Alright, it's official... Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally announced the sequel a lot of us have been waiting to hear about...
Wreck-It Ralph 2!
Well, actually, it's an untitled sequel to the 2012 wrecker adventure... Yes, Wreck-It Ralph will return!
With my collaborator and fellow animation writer Munir A. (who writes for A113 Animation, a great animation news and views site you should check out!), we discuss this breaking news event... An event so big that Walt Disney Animation Studios' Facebook had to let us know the night before that something huge was coming...
K: So, some general things...
There's concept art...
And the film has a concrete release date! March 9, 2018!
That means Gigantic, previously slated for spring 2018, will take the 11/21/2018 slot.
M: Considering that we've known the film has been in development for a few years, it wasn't particularly surprising news, but what really shocked me was that it's coming so soon! I thought Frozen 2 would've been released first. Anyways, it's great that it's finally official!
K: Same here! I was thinking Frozen 2 was pretty much a given for the fall 2018 slot, since Disney slated Gigantic in the spring 2018 slot. Honestly, Gigantic is better off in the autumn. Being a big fairy tale musical event, I think it's prime material for the holiday season. Plus, if Frozen 2 is the fall 2019 release, we won't have two sequels in a row. I like this a lot!
M: Agreed. I don't know why some people are treating the news of Gigantic being delayed a few months as a bad thing. If the film needs more time, it's better to take more time and improve it than rush it and release a subpar product. And, as you say, Gigantic is better suited in November. Tangled and Frozen did great business in the holiday season and Moana is sure to be a hit as well. This strategy of releasing a non-musical film in March and one musical fairy tale in November is going to be very good for the studio
K: Indeed, plus I don't mind a push-back for Gigantic. Recent rumors, mostly brought to everyone's attention by /Film, pointed to the film running into some detours... But the film is over 2 years away, and hitting detours at this stage is completely normal. Like you said, I'm all for a little delay if they need to get the story in the best shape possible.
M: Obviously, plot details are kept under wraps but what do you think the sequel will be about?
K: From the first look video and the concept art, it appears to be about Wreck-It Ralph leaving the arcade and heading to the Internet. Interestingly enough, a whole game was scrapped from the first film - a social media game called Extreme EZ Livin' 2. Maybe they can work it into this film... If I remember correctly, Moore hinted at using the abandoned concepts in the sequel. Not dissimilar to Team Emeryville using unused 'Toy Story' ideas for the sequels...
M: It sounds really interesting. I wonder if Mario will make an appearance in the sequel. Also, Ralph and Vanellope are confirmed to return but I hope Felix and Calhoun will return as well.
K: Moore and co., as far as I know, really want Mario to make an appearance this time around. As for Felix and Calhoun, I can't imagine them not returning, though I wonder if the story will take these guys to console games as well.
M: Maybe Nintendo will give them permission just like Mattel gave the Toy Story crew permission to use Barbie for Toy Story 2 after the first film was successful. What really excites me is that we'll see exclusive Ralph 2 material at D23 in 2017. Can't wait to see the new environments they are going to create for this one!
K: I had speculated a while back that one of the new games could be like a 2D or cel-shaded game, squeezing some traditional animation into the movie somehow. I love when the art style shifts in an animated film, and I'd love to see Disney go back to doing this. The original Wreck-It Ralph had a super-brief one when he exists Pac-Man - where we see the game as we see it... In 1980 graphics... Though to be fair the three worlds had different styles of art direction. As for Mario, what happened was, the filmmakers thought a small cameo wouldn't have done him justice. I hear that it had little to do with Nintendo giving them permission.
M: Good to know. Hopefully they will find a way to include him in a meaningful way.
K: So to wrap up, Wreck-It Ralph was, until Zootopia came out, my pick for Disney Animation's best modern feature. I championed a sequel since day one, as I think there's so much to explore outside of Litwak's Arcade, and so many different kinds of games to riff on and such. I'm glad it's finally been announced, even though we knew it was coming. Now it's set in stone, and arriving much sooner than we thought. Moore is a fast-working director, much like Brad Bird. Must've gotten that from his TV background in Simpsons/Futurama, Bird himself honed his skills with The Simpsons in the early 90s.
M: I love how WDAS has thrived on original films but I've been eagerly awaiting a Ralph sequel since the first one was released in 2012. After the first Ralph and Zootopia, Rich Moore has my complete trust and I'm sure Ralph 2 will be another bright spot in WDAS' superb output.
K: You also notice that Ralph and Zootopia writer Phil Johnston is set to co-direct? An interesting development to say the least! But yes, I agree on that, Moore is a powerhouse director. I'm so ready for this!
M: That's interesting and wonderful news! I can't wait to see it!
K: On a side-note, another sequel - a live-action one - a lot of us want finally has a release date... Again. Universal/Legendary's Pacific Rim 2! It's coming just a little before Ralphy, on 2/23/2018... Red letter day, isn't it? Though I will stay cautious, with something like Pacific Rim 2, I'm gonna wait till cameras are actually rolling on the thing.
M: I'm very excited this project seems to be moving forward! It had a lot of false starts so, like you, I'll be cautious until production actually starts. Still, I'm feeling optimistic that this time it's actually happening... So, WDAS has finally announced the a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph and it's coming sooner than expected. Any announcement from the Mouse House is exciting but a sequel to one of their best films from the new era is positively fantastic. That, in addition to Pacific Rim 2's new release date is a great date, wouldn't you agree?
K: I do. Like I said, this announcement and all... It's a red letter day. A coup d'etat to coin a Norman phrase...