It’s not the first time that a sequel has arrived more than a decade after it’s predecessor, and in such situations, it’s always daunting for a studio, because you never know if moviegoers are still going to care, or if they’re too precious about the original movie.
However, Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2, like Finding Dory before it, delivered the same type of electricity as its original movie 14 years ago (arguably more), hooking both legacy audiences and a new generation to fuel what became the highest grossing animated film stateside ever with $608.5M and the second-highest worldwide behind Disney’s own Frozen with $1.24B.
But still why did we have to wait 14 years for Incredibles 2? For Director-writer Brad Bird, who collected a 2005 Best Animated Film Oscar on the original, it wasn’t really ever about writer’s block; it was the other movies on his plate, i.e. Ratatouille and Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol that were standing in his path.
Literally, Bird had the idea for the sequel–a reversal on the original’s storyline in which wife/mom Helen Parr is dragged back into superhero crime-fighting leaving hubby Bob at home to tend to the kids–when he was doing press junkets for the 2004 film. Jack-Jack’s superpowers, which the audience already knew about at the end of the first film, would be front and center for the family’s angst in part 2. Like Part 1, Incredibles 2 would be about the renaissance of middle-age life, and finding our second and third acts in life. Figuring out the villain took some time for Bird, but not to the extent that it could be blamed for the sequel’s 14-year delay. In fact, Pixar fast-tracked Incredibles 2, putting it on a 2 1/2 year production run, which is ambitious for a feature animated film.
“Getting it done on time, the mounting expectations of the film, all this pressure –‘it better be worth the wait!’ — that really helps you creatively,” quips Bird on today’s Crew Call podcast.
That challenge would not get the better of Bird as he already endured the rigorous production schedule of Fox TV’s The Simpsons as an executive consultant and writer on the series during its first eight seasons as he details here.
We also speak with Bird about his epic dream feature that never happened, or hasn’t happened yet: the feature adaptation of James Dalessandro’s novel 1906 which Pixar and Warner Bros. were trying to mount around 2008. 1906 is a Titanic-type project that follows the corruption that ensued in San Francisco between unscrupulous politicians and a coalition of honest police officers, newspaper editors, citizens, and a lone federal prosecutor — all capped off by an earthquake and a fire. Bird details his journey in developing that movie and whether it will come to fruition in the near future. Let’s say this, it was never intended to be a disaster movie.
In addition, Bird talks about the current state of Pixar in the wake of co-founding employee John Lasseter’s departure last year, and where it exists philosophically in regards to its creative think tank. It was around this time last year when Incredibles 2 was rolling cameras as Lasseter took a temporarily leave of absence.
To date, Incredibles 2 is a solid awards contender with a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice animated film nomination, 11 animation nominations, and winner of the National Board of Review’s best animated feature award.