A Wrinkle in Time was one of my absolute favorite books as a child. It was one of the earliest books I can remember reading, and I devoured all the books in the series before I ever knew that such a thing as “fanfiction” existed. (Nine-year-old me wrote some stories about protagonist Meg Murry’s brothers, the twins Sandy and Dennys Murry—good thing I’ve since lost them!) After I got busy with college and post-college life, though, I mostly forgot about these books, which is why it was such a delight when the trailer for the new adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time burst onto the scene this weekend.
For a quick refresher, A Wrinkle in Time is about Meg Murry, a young girl whose scientist father, Dr. Alexander Murry, went missing nearly five years ago. She, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe go on an interstellar journey to find him, and that’s precisely what we see in this first trailer. Everything about it looks fantastic. Judging by the trailer, director Ava DuVernay has done an excellent job adapting the tone of the story, capturing both the wonder and the creepy otherworldliness of the planets which the children visit.
The other thing DuVernay did a great job with is, of course, the casting, which even now is stirring up racist diatribes online. In this movie, the Murrys are an interracial family, with Chris Pine playing Hot Scruffy Dad Alexander Murry, a fact which made at least half this blog collapse ecstatically onto their collective fainting couches. But it should go without saying that the uproar over the diverse casting is ridiculous; regardless of what race the Meg Murry of the books was, her problems—being a loner at school, agonizing over her glasses and braces—are things that most children can relate to. Furthermore, casting Meg as a Black protagonist means far more in a world where we’re getting more and more female sci-fi protagonists who are white, as in Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Mad Max: Fury Road, and even the new Doctor Who (congrats to Jodie Whittaker, by the way!). Meg is awkward, fiercely protective, great at math, and bad at social interaction—she’ll be a fantastic addition to our cultural collection of science fiction protagonists.
But A Wrinkle in Time’s diversity doesn’t stop there. Meg and the children are guided along their journey by three guardian angels, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, who will be played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey respectively. So not only will the children be watched over by three women, there will be two women of color among them. I only hope that I’ll be able to stop seeing “Oprah Winfrey” when I watch the movie; though Witherspoon’s and Kaling’s outfits and makeup rendered them unrecognizable to me, I couldn’t stop seeing Oprah as TV personality Oprah, and that really threw me out of the trailer.
Trailers being what they are, there wasn’t enough time to highlight all the characters that I wanted to see. Yes, Alex Murry was criminally scruffy, but I wanted more than a glimpse of Meg’s mother, Nobel laureate Dr. Kate Murry, who’s played by the incredible Gugu Mbatha-Raw (you may recognize her from her own stint in Doctor Who as Martha Jones’s sister, or as the titular Belle in award-winning period drama Belle). And Meg’s brother, Charles Wallace, who is just as important to the plot in his own way, was barely in this trailer either. I’m also curious to see how the movie will adapt the more Christian themes of the books, particularly if this movie takes off and it turns into a series. Madeleine L’Engle took a lot of inspiration from authors like C.S. Lewis, and it shows in the situations that she put her characters into. (If a biracial Sandy and Dennys go back in time to Noah’s Ark in a future movie, I’ll just have to leave the internet to escape the comments, probably.)
A Wrinkle in Time will be out in March of next year! I know I’ll be eagerly waiting for it to hit theaters. Let me know if you’ll be watching it as well!