The Wicker Man: Biggest Differences Between The Original & Remake

The remake of The Wicker Man is largely faithful to the original, however there are big differences between the two films that make each one unique.

The Wicker Man: Biggest Differences Between The Original & Remake

The remake of is largely faithful to the plot of the original, however there are big differences between the two films that make each one unique. The critically-acclaimed 1978 original is a classic, which helped to define the sub-genre of folk horror and pave the way for films like . Although it did so with mixed results, the 2006 remake was an attempt to follow the plot of the original while adding some modern flourishes.

In the 1978 version of The Wicker Man, a religious police sergeant (Edward Woodward) investigates the disappearance of a missing girl on a remote island off the coast of England, after receiving an anonymous letter. As he interrogates the locals, he quickly discovers the island’s inhabitants to be followers of a pagan cult led by Lord Summerisle, played by horror icon Christopher Lee. They challenge the sergeant’s faith and lead him down a rabbit hole, ultimately dooming him to be sacrificially burned alive inside a giant wicker man, all so that the next year’s harvest of crops will be successful. The 2006 film, notably starring Nicolas Cage as the investigating police officer, is a remake that sticks fairly close to the plot above, while also trying to make “improvements” on elements from the original film.

Related: Wicker Man & Midsommar: All Connections Between Movies

The 2006 version of The Wicker Man features standard remake differences, such as name changes and the incorporation of modern conveniences. However, there are key changes when it comes to location and characters that drastically alter the mood of the entire story.

Perhaps the biggest difference between The Wicker Man remake and original was the relocation of the story to a remote island off the coast of the United States, in Washington state. While taking place off the English coast allowed the 1978 film to take advantage celtic occultism, the remake’s setting in the United States brings the history of the Salem Witch trials into the backstory. This detail ends up changing the whole origins of the pagan cult in the story, as well as their motivations for luring Cage's character onto the island.

Because of the difference in location, and subsequent change in the backstory, the pagan cult in the 2006 film is matriarchal. This resulted in another big difference from the original Wicker Man, which involved transforming the male Lord Summerisle into female Sister Summersisle. This character, played by Exorcist-actress Ellen Burstyn, is essentially the same as her male counterpart in the original, and even speaks some of the same dialogue. By giving the cult a female-oriented focus, this allowed for the creation of other subplots which expanded on elements in the original film. While the sergeant in the 1978 film is lured to the island anonymously and selected because of his devout faith, Cage's character is lured by his ex-fiance, and the missing girl turns out to be their daughter.

Remakes can be tricky territory. Some stick so closely to the original material that you wonder what the point of remaking it was at all. Others try to make improvements on elements from the original film, with mixed results. The remake of The Wicker Man falls in the middle when it comes to the story; it’s the tone that totally misses the mark of the original. However, regardless of the remake’s shortcomings, both versions have become cult classics in their own right, for vastly different reasons.

Next: How Wrath Of The Gods Would Have Ended The Wicker Man Trilogy

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The Expanse's New Villain Makes Season 5 The Most Exciting Yet

After a triumphant return on Amazon, The Expanse's upcoming fifth season looks set to be the show's best yet, largely thanks to a brand new villain.

The Expanse's New Villain Makes Season 5 The Most Exciting Yet

The Expanse season 5 has the potential to be the strongest run of the entire series. novels by James S.A. Corey had developed a strong following even before the story of James Holden and the Rocinante crew was turned into a live-action TV series, but The Expanse's popularity has increased exponentially since the show began. Though it may not currently bother the mainstream too much, The Expanse was saved from cancellation following its third season in part due to a hefty and passionate fan campaign. As a result, The Expanse season 4 streamed on Amazon and season 5 will soon follow suit.

Season 4 of The Expanse was generally well-received, with the usual blend of strong characterization, science fiction intrigue and political drama. However, there were also some notable improvements that came purely due to the switch from Syfy to Amazon. With looser restrictions on language, characters could better express themselves, and there was a noticeable uptick in terms of visuals. In terms of story,  season 4 felt far less rushed than the previous season, with the certainty over the show's future clearly playing a part in that. Nevertheless, some viewers did criticize The Expanse's fourth season for a slower pace. Others might argue this was a strength rather than a drawback, but whatever the case, season 4's action was set primarily on a single planet.

Related: The Expanse: Amos' Real Name (& Why He Isn't A Sociopath)

Fortunately, The Expanse season 5 should offer the best of both worlds. On one hand, all the advantages that come from being on Amazon Prime will still be in effect, but where season 4 was based on Cibola Burn, and therefore set firmly on Ilus, season 5 is likely to use Nemesis Games as its foundation. Not only is this book considered one of the strongest in The Expanse's canon, but the story takes place across the solar system, with the Rocinante crew splitting up to take care of their own business before reuniting in the face of a major new villain. Consequently, The Expanse season 5 will likely mix the show's new and improved streaming service style with the more space-faring, expansive stories of earlier seasons.

Another reason The Expanse season 5 could be a belter is the addition of that aforementioned big villain. Marco Inaros loomed in The Expanse's shadows in season 4, only coming to the fore in the finale episode, and this sets him up nicely as the big bad of season 5. The Expanse has featured numerous villains before, but Inaros is a more unique, intense and personal adversary. Murtry was a localized military thug that clashed with the show's protagonists, Ashford redeemed himself, the likes of Errinwright and Mao were more political villains, and the protomolecule is an amoral alien threat. Inaros, on the other hand, is a political revolutionary with powerful unknown backing and a magnetism to rival James Holden's. He's already dealt a crippling blow to Earth and intends to damage the Inners further in season 5. As a captain of the Free Navy, Inaros represents an exciting new threat to the Rocinante crew - one that leads from the front rather than manipulating from the shadows.

Perhaps more importantly, Inaros has a direct link to Holden's crew. While previous villains have usually seen the Roci as a hindrance or a scapegoat, Marco is Naomi's former lover and the pair's child currently stands by his father's side as part of the Free Navy. Whereas the crew so often try not to get involved, Naomi's connection to Marco Inaros is sure to fire up Holden and his team. Exes can be troublesome enough, but when one of them is a violent revolutionary, Holden's struggle for peace in the Sol system is sure to take on a harder edge.

While many viewers enjoyed  season 4's tighter focus and slow-burn style, the measured pace perhaps wasn't to everyone's taste. With more diverse material and the show's best villain tying everything together, The Expanse season 5 should please fans across the board, and perhaps even attract a new audience who can go back and binge the journey so far.

More: Why The Expanse Was Cancelled (& Why Amazon Saved It)

The Expanse season 5 is currently without a release date.

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