The Mysterious Benedict Society: 9 Changes From The Books

The Disney Plus series and book version of The Mysterious Benedict Society sticks to the same plot, but there are some differences between the two adaptions. Turning a novel into a series or film comes with the expectation from readers and viewers that the adaptions are going to be as similar as possible. When changes are made, whether small or large, it’s usually to expand on or shorten scenarios that make it easy for viewers to follow along with. These changes are easy to decipher for those who have read the novel and know what to look for. The differences can range from personality changes of some characters, character backstory discrepancies, and character relationship differences and those that have read the novels are aware of these major changes in a series or film.

The Mysterious Benedict Society has gained a lot of success since its debut and has proven to be one of the best Disney+ Original Series to come out on the platform in 2021, earning itself a second season on the streaming giant. However, there are some major changes in the series from the novel that makes it hard not to notice and point out.

Adult Focused Plot

With The Mysterious Benedict Society’s main focus being the kids and their quest to save the world, there were a lot of adult backstories and situations happening throughout the series. From Milligan’s backstory, Rhonda’s secret missions of justice, and other involvements from the adults of the show, their roles seemed to be expanded upon from the novel.

In the novel, Rhonda was mentioned here and there but was rarely seen and this is the case for others. The novel’s plot was essentially centered on the children and their journey at The Institute to stop Curtain, yet, there was an equal balance of adult involvement and the kids in the series.

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Mr. Curtain Is More Charismatic

Tony Hale in The Mysterious Benedict Society.

LD Curtain or Ledroptha Curtain as in the books is a scheming mastermind and the main antagonist in the novel and series. Although his character in both adaptions is a genius that uses his smarts for evil, there were some changes made to his character in the series.

In the novel, Curtain uses a wheelchair to hide his narcolepsy, which is not mentioned very much in the series and he also wears black reflective glasses. He’s good at hiding his flaws, which seem to be nonexistent in the series with Curtain having no use for a wheelchair or his infamous black sunglasses. He is very charming and easily manipulative to those around him and this alone should make him one of the best villains from a Disney+ show. In contrast to the series, Curtain doesn’t have any of this charisma that makes people want to be around him in the novel.

Constance Contraire Is More Independent

Constance stands amongst the other students in The Mysterious Benedict Society

Bratty and not the most likable of the group, Constance Contraire has a very unique personality. In The Mysterious Benedict Society, fans are introduced to a young girl that speaks her mind without a care in the world of how others feel. Her insults, sarcastic intelligence, and abilities make Constance one of the best characters in the series.

In the novel, Constance is around three years old when Benedict recruits her to go undercover at The Institute, however, this is not the case in the series. Her age is significantly changed and exaggerated to 7-years-old in the series, making her closer in age to Reynie, Kate, and Sticky. As well as her age, Constance’s dependence on others was nonexistent. In the series, Constance is independent and superior in ability to her peers, which is a jump from the novel’s version of her needing to be carried around and the group constantly having to explain things to her.

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S.Q. Pendalian Is Mr. Curtain’s Son

SQ Pendalian sitting and drawing

In the Disney+ series, viewers are introduced to SQ Pendalian, the sheltered and lonesome adoptive son of LD Curtain. He is portrayed as kind-hearted in the series, with a passion for drawing. His relationship with Curtain in the series is one of a son looking to gain approval from his father and humanizes Curtain in that aspect.

The character portrayal of S.Q. differentiates between the series adaptation and the novel. In the novel, S.Q. is not the son of Curtain but one of his loyal Executives and personal assistant.

Mr. Benedict Puts The Kids In Harm’s Way

Tony Hale Mysterious Benedict Society

Mr. Benedict is the smart and eccentric benefactor responsible for the recruitment of the exceptional minds that is Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance. However, his wisdom and knowledge seem fleeting, and his overall goal to stop his brother seems to come above the kids at some points in the series.

In episode 4 of the series, Benedict suggests to the kids that Kate and Constance cheat in class to avoid expulsion and maintain their covers. His character in the novel would not have suggested this with the kid’s safety and innocence being his number one priority.

Kate’s Almost Expulsion

Kate saying goodbye to the group outside after expulsion

Kate’s character is an essential part of The Mysterious Benedict Society crew, so the threat of her leaving early in the series would have gone against the novel in this aspect.

In episode 4 of the series, Kate Wetherall faced expulsion because of her low testing grades, essentially being kicked out of The Institute. Although she was saved because of Martina and tetherball, this shouldn’t have been the case to begin with. In the novel, Kate never faced being kicked out of the school and was pretty smart and skillfully competent inside and outside of the classroom.

Friendship Between Martina And Kate

Kate stands in her new room in The Mysterious Benedict Society

Martina and Kate’s dislike of each other in the show is something fans of the novel were expecting to see. Although they start as rivals at the beginning of the series, the pair are enemies who become friends on the show.

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With this newfound friendship, Martina and the tetherball team even come to Kate’s rescue by the end of the series. This is a huge change from the novel’s version of Kate and Martina hating each other and fighting on opposite sides of good vs evil.

Rhonda And Number Two

Rhonda And Number Two

Two smart and intelligent women who can hold their own, Rhonda and Number Two play an essential part in the life of not only Mr. Benedict, but also Reynie, Kate, Constance, and Sticky. They each possess traits that make them formidable women in the series.

However, their relation to each other in the series is one of the biggest changes from the book. In the novel, they are the close adopted daughters of Mr. Benedict, however, this is not the case in the series. Rhonda is just another agent while Number Two is the assistant and right-hand to Benedict, diminishing their essential relationship in the novel as sisters, and not strangers.

Relationship Between Mr. Curtain and Mr. Benedict

Tony Hale as Mr. Benedict in The Mysterious Benedict Society

A relationship boiled down to two feuding brothers in the series, Curtain and Benedict’s relationship and backstory portrayed in the show deviates from the novel a little. In the series, viewers are presented with the backstory of two 12-year-old brothers separated when one becomes adopted from an orphanage and the other does not.

In the series, Benedict’s knowledge of Curtain before adulthood and their time in the orphanage together is a huge change to the character development of both the brothers. In the novel, Benedict and Curtain were separated just after birth and their parent’s death, which the mere notion of the two being raised in an orphanage until the age of twelve is not mentioned anywhere in the novel, making it a change made for the series.

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