Sunday, May 10, 2015

Back to Metroville: Is 'The Incredibles 2' Brad Bird's Next Project?

With Tomorrowland's opening less than three weeks away, director/animation genius Brad Bird has given us another update on the Pixar sequel that the Internet wants...

Bird was interviewed by Collider recently, and here's what he had to say about the film's script, which he is currently writing...

“Oh yeah I have pages, a bunch of pages. I had a lot of ideas for the original Incredibles that I didn’t get a chance to use, that I like. I have ideas that I wanted to pursue a little bit and there wasn’t enough time in Incredibles. There are new ideas I have, and I think there are enough of those together to make an interesting movie. I’m just focusing on getting Tomorrowland out into the world and playing with the Incredibles sandbox again.”

I wondered back when the sequel was officially announced that Pixar and Bird could possibly use ideas that were left out of the original film. One such element that fascinated me was the fact that Syndrome wasn't going to be the villain, but instead a character named Xerek. In this early version of the film, there was no opening about the Golden Age of Supers, it began with Bob and Helen Parr settling down in suburbia, and Violet is an infant. It was a very interesting opening, one that actually could've worked, and Syndrome appears as a burglar who tries to break into the Parrs' household at night and ultimately gets killed. The crew liked that energetic character so much that Xerek, who seemed like a more traditional baddie, got the axe.

Pixar has used ideas dropped out of films in their sequels. Toy Story 2's nightmare sequence was originally intended for the first film, and some Toy Story 3 ideas came from early drafts of the previous two films, the daycare center setting being one of them and a teddy bear villain being another. Monsters University doesn't seem to use ideas from its predecessor, Cars 2's Finn McMissile is reportedly based on a idea scrapped from the first film, but that scene (McQueen and Sally going to a drive-in to watch a film about Finn McMissile) doesn't appear on the DVD or Blu-ray special features. Sometimes I think they made that up... (A lot is unclear when it comes to the production/development on Cars 2, and probably for a good reason.)

It seems like Bird's script might be a combination of scrapped stuff and brand new ideas. We shall see...

When was asked if The Incredibles 2 was his next project, he said...

“Yeah it feels like it to me, yeah.”

Some are outright assuming that this means he'll direct it. I'm not going to jump the gun just yet, because he might just mean it's his next project in terms of writing or something other than directing. Obviously he would be very committed to writing a knockout Incredibles 2 script, even if he didn't direct the film. It was never confirmed that he would direct the sequel from the get-go, and many want to know if he's helming it or not... These quotes say, to me, that the film is definitely next on his list, but directing? He could just mean writing or producing... Also, Collider's article said nothing about directing.

Also, kudos to him for focusing on Tomorrowland. The film may have ended production a while back, but he's putting his all into plugging it. He's being interviewed left and right, he's talking about it all over twitter and is attempting to get people excited, because I don't think the film's marketing is doing just that. (When people - especially people in the know about film - say that a Brad Bird film looks "generic" or "uninteresting" or whatever, you know something is very wrong with the marketing... But I already moaned about that.)

Other things he wants to do?

I wonder if those "other things" include 1906 and Ray Gunn. 1906 was a live-action project based on a novel about - you guessed it - the San Francisco earthquake, and at one time it was set to be a big, massive coproduction between Disney, Pixar, and Warner Bros.! Entering development in early 2008, it was supposed to be Bird's first live-action film, but script rewrites ensued, so Brad moved over to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. After finishing that, he returned to 1906, but by early 2012 he had moved onto Tomorrowland, which had gotten the go-head at Disney at the time. Disney and Pixar jumped ship on 1906 as well... It's reportedly still at Warner Bros., so there's a chance Mr. Bird goes back to that project after The Incredibles 2... Though I question the way WB is currently doing things, so we'll see what happens...

Ray Gunn, to me, is the much more interesting project. It was set to be a retro-futuristic, almost noir-like detective story. It was in development when he was at Warner Animation, where he made The Iron Giant. Bird reportedly wanted the film to be more in the PG-13 territory, which sounds right, considering how vocal he is about animation and how it should break from the family box that Hollywood normally confines it to. The Incredibles at times does just that, while still being a PG film. But it's a PG film that certainly deserves its PG, I can't say the same about a good ton of recent animated family films that somehow get that rating. (Oh no! Rude humor! Toilet humor! Someone slapped someone comically! Violence and scary parts? Ok...) There were also rumors that he would direct that at Pixar after he finished The Incredibles, but he would find himself onboard R.S.S. Ratatouille a year later when its original director departed.

If he were to go back to that film, would he be able to do it the way he wants to do it? Apparently it's meant to be a 2D film, not a CG film, and you know what Hollywood thinks of 2D. Plus, a more adult-oriented animated film that isn't something raunchy? Who's going to want to do that? Bird would probably want to do The Spirit in 2D as well, is that also on his mind right now? He did mention both The Spirit and Ray Gunn at Tribeca when he was interviewed by Janeane Garofolo. (Track down that interview and listen!)

Whatever he's got brewing, I'm sure it's going to be awesome. Let's just hope he directs The Incredibles 2, because I just can't imagine someone else directing it...


  1. Plus, a more adult-oriented animated film that isn't something raunchy? Who's going to want to do that?

    Interesting question. If/when such a movie is ever made, what do you think will be the company who makes it? We can probably rule out both Disney and Dreamworks, both of whom are devoted to providing family entertainment. Overall, I'd put my money on either Paramount or Universal.

    1. Universal and Paramount seem like likely candidates, given the fact that the latter distributed the arguably harder-PG likes of 'Rango' and 'Tintin'. Maybe Sony, since Sony's releasing 'Sausage Party' (still seems to be a go), though I have no what's going to happen with Sony Animation's own 'Superbago'. Maybe it could be Reel FX, if we're talking studios and not distribution.

  2. The Incredibles 2 is more likely to be Mr. Bird's next directing, but since he has other projects and ideas lying around, there's a high chance it won't be directed by him. Take a look at the other Pixar sequels and their directors for examples. Pete Docter didn't direct M.U., because he's busy making Inside Out, or would've been tackling with Newt. If John Carter was a success, I'm sure Stanton would be directing its' sequel(s) right now, and not Finding Dory.

    I also think it depends on Tomorrowland's success. If it makes a lot of money, more live-action films from Mr. Bird. If it flops (please, Box Office Gods, I'm begging you, don't make it a bomb!), back to animation, aka The Incredibles 2.

    Personally, I'd like to see Mr. Bird directing The Incredibles 2, but I'm also very interested in his other projects. (ESPECIALLY 1906 a live-action collaboration between Disney, Pixar, and Warner Bros. sounds so weird and unheard of, that I couldn't help, but wanting it more every time I think about it!)