Catch a Falling Star and Chain it With a Magic Rope: Stardust Book to Film

If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman. I love all of his stories and have almost every single one of his published books. I was only introduced to him just a few years ago, but man am I glad I was. Now it seems like he’s been part of my literary life forever simply because of the impact he has had on me.

book to film neil gaiman

Because of my absolute love of Mr. Gaiman’s works, I decided that my next Twice Upon a Time for All the Tales should be on his book to film adaptation, Stardust.

A Brief Summary of the Story:

A young man ventures from his town in England called Wall into the land of Faerie. He meets a woman, they “spend time” together, and 9 months later, a baby is left on his doorstep.

Tristran, the baby now all grown up, is a bit of an awkward fellow and falls in love with a girl in his town. She isn’t all that impressed by him, but she still talks to him and such. One night, they see a shooting star, and she tells him that she will marry him if he brings her back the star.

Stardust Book to Film Adaptation Neil Gaiman

So, he heads out on a journey through the hole in the wall into faerie, meets the star, meets witches, unicorns, pirates, and more, and just has a rather exciting time.

Stardust Book to Film Adaptation Neil Gaiman

Now that you have a brief summary, you can either go read it, watch it on Netflix, or read the differences. Be warned, there are spoilers for the book and film! (PS a note on the spelling: In the book, the main character’s name is Tristran; in the movie, it is Tristan.)

1. The People of Wall and Faerie Meet at a Festival Once a Year

Wall is still a unique town in that they do meet up with the people of Faerie once a year. There is a festival that is held right outside the wall, and it is only then that the inhabitants of Wall are allowed to cross through the gap.

The rest of the year, people from Faerie and Wall never cross that gap. However, when it comes to the movie, we are told that no one from the village of Wall is allowed through at any time. So when Dunstan and Tristran go to cross it, both are held back. And both find ways to get through the wall.

It does add a sense of more adventure when people have to trick their way through something, doesn’t it?

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2. Victoria Isn’t All that Awful

When you sit down to watch Stardust, you meet Victoria and you instantly hate her. She is rude to Tristran and is really shallow. However, in the book, Victoria is pretty decent, even if she doesn’t “like” Tristran. In fact, her character is a little flat, which is rare for a Neil Gaiman book.

At the end of the book, she is willing to uphold her end of their agreement since he brought stardust with him, but she isn’t happy about it. Why? Not because she hates Tristran, but because she is in love with someone, but her word is her word.

Tristran assures her that he is in love with another as well, and they part ways amicably. In the movie, Victoria is more than willing to “change” her mind about Tristran, and she ends up being embarrassed by the fact that he no longer wants to be with her.

3. It Takes More of a Journey to the Star Complete with a Faerie Sidekick

In the film, Tristran has a candle that can take him directly to his mom in Faerie. However, he uses it to find the star immediately because that’s what he’d rather do.

In the book, Tristran actually journeys to the star, which takes quite a bit of time. He eventually gets the Babylon Candle later on.

His journeys through Faerie are rife with adventure, and he has a humorous, sarcastic Faerie sidekick who comes along for most of the journey. The sidekick also helps him look like he actually fits in at Faerie, instead of walking around in his Outsiders clothing.

After he journeys for a bit and eventually finds his way to the star, he captures her and that’s that.

Stardust Book to Film Adaptation

4. Una ISN’T the Nicest Person

When we meet Una, she seems quite interesting, doesn’t she? And, you might even find yourself thinking she can be pretty nice. Well, in the movie, she definitely is and she is completely happy with the way things turned out for Tristran and Yvaine (the star). We see her all smiling and being generally happy in the end.

However, in the book, she isn’t really all that nice. And while she seems mostly ok with Yvaine, she isn’t happy with the outcome. We find out that Tristran is next in line to take the throne in Stormhold, and naturally his mother wants him to take up his Lordly duties when he is crowned.

He and Yvaine decide that palace life isn’t for them, so they continue traveling throughout Faerie and just having a lot of fun together. Una is pretty angry about that and really wants her son to come back and rule his land. But, he keeps leaving her in charge.

She does do great things in charge of Stormhold, but she continues to hold a grudge that Tristran is off on so many adventures.

5. The Star Can Never Go Home

At the end of the movie, we hear about how Tristran and Yvaine live happily ever after with pretty long lives. Everyone is kind of shocked by this, but they’re also totally ok with it. One day, Tristran and Yvaine decide that it is time to leave earth and head back to the star’s home in the sky by using a Babylon Candle.

However, the star can’t actually go home. That is one of the things that makes the star very sad and angry when she falls from the sky. Not that she broke her leg, but that some idiot made her fall, which meant that now she was stuck on boring old Earth. This dulls her shiny star nature, but she becomes happy and shiny once again.

Stardust Book to Film Adaptation Neil Gaiman

She and Tristran do live happily ever after in the book, so at least that part is correct.

Lydia Circle BG LabelWhat Are Some Changes That You Noticed in Stardust?


  • I saw the film first and was really surprised by all the differences when I read the book. It felt like the movie was trying to be more Princess Bride-y in tone–which is fine but different. I actually need to read the book again. I’ve seen the movie so many times that everything has just started blending together in my mind. I love Neil Gaiman’s books too so that really won’t be a problem. :)