8 Differences Between The ‘Wayward Pines’ Book And TV Series

Liane Hentscher/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

Adapting a TV series from a book can be tricky…to be honest adapting anything from a book can be tricky, but Wayward Pines took great measures to ensure the jump from page to screen would be successful. Of course the transition can’t be entirely seamless as many changes have to be made to ensure a full run can be plotted out and the pacing is just right. As the Fox series gets ready to end this week, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of those differences and see how producers changed the book to fit the medium. Here are 8 differences between the Wayward Pines book and series.

Disclaimer: Just a reminder, spoilers ahead.

8. The Year

Okay…if you are reading this, you either know the story’s big twist or want to learn about it before watching/reading, so let’s jump right in and talk about that time jump.

Just like in the book, the series takes places decades upon decades upon decades later in time after Earth’s inhabitants have pretty much killed themselves off. Yet the series sends us way way way further in time. In the series, Ethan (Matt Dillon) ends up “awakening” in 4028, but in the books it is somewhere around the year 3800.

So where did producers pick 4028 from? Simple… 2014 + 2014 = 4028. Kind of fun right? In addition, the date of “awakenings” changes for select characters…most specifically for Ethan’s family who are brought out of sleep-mode many years earlier than Ethan.

Source: Fox

7. The Betrayal

“Do not discuss your life before Wayward Pines.”

That is one of the rules that people of Wayward Pines live by and what ultimately leads to Beverly’s (Juliette Lewis) death. In the series, Ethan and Beverly have dinner with Kate (Carla Gugino) and Harold (Reed Diamond) the night of their planned escape. After Beverly freaks out and goes into her past, Kate and Harold realize she’s a loose cannon and probably planning a escape, so they do the neighborly thing in Wayward Pines and turn her into the authorities (yep, nice bunch).

Yet in the books the dinner party from hell never actually happens, though the same endgame plays out when Beverly and Ethan’s escape plan is thwarted and readers get their first taste of what happens when someone breaks the rules. And the “reckonings” are just as brutal, but they are called “fetes” in the book. Seriously if you want a laugh look up what a “fete” actually is…talk about dark humor.

Liane Hentscher/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

6. Ethan’s Family Arrival

Ethan’s family is what drives him to escape from Wayward Pines in the first place and they play a key role in the plot overall. Yet in addition to when they arrive in the enclosed city…how they arrive is also different in the two versions.

In the series, Ethan’s wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) and son Ben (Charlie Tahan) go looking for Ethan after he vanishes. The pair basically becomes their own version of Sherlock Holmes and Watson before ultimately having the mystery solved for them courtesy of Sheriff Pope (Terrence Pope) who tampers with their car leading to their “accident.” Yet in the book, the pair don’t go exploring to find Ethan…instead David Pilcher (Toby Jones) finds Theresa and asks her if she wants to see Ethan. Yet when she rebukes his offer, Pilcher stops playing Mr. (Creepy) Nice Guy and takes them against their will.

Ed Araquel/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

5. Sheriff Burke

Ethan was always meant to be Sheriff (it was why he was “awakened” after all in the series), but the journey of how he came to his position is different. In the series, Ethan dispatches the former Sheriff in grand dramatic fashion and by the weird laws of the town ascends to the position without really being given a say in the matter.

Yet in the books, Ethan is only named Sheriff after learning about the true history of Wayward Pines and its shocking origins. This comes AFTER Ethan tries to escape and BEFORE he learns his family is in the town as well. The timeline gets a little wonky there, but you understand why the series made the switches. The other interesting swerve is, while in the series Ethan is always opposed to the “fetes,” he actually lets the first one occur in the books.

Liane Hentscher/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

4. The Abbies

Beyond the walls lay some of the creepiest nightmare inducing creatures you’d never hope to meet…yet the Abbies themselves are way freakier in the book than the series.

In the series, the Abbies appear similar to what Gollum from The Lord of the Rings would probably look like if he was older and taller…the books paint a more bizarre picture. Yes, they are descendants of humans BUT they travel on all fours and are not anywhere near as scrawny and are translucent. Imagine seeing their hearts beating under their skin…yes again, a whole new level of creepy.

Side note: The Abbies on the show are not fully computer generated; they are actually heavily made up actors enhanced on-screen with CGI. This was a conscious decision by producers to make them look more human since that’s where they originated.

Source: Fox

3. The First Generation

The series promised viewers answers in episode five and, to its credit, it delivered it in a brilliantly constructed episode. Yet the book doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on the First Generation, at least not to start.

The reader is introduced to the secret of Wayward Pines through David Pincher’s explanation to Ethan, whereas viewers learn about it through “orientation” day at Ben’s school. Yet in the books, the school is never described first hand until much later on and remains a secretive part of the story. According to producers, Ben and his schoolmates also play a bigger role leading up to the series’ endgame, but both versions do end the same…the path taken to get there is somewhat different.

Liane Hentscher/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

2. Pope Lives… For A Little Longer At Least

Power mad Sheriff Pope met an early end on the series after learning the hard way when Ethan Burke says he will do anything to protect his family…he means it! Viewers will remember Pope’s demise comes after he corners the Burke family near the enclosed gate of the town and both Ethan and his son Ben take measures into their own hands.

Although in the books, that scene doesn’t actually happen and Pope is killed by Abbies. Remember that scene in the series where David Pilcher brings a helicopter to rescue Ethan from outside the walls? Well in the books, it’s not his sister Pam (Melissa Leo) that accompanies him…it is Pope and Pilcher leaves him behind on purpose. Again Ethan always ends up as Sheriff in both versions, but the road there is definitely more twisty and turny in the novel and it gives readers an earlier sense that Pilcher’s even more calculating than first thought.

Ed Araquel/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

1. The Great Escape

Here’s the biggest twist in the kaleidoscope and it is actually is pulled from portions of all the other changes.

Ethan’s great escape that leads to him learning the truth behind Wayward Pines occurs in the series after he is reunited with Theresa and Ben. Yet in the books…not so, it’s MUCH more in depth than just that!

Let’s go back to Beverly’s death as that’s where the narrative really shifts. Following Bev and Ethan’s failed escape, the pair do become separated and Sheriff Pope “reckons” the one-time waitress. Yet instead of Ethan being magically forgiven and given another chance, he’s marked for death himself and immediately takes off. He then scales the wall, escapes and gets into a bigger fight with the Abbies than we see on air. This all leads to him ending up in a complex near the town, which is where he ultimately discovers the devastation that takes places outside of Wayward Pines electric walls.

Liane Hentscher/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

Jack Grant