Why did Kubrick change the setting of 2001?

(spoiler alert for both movie and book)

If I recall correctly, the destination planet for the astronauts in 2001 the book was Saturn. This added an intriguing twist to the end of the movie: it’s realized that Saturn’s rings were deliberately created to highlight the planets, so that humans would know to look here for the monolith.

The movie has no such mention; the mission is to Jupiter, though no real explanation is given of why.

Am I remembering the book correctly? Anyone know why the change happened?

The short answer is that Kubrick couldn’t get the rings done convincingly enough for him, so he went with Jupiter.

On the IMDB trivia page:

This is what I’d always heard as well.

Thirded. It’s discussed at some length in the excellent The Making of 2001.

One of my favorite bits in that book are excerpts from various newspapers’ reviews of the movie; it points out that no two critics agreed on the name of the style of the decor and furniture in the bleak suite of rooms in which Dave Bowman “dies” at the end.


Well, yes. But virtually every movie critic quoted felt the need to say it was “French Provincial,” “Louis Quinze,” “Regency,” or the like. And none of them agreed with the others.

Why Jupiter is explained. The signal the monolith emitted when sunlight fell on it was directional, and pointed at Jupiter. The book has a section about it being picked up by space probes - of course directed to Saturn.

The book also mentions that the monolith is on Iapetus, a satellite of Saturn with different albedos on each side. In the book this was set up by the aliens, we’ve been there now and no stargate, alas.

I asked a similar question in a thread not too long ago because the book changed it suddenly from 2001 to 2010. By the end of the book, you realize the setting HAD to be Jupiter so the change is quite forgiveable…

Let’s not forget that the book was written after the movie.

I’d always assumed it was because they couldn’t convince Saturn to sign a release.

Kinda sorta not really.
It was published afterwards, but the short story (“The Sentinel”) that was the basis of both the novel and the movie was written before-hand, and the novel was developed and written concurrently with the movie.

As a side note, Clarke and William S. Burroughs were hanging together in NYC while Clarke was working on the novelization of the film.

Clarke has stated some contradictory information on this over the years. In the beginning he said the novel was written first, and was rather insistent on the point because of all the people who thought he did a novelization (which at the time was a low-class thing for a famous writer to do). Over time he backed off on the point somewhat.

His biography and autobiography made it quite clear that the novel was worked on during the time he and Kubrick were working on the script, and the planning, for the movie. The novel was complete long before the movie was, and Clarke was a bit miffed at not being allowed to get it published until the time the movie opened, since he was short on money. After the movie, money was no problem.

Agel has a page listing killings in 2001, and the last entry was Clarke. (He wouldn’t say how much he made, but he was happy.)

But wasn’t Burroughs too old for him? I think I was too old for him and I was only 14.

How about you shut up?

It couldn’t have been over that much time. His book The Lost Worlds of 2001 shows the changing novel through time as the work on the film progressed – and it was published (IIRC) in the mid 1970s, only a few years after the 1968 release of the film.

Novelizations may have been a low-class thing for a famous writer to do, I agree, but by 1968 both Isaac Asimov (Fantastic Voyage) and Ellery Queen (A Study in Terror) had done them, and probably others as well.

We’re lucky nobody takes the monolith up the wazoo, then.

I’m going by 40-year-old memories, to be sure, but at the time I was into fanzines and I vividly remember an article by Clarke in one in which he quite angrily stated that he had written the novel first. It was a big hoo-ha for a while.

If I also am remembering correctly, Asimov got a fair amount of shit for lending his name to the film. And A Study in Terror was ghosted by Paul Fairman during the Ellery Queen house name period when Manny Lee had writer’s block and didn’t write anything between 1958’s The Finishing Stroke and 1968’s The House of Brass. If Queen could put his name on the crappy paperbacks they were issuing getting some quick money for a novelization wasn’t beneath them.

I don’t believe that even with these few examples Clarke wanted to have people think he did just for the money.

Must you drag Rosie O’Donnell’s anatomy into everything???

::ducks & runs::