How HBO Max’s ‘Station Eleven’ is totally different from the ebook

HBO Max’s stunning new miniseries, Station Eleven is a stable adaptation of the novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Whereas it makes some huge adjustments, it stays trustworthy to the spirit of the ebook, which is a crucial facet of any adaptation.

Station Eleven strikes forwards and backwards in time, following characters like Kirsten Raymonde (Mackenzie Davis) and Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel) as they battle to reside by way of an apocalyptic flu. When she grows up, Kirsten joins the Touring Symphony, a troupe of performers whose lifestyle is threatened by a harmful prophet. Different storylines embody the creation of each a Museum of Civilization and a comic book ebook titled “Station Eleven.” There are numerous characters and tales to juggle, and Station Eleven does its greatest to carry all of them to life in a approach that stays true to Mandel’s work and makes good tv.

Listed below are the largest adjustments Station Eleven has made to this point. The next accommodates large spoilers for the novel and the present, so think about yourselves warned.

Jeevan and Kirsten

Only a informal pre-apocalypse grocery retailer run. Credit score: Parrish Lewis/HBO Max

With its first episode, “Wheel of Hearth,” Station Eleven deviates from Mandel’s novel in a giant approach. Within the ebook, Jeevan helps Kirsten discover her guardian within the wake of Arthur Leander’s coronary heart assault. That’s the extent of their interplay. Within the present, Jeevan presents to assist younger Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) get house after a efficiency of King Lear. Because the episode progresses, a lethal flu rips by way of Chicago. (The placement is one other change from the ebook, a lot of which takes place in Toronto.) Realizing he must take shelter together with his brother Frank (Nabhaan Rizwan), Jeevan brings Kirsten with him. And the three of them put together to experience out the flu collectively

This modification opens up a wholly new relationship for the present to discover and the chance to look at components of those characters that Mandel did not contact on. Kirsten’s time earlier than becoming a member of the Touring Symphony is left obscure within the novel (She was so younger that she does not bear in mind the early days of the pandemic.) In tying her story in with Jeevan’s, Station Eleven guarantees we’ll see extra of how she was pressured to develop up in the course of the apocalypse. It additionally suggests we’ll see how Jeevan and Frank take care of the duty of caring for her.

Apart from this merging of two storylines, the primary episode tweaks Jeevan’s character barely. Within the novel Jeevan is coaching to be a paramedic, so he makes an attempt CPR on actor Arthur Leander (Gael García Bernal). The present makes no point out of this reality or of his time as a paparazzo. As an alternative, he briefly alludes to working as a reporter or “cultural critic” earlier than admitting he does not have a job, suggesting that Station Eleven could also be approaching his backstory in a different way than the novel.

St. Deborah-by-the-Water

E book readers will acknowledge St. Deborah-by-the-Water as one of many stops the Touring Symphony makes on its journey. They go to the settlement early on within the novel to carry out and reunite with two former troupe members, Charlie and Jeremy, who stayed there whereas the previous was pregnant. When the troupe returns, the couple has fled due to the sinister Prophet who has taken up residence in St. Deborah-by-the-Water. The present introduces Charlie and Jeremy as they make the choice to remain behind. Their departure has a robust affect on Kirsten, who worries about individuals leaving her. Contemplating the timeline, it is unlikely that the present will cowl Charlie and Jeremy’s flight from St. Deborah-by-the-Water, particularly for the reason that Prophet hasn’t appeared but. Or has he…

A mysterious stranger

Kirsten and Alexandra (Philippine Velge) meet an odd traveler named David (Daniel Zovatto) and his ward Cody (Luca Villacis). He hits the Touring Symphony with a sob story, however Kirsten is not shopping for it. She picks up on inconsistencies in his accounts, rightfully factors out that he is creepy, then stabs him and leaves him for lifeless.

Regardless of Kirsten’s greatest efforts, David lives to be creepy one other day. Station Eleven does not verify whether or not he is the present’s model of the Prophet. However based mostly on his unusual ruminations about Day Zero ache and his threats to make the Touring Symphony disappear one after the other, it is a huge risk.

Miranda and Arthur

A woman in a blue dress holds up a glass to make a toast.

Miranda provides a harsh toast. Credit score: Warrick Web page/HBO Max

Miranda Carroll (Danielle Deadwyler) performs a giant function in Station Eleven, on condition that she creates the comedian from which the present and novel take their title. In addition to being an artist, she is Arthur’s first spouse. Their assembly within the present differs drastically from their assembly within the books. Nevertheless, their marriage follows lots of the identical beats, together with Miranda’s realization that Arthur is having an affair with co-star Elizabeth (Caitlin Fitzgerald) and the divorce it spurs. 

Within the novel, Miranda and Arthur each come from Delano Island, Ontario. They join years after they’d every left the island, when Arthur is a longtime actor. Miranda leaves an abusive relationship to be with him, all whereas persevering with to work on her comedian ebook about Dr. Eleven. The present provides them a restaurant meet-cute, the place Arthur asks Miranda questions on her artwork. 

Though the occasions main as much as their marriage differ between the books and the present, each variations of Miranda and Arthur share an analogous dynamic. You’ll be able to instantly perceive how protecting Miranda is of Station Eleven, a sentiment that is still all through their marriage and culminates in Miranda’s rage when Arthur reveals Elizabeth her drawings.

Miranda in Malaysia

Station Eleven expands on Miranda’s pandemic expertise in its third episode, “Hurricane.” In each variations, Miranda is in Malaysia when the pandemic hits. Within the present, she makes an attempt to flee from Malaysia on a tanker however stops when she learns of Arthur’s demise. She stays caught in her lodge along with her pitch associate Jim (Tim Simons), whose makes an attempt to stay informal concerning the scenario masks his true horror. The outcomes of this variation are harrowing, giving us a clearer image of hopelessness within the face of an unstoppable sickness.

The Prophet

Station Eleven‘s fourth episode confirms that David, who we met in episode 2, is the present’s model of the Prophet. There are a couple of key variations between book-Prophet and show-Prophet, although. Within the ebook, the Prophet has already taken up residence in St. Deborah-by-the-Water, the place he convinces the survivors of the pandemic that they are particular. He additionally takes youngster brides, cementing his standing as a monster. He even requests to marry Alex from the Touring Symphony.

The present’s Prophet additionally tries to take Alex away, solely this time with discussions about how individuals born after the pandemic — post-pans — are particular and free from trauma. It is primarily the other of his philosophy from the ebook. Present-Prophet’s cult is made completely of the kids he is lured from their houses, and he will get factors for not being gross and marrying them. Nevertheless, he loses all these factors through the use of the kids as his private military, leading to a lot of their deaths.

Going to Pingtree

When Kirsten acknowledges the Prophet’s philosophy as being just like that of Station Eleven, she will get the Conductor (Lori Petty) to carry the Symphony’s actors to the settlement of Pingtree, the place she left her copy. Every part that occurs at Pingtree, from assembly Gil (David Cross) to the Hamlet efficiency, is a show-only incidence. Station Eleven takes this new sequence as a possibility to discover Kirsten’s worries about abandonment by way of her conversations with Alex. It additionally emphasizes the significance of artwork and theater brings individuals in these darkish occasions.

New characters in Severn

A man speaks in front of a crowd.

How you can survive the apocalypse in an airport 101 Credit score: Ian Watson/HBO Max

Episode 5, “The Severn Metropolis Airport,” follows a gaggle of survivors residing in an airport by way of the early days of the pandemic. Amongst them are Arthur’s buddy Clark (David Wilmot) and second spouse Elizabeth, in addition to Arthur and Elizabeth’s son Tyler (Julian Alberto Garcia). The episode provides some new characters to this storyline, together with airport worker Miles (Milton Barnes), whose engineering expertise grow to be needed for preserving the airport group afloat. One other addition is a custodian posing as a homeland safety agent with the intention to acquire authority over different survivors. These two new characters are efficient methods of displaying how individuals react in a different way to the apocalypse, both serving to individuals or making the most of them.

The difficulty with Tyler

The Severn episode reveals that David the Prophet is definitely Tyler, Arthur Leander’s son. Within the ebook, Tyler turns into satisfied that the pandemic occurred for a cause, and he and Elizabeth go away the airport and start assembling a following. The present complicates issues fairly a bit, beginning with a probably contaminated passenger making it off a stranded aircraft. Tyler tries to assist him, however the man will get shot, and Tyler and Elizabeth find yourself in quarantine. His restricted belief of individuals rapidly devolves, till he fakes his demise by setting hearth to the stranded aircraft and pretending he is inside it.

This new departure drastically adjustments the course of Tyler’s story. He is headed out into the world to outlive alone, satisfied that his personal mom does not care about him. These ideas emphasize his connection to the comedian Station Eleven, which he makes use of as a prophecy within the current.

An sudden alliance

A group of disheveled children

Have a look at this lovable homicide cult. Credit score: Ian Watson/HBO Max

Station Eleven‘s sixth episode, “Survival is Inadequate,” is the place the present actually begins to diverge from Mandel’s novel. After the Prophet’s assault on Pingtree, Kirsten hunts him down. However as an alternative of killing him, she reluctantly joins up with him. She’ll get him into the Museum of Civilization. In return, he’ll go away the Touring Symphony alone. It is a large departure from the ebook, which sees the Prophet killed by certainly one of his cult members not lengthy after Kirsten meets him on the way in which to the Museum.

Whereas it is a huge distinction between the present and the ebook, Tyler and Kirsten’s alliance presents an enchanting alternative to discover the connection between two individuals, who’ve grown up in a post-pandemic world, and who really feel a deep private connection to Arthur Leander and the comedian ebook Station Eleven. It is a relationship we do not get to see a lot of in Mandel’s ebook. So, no matter comes subsequent is certain to be attention-grabbing.

The Touring Symphony on the Museum of Civilization

In “Survival is Inadequate,” we accompany the Touring Symphony to the Severn Airport, now referred to as the Museum of Civilization. Within the novel, they go there in the hunt for Charlie and Jeremy. Right here, they go as a result of they have been invited to carry out, and the orchestra is already there. Because the novel largely focuses on Kirsten’s perspective on this troupe, the Touring Symphony’s arrival is a brand new addition to the story. One other is the Conductor’s collapse as soon as she arrives. That is one thing that will get twisted to persuade Kirsten that the Museum is hurting her individuals.

Jeevan, Kirsten, and Frank

A man and a young girl sit at a table.

Frank and Kirsten by no means meet within the ebook, however they are a beautiful pairing within the present. Credit score: Ian Watson/HBO Max

From the Purple Bandana-induced hallucination to Kirsten’s play, principally everything of episode 7, “Goodbye My Broken House,” is a show-only creation. One of many solely similarities between the present and Mandel’s novel is that Frank dies. However the circumstances are very totally different within the ebook. Frank died by suicide as an alternative of being killed by an intruder. In each cases, his demise prompts Jeevan to depart. Within the present, it additionally gives Kirsten with the dagger she makes use of to guard herself afterward.

Regardless of its departure from its supply materials, “Goodbye My Broken House” is an extremely compelling episode. It pays off on the present’s largest preliminary change from the books: the pairing of Jeevan and Kirsten. We see how Jeevan and Frank battle to behave as caregivers whereas additionally caring for themselves, in addition to how Kirsten processes the pandemic by way of artwork like Station Eleven and her play — one thing she’s going to proceed to do when she joins the Touring Symphony. Pairing a hallucinating older Kirsten along with her youthful self as she explores her recollections is an efficient technique to exhibit simply how a lot these weeks with Frank and Jeevan formed her. As a lot because the Prophet insists that “there is no such thing as a earlier than,” this episode proves in any other case, displaying the affect the previous and the preliminary days of the pandemic proceed to have on the survivors.

We’ll replace this publish as extra episodes of Station Eleven stream on HBO Max and probably deviate farther from Mandel’s novel.

Station Eleven is now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes each week.