Sunday, September 13, 2015

Super Update on 'The Incredibles II'

Since The Iron Giant: Signature Edition screened at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier today, director Brad Bird has been making the rounds...

Collider's Matt Goldberg got to interview the animation mastermind himself, and he had a few things to say about The Incredibles II. First off, it seems like it's inching closer to going full steam ahead!

"I have the story arc. I’m probably three-quarters through the script, first pass through the script, but we’re already boarding parts of it. I’ve got a lot of people that worked on the first one working on it, so we’re all having a good time with it."

He sounds a little more enthusiastic here than he did before, and it's great that they are this far in the writing process. This is not surprising to me, considering that Brad Bird is the kind of story man who makes decisions faster than most animation directors out there.

Some history here...

The Incredibles was Pixar's sixth film, released a year and a half after their fifth, Finding Nemo. Early ideas for a Pixar fish movie date back to the early 1990s, but Stanton's film began active development in 1997 after another concept of his - Trash Planet - had to be put on the shelf for a long while. Bird had ideas for The Incredibles as far back as 1993, and at Warner Bros. Animation he did The Iron Giant and also developed a story called Ray Gunn (which I hope sees the light of day). After Warner's marketing department infamously dumped The Iron Giant, Bird took his superhero story to Pixar in 2000, and it began active development there. While Nemo arrived first, it had taken six years to come together. Bird's film? Four years.

Not too long after the film opened, Bird took over Ratatouille, which was being developed by Jan Pinkava for a good 4-5 years prior to his ousting from the director's chair. The film now had 2 1/2 years to go until its planned summer 2007 release date. Bird got onboard the sinking ship and turned it around in a short amount of time, and the result was a masterpiece. He got that all figured out in less than 2 1/2 years!

Mr. Bird doesn't mess around, he's a lot like Walt Disney that way. He of course got a lot of that from his Simpsons days...

After explaining how the film is progressing, he also shed some light on when it could possibly come out!

Here, he has revealed that the film has actually moved ahead of Cars 3 on the development slate! That film was in the works since the year the previous film came out, 2011!

"In terms of the release date, we were originally—Incredibles was supposed to happen after Cars, and our wheels just happened to click a little earlier so they moved us up. Release dates are a little fluid when you’re making films so far in advance. Some films are tougher to come together and tough nuts to crack, and other ones comes together a little more quickly, and so I’m just going to work as fast as I can work well with a relatively small team because I like small teams better until you’ve got everything firmly figured out."

I'm going to assume that this advancement happened rather recently, because D23's hall of Pixar posters had Cars 3 before The Incredibles II, both posters didn't have release years on them, rather "Coming Soon" tags. Now of course you might say, that wall means little to nothing, but every poster from The Good Dinosaur to Coco was in chronological order, so that lead me to assume - since Cars 3 was in development for a while - that Cars 3 would release first in summer 2018, then The Incredibles II sometime afterward.

So... For the time being, it looks like the next chapter of the supers is going to hit before Lasseter's anthro autos return. It looks like Bird once again is up to his usual ways of working, getting a strong story in shape quickly.

Bird also talked a little bit about what the film will be like compared to recent superhero films, since the original came out at a time when superhero films were indeed doing well, but there weren't as many as there are today. For every X2 or Spider-Man 2 back then, you had a Hulk or Daredevil or Fantastic Four.

"But what’s changed is there were only two other superhero franchises at the time Incredibles came out. One of them was X-Men and the other was Spider-Man, and now there are 400 billion of them and there’s a new superhero movie every two weeks. What you don’t want to do is trot over the same turf in the same way everyone else is. So we’re trying to keep it focused in the area that our film was, which was a little bit more about characters and relationships and stuff like that, and see where that takes us. But we’re having a good time."

The Incredibles is still a unique superhero film. It certainly wasn't derivative of the superhero films of last decade, and it's unlike many of the films made today. It had its own retro-futuristic setting that recalled 1950s/1960s space age aesthetics for inspiration. As Goldberg notes in his article, it also has a spy film flavor, which I always got out of it, from the exotic Nomanisan Island to Michael Giacchino's score to, again, that late 50s/early 60s look. Bird gravitates towards that a lot, just look at the 1950s-set The Iron Giant and look at Tomorrowland, which draws heavily from Walt's 1950s space age optimism. Let's not forget that he also directed an installment in a film series based on a 1960s spy TV show!

I'm sure they'll keep that same atmosphere for the sequel, and one can only imagine which direction it'll go, story-wise. In the mean time, we'll have to endure more "We have Incredibles II plot details!" articles that actually use fan wikis as their sources...

It's still up in the air whether Bird will direct or not. Everything I've read hasn't explicitly said that he's indeed returning to the director's chair, but he most likely is. I can't see why he wouldn't.

Anyways, I'm glad to hear that everything is going swimmingly with The Incredibles II. The Incredibles is one of my all-time favorite films, and there's mountains of potential in a sequel. Bring it on!

What do you think of the film moving ahead in development? Do you think it'll hit in 2018? Are you looking forward to an Incredibles sequel? Sound off below!

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