The NeverEnding Story author hated his film adaptation

It should be a dream for authors to see their novels come to life on the big screen. Although Michael Ende does not support The NeverEnding Story.

It should be a feat for the authors to see their hard work come to fruition on the big screen. Some authors have even made cameos in their film adaptations, such as SE Hinton in The foreigners and Louis Sachar in Holes. While readers are always happy when their favorite novels are adapted into faithful or acclaimed films, sometimes the authors don’t share the same sentiment.

The 1984 movie The never-ending story was based on German writer Michael Ende’s 1979 novel of the same title. The fantasy film, which was filled with childlike wonder and featured one of cinema’s most devastating animal deaths, initially received average reviews. Although, The never-ending story later became a cult classic. While the first film only focused on the first half of the novel, it was enough for Ende to want his name removed from the credits.

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The never-ending story follows a 10-year-old outcast named Bastian Bux and his discovery of a magical book with the same title as the film. The book focuses on the enchanted land of Fantasia. The country of Fantasia is in danger at the hands of an evil force called “The Nothing”. A young warrior named Atreyu embarks on a quest to cure the Child Empress of her illness, which will hopefully banish nothingness. Atreyu has its fair share of troubles along the way, but Bastian’s imagination is able to recreate Fantasia and restore what was once lost, like the viewers’ favorite horse named Artax.

Ende’s children’s novel immediately became popular and rose to number one among German bestsellers. When it came time to adapt the novel into a film, huge sums of money were spent capturing the fantasy world of Ende. Despite the big budget, The never-ending story revolted Ende. The author was initially excited about turning his novel into a movie, but things turned sour after he sold his rights to the novel for just $50,000.

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Ende sold the rights to Wolfgang Peterson, a German director whose first film in English was The never-ending story. Ende’s initial confidence was betrayed when the author saw the final script five days before the film’s premiere. “I was horrified. They had completely changed the direction of the story,” Ende revealed in an interview with People. The author went on to say that Fantastica reappeared without Bastian’s creativity, and that was “the essence of the book.”

The only major differences between the novel and the movie were the renaming of “Fantastica” to “Fantasia” and the number of doors to get to the Oracle. Despite the small edits, Ende took the team to court demanding a change in the film’s title or a complete halt to production. In the end, Ende could not win the case. The late author called the film “a gigantic melodrama of kitsch, commerce, plush and plastic” (via Spiegel). Despite the cult classic status of the first film, many critics and fans shared the same thoughts after seeing the sequels. The never-ending story.

Lola R. McClure