thus, the main question currently lurking abound in fowl forums: how will the Artemis Fowl movie compare to the books?

Eoin Colfer
Eoin Coler | Photo by Ralf Juergens/Getty Images

Fans will notice a few character changes to the ‘Artemis Fowl’ lineup

Director Kenneth Branaugh has reported that several Artemis Fowl characters have been altered for the movie, according to Bustle.com. While the film’s plot will follow a rather similar trajectory – a young boy cultivates a plan to become an evil mastermind and solve the mystery behind his father’s disappearance  – some of the surrounding players will look a little different.

Butler, Artemis Fowl’s bodyguard (and chaperone), so to speak, is described as “Eurasian” in the book; however, Branaugh reported that he had always imagined black actor, Nonso Anozie, in the role, according to Bustle.com. The two previously worked together on Cinderella, and Branaugh felt he would be perfect for the part.

In addition to this character change, Commander Root gets a gender swap, and Holly Short (the kidnapped fairy) gets knocked down a few years. While described as an adult fairy in the books, Holly Short will be portrayed by 16-year-old Lara McDonnell. As for Mr. Commander Root, he’s now one accomplished Dame: Judi Dench. You can listen to Dench narrating the teaser below; she communicates a sense of urgency with an unwavering degree of confidence.

Kenneth Branaugh, while steadfast in his vision for the cinematic reimaging, asked Colfer for permission before proceeding with his alterations to the source material. Eion Colfer approved each one.

What will be the same?

While some character changes will be present, Disney has officially reported its commitment to the novel’s story, thematic undertones, and character relationships.

Disney’s official synopsis of the film is in direct alignment with Colfer’s work, according to ComingSoon.net:

Artemis Fowl, based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, is a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father who has mysteriously disappeared. With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization—the amazingly advanced world of fairies.”

Despite changes to the characters, Disney’s synopsis reveals the creators’ intent to bring Colfer’s vision to life (as fans would imagine it). If you trust Kenneth Branaugh, the visionary behind Thor, as well as Judi Dench, this movie should have no issue gaining your stamp of approval.

Who will play Artemis Fowl?

Artemis Fowl, coming to theaters August 9, will feature newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role. The 12-year-old boy beat out over 1,200 other hopefuls for this career-defining opportunity.

Ferdia Shaw as Artemis Fowl

While he has a lot to live up to, Shaw has Judi Dench, Josh Gad (Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, A Dog’s Purpose), and Kenneth Branaugh at his side. So, how could he go wrong?

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