Hilarious, Fiery, Adventurous: Exploring Jack-Jack’s Many Powers in ‘Incredibles 2’ (Including His Raccoon Issues)

In Incredibles 2 Jack-Jack has many powers, but how did he get those powers? Learn more in our post as we interviewed Pixar’s effects artists.
Incredibles 2 Jack Jack Turns to Fire

If you’ve seen Incredibles 2, you know that Jack-Jack is an absolute scene-stealer. If you haven’t seen it yet, get ready you’re in for some major laughs surrounding the shape-shifting baby. (Note that this article contains spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.)

Incredibles 2 has smashed records at the box office during its opening weekend, and we believe a part of that success is due to the hilarity of the youngest member of the Incredible family, Jack-Jack. He has the instant ability to endear you with his adorable smile, his silly laugh, and even his off-the-wall fiery attitude.

Mr. Incredible and Jack-Jack concept art by Evan Bonifacio
Concept art by Evan Bonifacio

So, how did Jack-Jack get all of his powers? Well, we don’t know how he got them fully (since you grow into your powers), but we do know how the Pixar team created some of his looks and some other fun facts about his character.

One the standout scenes where Bob gets to finally see some of Jack-Jack’s powers is the hilarious fight scene with a burglarizing raccoon. Did you know that this scene was originally supposed to be slotted into the first film? It’s true, Teddy Newton originally conceived of the scene while working on The Incredibles, but they never found a way to slot it into the story properly — and more importantly, they weren’t able to execute the scene from a technical standpoint.

Incredibles 2 Jack-Jack and raccoon fight color script by Ralph Eggleston
Concept art by Ralph Eggleston
Incredibles 2 Jack-Jack and raccoon fight concept art by Teddy Newton
The Incredibles concept art by Teddy Newton

Although computers might not have been where they needed to be in 2004 when the first film came out, we’re so glad it ended up being held until this release. How amazing did Jack-Jack’s powers look?!

During a recent trip to Pixar Animation Studios, we chatted with Tony Fucile (supervising animator / character designer / additional story artist), Jason Johnston (effects artist), and Bill Watral (effects supervisor) to find out more details about the scene and Jack-Jack’s abilities.

Incredibles 2 Jason Johnston, Bill Watral and Tony Fucile on stage
Jason Johnson, Bill Watral, and Tony Fucile.

Jack-Jack shows off a few of his abilities by walking through doors/walls, transforming into a giant (didn’t see that one coming), imitating others (mimicking Edna’s look), turning into goo, becoming a monster, using his laser eyes, multiplying into many versions of himself, or even busting into flames.

Speaking of flames, his blazing look took some time to perfect and Jason shared how that was accomplished. First things first, art director, Ralph Eggleston met with the effects team to let them know that Jack-Jack is the source of the fire and that he was not on fire.

This was important to note, because it gave the team a starting point on Jack-Jack — for example, Jack-Jack never has any smoke or embers coming off of him, but the things that he sets of fire can have those elements. If he has embers coming off of him, it would appear as if he was burning himself.

Jason Johnston working on Incredibles 2 in his office
Jason Johnston in his office demonstrating Jack-Jack’s flames

From there, Jason dove deeper trying to find the perfect look. The tested changing the color of his skin from red tones to orange tones. They added glowing looks to his eyes and changed the color of the flames just outside of his body to also help find the perfect look. 

One of the best artist notes that Jason shared is that he would always push the look and try ideas even if they seemed wrong in concept because sometimes odd ideas look perfect on the screen.

Incredibles 2 Multiple Jack Jacks
Incredibles 2 Jack-Jack and Raccoon Fight concept artwork by Peter Sohn
Concept art by Peter Sohn

The look of Jack-Jack took about a month to fully hone and it was well worth it. From the early tests we saw, Jack-Jack came a long way and so many elements were thought out and tested to create a look that could have been interpreted as scary (a baby bursting into flames), but instead were used to create moments of roaring laughter.

My favorite Jack-Jack moment was when he had the raccoon wrapped up in the patio chair — the way the flames exploded off of him in a rage and how the other chairs ignited as he approached the raccoon was the perfect blend of realistic looking and comedic. 

So, why are his powers so random and ever-changing? The team joked that it was probably because he was teething! 

Incredibles 2 concept art drawing by Tony Fucile on stage
Tony Fucile live drawing an early look of Jack-Jack

Pixar Post — T.J. & Julie

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