The first INCREDIBLES film came out on November 5th, 2004. I was a senior in college, planning my wedding and working on graduating college. Here we are 14 years later and the sequel, INCREDIBLES 2, is coming out in a few weeks (June 15th to be precise). If you’re like me, you may be wondering what took so long for INCREDIBLES 2 to release? I had the opportunity to attend a press conference with members of the foreign press and my fellow mom bloggers and ask those questions to creator and director of INCREDIBLES and INCREDIBLES 2, Brad Bird, and executive producers Nicole Paradis Grindle and John Walker. I was invited by Disney/Pixar to learn about the creation process of INCREDIBLES 2 and when I accepted their invite, I went on an all expense paid press trip to cover my experiences here on my blog. I didn’t get paid to attend the press conference and all of the opinions you read here are my own. It was an amazing experience and really showed me what an above average, stellar, studio Pixar is. I want to share with you everything I learned during the press conference, why it took so long for Bird to create INCREDIBLES 2, the challenges that he and his team had to overcome because of the 14 year gap between the two films and what you can expect from the sequel.
Why did it take so long to make INCREDIBLES 2?
When the Australian journalist asked director Brad Bird why it took so long to make INCREDIBLES 2 everyone in the audience kind of giggled and Bird did too. Then he said,Share this -- 'For me, it was, not intentional. I just didn't think it was the greatest idea, creatively, to follow up a successful film with its sequel.' @BradBirdA113 on why it took 14 years for #Incredibles2 to come out. #Incredibles2EventClick To Tweet
For me, it was, not intentional. I just didn’t think it was the greatest idea, creatively, to follow up a successful film with its sequel. I think that you want to take time, you want to think about it, you want to enjoy the process. For me, I was always thinking about it in the back of my mind but I had other things that were more at the forefront. The more I chewed on it, the more I thought, ‘Oh yeah, that’d be cool.’ And then suddenly it was 15 years later or something and I went, ‘Holy crap! I better get going on something!’ It’s not intentional and it’s not calculated in anyway. It probably would have been smarter if it were a cash grab to do it a lot sooner but I was just mulling on it and it finally seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t want to wait any longer because clearly it was too long.
Since it had been so long since the first INCREDIBLES movie, how difficult was it to step right into the story again for INCREDIBLES 2?
14 years is a long time to take a break from creating characters and keeping up with a story and INCREDIBLES 2 starts off exactly where the first film ended. I’ve seen the first 20 minutes of INCREDIBLES 2 and that last shot of the family with the Underminer coming up out of the ground is where everything ended in the first film and that’s where we pick right back up. I won’t go into any more detail but if you aren’t a storyteller you often wonder how integral the characters in the story are to their author. Here’s what Bird had to say about picking up where he left off in 2004,
[INCREDIBLES] seems like outwardly it’s a really commercial movie, but it’s actually strangely personal to me. So, it has a lot of the things that I loved at the age of ten, which a lot of ‘em I still love — I hate to admit — and combined with the family that I grew up with and the family that I have with my wife and sons. So, it’s kinda all the stuff I love combined with both families that I’ve had in my life. I like those characters and they’re comfortable to me, and I have fun, you know, hearing them talk.
Bird explained that while it was very natural to write the dialogue for INCREDIBLES 2, because he already had his voice cast and could envision each actor portraying their character, the plot of the film was the most challenging,
In terms of story, it’s not easy at all. [laughs] It’s really hard. The character part is fun. The plot part is painful.Share this - 'The central idea, which was a role switch between Bob and Helen, the family didn’t know of the baby’s powers that they would learn about it in #Incredibles2, that was around almost dates back to the first film’s release.' @BradBirdA113 #Incredibles2EventClick To Tweet
The central idea, which was a role switch between Bob and Helen, and the fact that the family didn’t know of the baby’s powers and that they would learn about it in this film, that was around almost dates back to the first film’s release, I had those ideas. What changed all the time was the sort of superhero plot. And that changed radically… because we had a little less time to do our film, if something didn’t pay off immediately, you had to abandon it, because the release date was looming and you had to find stuff that, ‘Oh, this works. Go…This doesn’t work. Kill [chuckles].. And it was this sort of binary process…that was tough. The superhero plot changed a lot but the core idea of Helen getting the mission and Bob staying at home and them having to cope with the baby’s powers, that’s my oldest idea for this film.
How has the technology changed between the first INCREDIBLES film and INCREDIBLES 2?
Pixar was the first studio who released a full length animated feature film that was creator solely with CGI, we all know and love that film TOY STORY. When Bird was asked what kind of changes had happened from the first INCREDIBLES film to the second, his answer was really interesting,
The thing is that Pixar kinda invented the feature computer animation thing and for a while there with every film there was this giant, easy-to-talk-about breakthrough, you know. First, it was just doing it. Then it became, you know, more complex shapes or blue fur [MONSTERS INC] or underwater [FINDING NEMO] and with us on the first film, it was the first film that featured all humans. Now the medium has passed its infancy. It means a lot to us when we make [a film], but it’s not as easy to talk about in terms of something different that [the audience sees]. I can tell you that the characters look more like — the audience hopefully can’t tell any difference, but they look more like our original designs in the first film. We got close [in INCREDIBLES], but we didn’t get them bang on. And on this film, [the characters,] they’re bang on.
Like, to me [INCREDIBLES 2] is what we were thinking. And [chuckles] we came close, but we didn’t get it. The first film, the big deal was that there was no single big deal. It was everything. We had three times as many sets as any Pixar film before. We had everything that CG animation was bad at. You know, we [were] bad at humans, bad at hair, bad at fire, bad at water. And we just had a whole film that was filled with everything that CG couldn’t do well at that point.
In a movie culture where superhero films seem to be a dime a dozen, how is INCREDIBLES 2 different?
You know we all love a good superhero film (hello Marvel Cinematic Universe) but when INCREDIBLES was released in 2004 the superhero was genre was kind of a dying breed and INCREDIBLES stood out because of Bird’s original story. How does he think that INCREDIBLES 2 will be different and stand out now that the genre has made a comeback and seems to be so popular?
I think that it’s much harder to do a unique story now. Not only are there scads and scads and scads and scads of superhero films, but there’s television shows. And there’s television shows like Heroes where they have maybe 20 superheroes, each of whom has a storyline every week.
So, they’re chowing through potential spins on the genre at an ungodly rate. I think that if we thought about this as a superhero movie, we probably would’ve been stymied. But we didn’t. We always felt like what makes our film unique is that it’s about a family. And the roles — their superpowers were based on iconic roles of men and women and children in the family. You know, the dad is always expected to be strong. The mom is always stretched in a million directions. Teenagers are defensive and insecure. So, she has force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls that just, you know, can’t not be on — eleven or off, that’s what they are [laughs]. And babies are unknowns. They could have no powers at all, or they could be the next leader, you know, of the free world or whatever. So where they were in the family was how we chose their powers. That was a unique approach, because it was more about stages of your life.
And I think one of the reasons we’ve been successful is that everyone connects with at least two of the characters, and that’s because we’ve all been teenagers. We’ve all been children. Many of us have kids, and so we’ve dealt with little babies, which are really challenging to keep up with. And teenagers, which are, you know, also a handful in a completely different way. So, and we’ve had parents that seem kinda clueless at moments and the dad that maybe speaks before he really knows what he’s talkin’ about. And, you know, the mom that manages everything. That’s where our strength lies, and that’s what makes us different. If we thought about it in those terms, it became a lot easier to make our film.Share this - @BradBirdA113 said, about #Incredibles2, 'I think that if we thought about this as a superhero movie, we probably would've been stymied. But we didn’t. We always felt like what makes our film unique is that it’s about a family.' #Incredibles2EventClick To Tweet
The heart and soul of INCREDIBLES 2 is family.
What Brad Bird said up there about how every one of us identifying with at least two of the characters stuck with me after the press conference. He’s right. As a mom, I completely resonate with Helen Parr, Elastigirl, who is pulled and stretched in every direction. That’s how I feel about my life! Now that my son is almost 10-years-old I’m amazed by his unending energy. The kid never ever stops talking or moving. I cannot wait for this film to come out later this month and I know you probably feel the same way!
What is INCREDIBLES 2 about?
In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible. Written and directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer), Disney•Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” busts into theaters on June 15, 2018.
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INCREDIBLES 2 opens in theatres everywhere on June 15, 2018!
Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.