Fox officially called Saphira’s wings “sceathers,” feathered tail, and hairy mane

The Eragon movie is as good as dead and buried. (“What Eragon movie? There was no Eragon movie.” – most Inheritance Cycle fans.) However, we’ve never stopped digging for gems in the mud, many of which we’ve found and shared, including some good deleted scenes that should’ve made it in (Katrina, for example) and some that definitely should’ve been scrapped entirely (Eragon milking a cow). In this case, we’re highlighting another monumental mistake.

The Eragon movie was controversial with fans from the get-go, starting with the first leak of “Urgal” photos from the film’s Hungary set, shortly followed by the first teaser trailer. Reality didn’t truly hit until we saw the first full-length trailer, and that’s when we really knew what we were in for. An onslaught of bizarre marketing materials (one of which is the subject of this article) only added fuel to the fire.

A few months prior to the film’s release, we received an official marketing shot of a “blueprint” of Saphira, labeled and filled with explanation of the CGI dragon’s various features. Among those was an explanation of one of the film’s biggest controversies: Saphira’s wings being made of feathers. Sceathers.


Saphira’s feather-filled wings didn’t go over well with fans. Dragons don’t have feathers! Dragons have scales. This is universal knowledge. This is feather-free fantasy fact.

So why does she have feathered wings?

Well, it turns out they weren’t feathers after all. They were a “scale and feather hybrid providing lift and strength to the wing” and are “made from plated scales,” whatever that means – “sceathers” for short (their word, not ours). It gets worse: “Wing feathers spread during glides. Added flutter for wind dynamics.” A dragon is not an eagle (or any bird, for that matter). Saphira – the true Saphira – would not be happy right now!

Other Bizarre Features

Equally bizarre: the blueprint points out Saphira’s “feathered tail” (???). As if that and sceathers weren’t enough, the team also included (and happily labeled) the following features:

  • Feathers on the tip of the tail “for in flight stability”
  • Saphira goes into “Delta wing formation”
  • Two large inward-facing horns are “for ramming” (how?)
  • Her feathered mane (???) length displays Saphira’s age (imagine the length of Shruikan’s feathered mane?!)

There’s even more. You can view the full blueprint for yourself:

In Conclusion…

The way this blueprint was composed seems to indicate that they wanted to offer a detailed scientific explanation for why dragons can fly. We’d understand this philosophy if they were trying to fit the creature within our world. But they weren’t. They were creating a dragon for a fantasy world, where you can kill people with your mind, light your sword on fire by speaking a word, and do so much more – all of which is perfectly implausible with no basis in science or fact. And that’s okay, because it’s fantasy!

With this in mind, is it really much of a leap to go with the “every other dragon in existence is this way, including the ones in the book you’re adapting, so stick with it” option? No logic needed – dragons can fly because magic!

On a serious note, bizarre and needless changes/additions like these, however big or small, came together to form the disaster that was the Eragon movie. Had those behind the film respected the source material more, we’d never have been stuck with sceathers, WWE Urgal wrestlers, the nightmare that was Angela the Blinged-Out Herbalist, and countless other travesties.

There’s still hope that we’ll see the series rebooted. Stay tuned!

What can we do to help get a reboot? Let Fox’s new CEO/chairman Stacey Snider know how much we want to see Eragon’s adventures come to life! Write to her at [email protected]. Every fan’s voice counts!

  • Mary-Beth Featherwolf Wheelock

    Honestly, a feathered dragon isn’t a new concept and one of the choices they made I actually liked.

  • Ash McQueen

    Killing the ra’zac so soon was the first of many disappointments with the film, ruined it.

    • Ebrithil

      And they killed Sloan at the very beginning! The one person who makes the people of Carvahall leave and join Vardens AND who makes Eragon grow as a human(?) being (even though he does not mean it).

  • Jessica Marie

    I walked out of the movie without finishing it. The opening scene pissed me off cause arya didn’t have raven hair. Them prematurely showing the king’s face pissed me off(even though John Malkovich was PERFECT for the part), but when eragon threw saphira up in the air and she magically grew to her full size in a few seconds, I threw my hands up in the air and cried “done!”

    I want to see a remake of eragon and the last Airbender. I hated both the live action movies equally and have been dying for somebody to redeem them

  • Alex Waters

    > No logic needed – dragons can fly because magic!

    I hate this explanation when it’s used in anything. Regardless of fantasy, physics still exists.

    If everyone hovered two inches off the ground forever, is that “because magic”? No, it would be ridiculous. If Eragon and Saphira had kept flying upwards and hit space, could they have breathed naturally “because magic”? No. No, they could not have.

    • Once you start getting into the nitty gritty, you’ve got a tough one – how can you explain away half the stuff in the series? Nitpicking how a dragon flies and requiring that method to be freaking feathers is ridiculous. I don’t know, to me it’s a non-issue because it’s a non-issue in the sense that it doesn’t impact the plot and honestly, it’s something fantasy readers have accepted because it’s just that way. When I read fantasy, I suspend disbelief with stuff like that.

      • Alex Waters

        I’ll admit, there’s always a requirement for suspension of disbelief for anything fantasy, but there’s always a line too. Yes, I agree that specifying what must make up a dragon for it to fly is unnecessary (scales, feathers, the willpower of the Dark Lord drawn from the depths of the Crystal Maze that only the One True Witch can barter with, etc.), but giving an explanation on how it can fly is acceptable.

    • Keith Kunze

      I hate it when they don’t explain stuff too. Then if I complain about it then someone goes “There’s talking dragons. And you’re complaining about it not being realistic” Blech.

    • Well if you need an explanation of how dragons fly:

      Within a Dragon there are these things called air sacs that serve two purposes. One they help the Dragon to breath fire two they act like a hot air balloon and make the Dragon lighter which helps them fly.

      So a Dragon does not need feathers.

    • Felipe Augusto

      in on of the the books, there’s a part where Glaedr explains magic flows naturaly on a dragon’s body, it’s an innerent part of them, and that’s how they breath fire AND FLY, but struggle to use it at their own will!

    • Reginald

      I feel exactly the same way. Logic is absolutely mandatory… even in fantasy stories. However, it‘s not about „realism“ per se, but much rather about „authenticity“. Magic CAN in fact explain everything, if the Magic itself follows it‘s own rules and is set up „believable“ as a whole (which is by the way done through logic).

      That’s what we truly desire in a fantasy story 🙂

  • Monica

    It’s easy to agree that this design did not work for Saphira especially since she was clearly described in the books.
    But I’ve always wanted to say I really did enjoy this design if separated from the movie. Sceathers do not fit in the Inheritance universe but it is a nice idea for a fantasy setting.

    • The CGI was definitely impressive and if I felt less possessive of a property, I would probably have found her to be a very unique and stunning dragon.

      • Monica

        I remember feeling so torn when the movie was released. There were so many pieces that could have worked and some that didn’t belong. Definitely all the more reason for a reboot!

        • Imagine sitting with the people who made the movie at the world premiere and immediately being asked afterward by the director what I thought about the movie. And I wasn’t torn, I hated it. That was a fun conversation to navigate my way through (and especially difficult because I was only 18 at the time, so very easily intimidated!).

          • Hannah Wermuth

            Wow! That would be a difficult question to answer just then…I can still barely contain myself when the topic comes up!

        • Alex Waters

          It could have been considered a great movie if it was a standalone, if it wasn’t based on anything. As an adaptation… no.

          • Steve Gedye

            I saw the movie first and really enjoyed it..then i got the books and now find the movie not as good as it was… i like most of the casting except Arya and the Varden. But the script writting is also lacking in parts

          • Alex Waters

            The one good casting of the movie was always Brom IMO.