When The Incredibles ended we witnessed the Underminer bursting through the ground and uttering his famous words, “I am always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me.” Although the new film, Incredibles 2, picks up right where we left our favorite super-family, where are we now and where do we go from here?
At our recent trip to Pixar Animation Studios to cover all things Incredibles 2, we learned about all sorts of fun facts, new characters and interviewed artists from the production, animation, effects, and story teams (among many more). We even talked with writer/director, Brad Bird and producers, Nicole Paradis Grindle and John Walker. The great news is that in our interview, we included the full conversation with the trio in episode 59 of the Pixar Post Podcast.
Before you listen though, let’s share some insights into the film. It should be noted that any of our posts discussing Incredibles 2 may contain spoilers as the film won’t hit theaters until June 15, 2018. That being said, we don’t feel any of the details below give away too much about the film, but there are additional story points revealed.
ABOUT THE FILM
In Incredibles 2, “Helen is called on to lead a campaign to rebuild the supers’ reputation, while Bob navigates the day-to-day heroics of ‘normal’ life at home with Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack — whose superpowers are about to be discovered by his family.
Brad Bird knew for a long time that Helen would step into the spotlight in the film. In our interview, he noted that two ideas formed right after the first film wrapped — the idea of a role swap between Mr. & Mrs. Incredible and exploring Jack-Jack’s powers. Brad was intrigued at how Bob would handle Helen taking a lead role and how his parenting duties would be tested.
“Bob isn’t a bad dad,” says Grindle. “He’s a little over-confident at first. He thinks, ‘I’m Mr. Incredible, I’ve got this.’ But I think any parent can relate to the idea that kids can wear you down. Add to that a toddler — they want what they want, and they do like hearing ‘no.’ Jack-Jack is no different, except when he gets mad, he bursts into flames.”
The film introduces a new villain with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. “This villain is different,” says Walker. “Helen has her work cut out for her to stop a villain who can manipulate people from a distance. And, if Helen fails, her mission to bring back supers fails. A lot is at stake.”
According to Bird, the story strives to strike a balance between the adventure and more ordinary aspects of family life. “It’s a dance between the mundane and the fantastic,” he says. “That’s what makes the idea work.”
“Helen might take a call in the middle of battling the bad guys to help her kid find his shoes,” continues Bird. “Or, Violet might use her power of invisibility when she is feeling totally humiliated. Audiences see that and thank, ‘Yeah, I’d do that too.'”
Bird continues, “The government shuts down the program that protects supers and provides them with housing and jobs. So, Helen and Bob are faced with a real-life dilemma. ‘What’s next? How will we pay the bills and provide for our family?’ They’re just like the rest of us.”
Fortunately, opportunity knocks. Siblings Winston and Evelyn Deavor are huge fans of the Supers and are starting a campaign to improve the public image of supers and ultimately bring them back. Says producer John Walker, “Evelyn does a cost-benefit analysis and finds that Helen tends to solve crimes with far less damage than Bob — so, they choose Helen for the job.”
BEHIND THE SCENES
During our interview, Brad noted that the Incredibles family superpowers were created by mirroring their traditional roles.
- Mr. Incredible / Bob — Fathers are supposed to be strong and support the family, so his power was super-strength.
- Mrs. Incredible / Helen — Mothers have to hold everything together while they’re pulled in many directions, so her power was the ability to stretch and bend as needed.
- Violet — Teens can be shy and defensive, so he made Violet be able to disappear and use force fields to keep people out.
- Dash — 10 year-olds are balls of energy, so, Dash is fast and hard to slow down.
- Jack-Jack — Babies are everything since their futures are unknown, and in Jack-Jack’s case, he really may be everything.
In addition to the characters themselves, Matt Nolte, the character art director on Incredibles 2, also noted that 14 years of technology advances allowed them to create the look of the characters that they originally intended back in the early 2000s.
Throughout our two-day visit to the studio, we enjoyed learning about many of the film’s fun facts — a few are included below (more to come).
- In an earlier version of the film, Edna was holding a fashion show that Jack-Jack kept interrupting. As comedic as this scene was, it was cut. Hopefully, we’ll see a storyboard version of this along with the in-home release.
- In the team’s efforts to cut time out, Ralph Eggleston (Production Designer) didn’t have time to create color scripts for the entire film (as is typical for Pixar releases). A sample color script is below.
- You may have seen a raccoon in a few of the film’s advertisements and toys — this character (and interaction with Jack-Jack) was actually an idea Brad had for the first film but was cut since much of it wasn’t technically possible in at the time.
- Evelyn Deavor has a chessboard in her office with pieces already arranged as if a game was in progress. Those pieces are supposedly arranged to mirror chess master, Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne’s “Game of the Century” match.
- Evelyn’s character model wasn’t created until another super, named Shellac, was cut from the film — we presume she would have used some kind of resin coating to encase criminals.
- Many of the film’s businesses and products are named after employees. For example, Domee’s Deli is named for Domee Shi (Bao director), or Fucile’s Bar & Grill was named after Supervising Animator, Tony Fucile. (Check out more names in the image below.)
Check out our next posts about the wannabe supers and our interview with Brad Bird using the Related Posts links below. Additionally, chat about Incredibles 2 with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum dedicated to the film.