Every time Brad Bird made a movie after The Incredibles, everybody asked him if he would be making The Incredibles 2. Bird would assure people he had an idea and if it came together, he would make The Incredibles 2.
Now he's finally made Incredibles 2. At a Los Angeles press conference for the film, Bird revealed that he actually had the idea as early as the release of The Incredibles. The film picks up right where The Incredibles left off, with the Incredibles fighting The Underminer, then Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) gets a new mission, leaving Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) at home with the kids. Bird says:
“The idea of the role switch, that the assignment would go to Helen rather than Bob, I had when we were promoting the first film. I also knew that I had the unexploded bomb of Jack Jack’s powers. The audience knew that he had them but the Parrs did not.”
Some of the subplots that happen in Incredibles 2 came from the first movie. For instance, Bird wanted Jack Jack to fight a raccoon and he finally got his wish in Incredibles 2:
“I had other notions that I just wanted to see in an Incredibles movie, some things like the raccoon fight that were originally done for the first movie and there was no place for it. One of our key artists on the first film who helped design the character and came up with a lot of ideas, his name is Teddy Newton. He had this idea back on the original film. He had a gang of raccoons that Jack Jack confronts and the raccoons just come up and shove Jack Jack in his original drawings.”
By the soudn of it, Jack Jack vs. Raccoon could be its own short film, but it occurs in the middle of Incredibles 2 and It ends up as much more of a light romp in this version than what it could have been in Bird's words:
“It went a lot darker, believe it or not. They fought and went to the bottom of the pool and all this stuff. The idea always just killed me because the raccoons looked vaguely like robbers. Teddy did a drawing where he’s watching an old movie and sees a classic robber with a mask. Then he looks out in the yard and something is stealing from him. A robber is stealing from his family. It doesn’t matter that it’s garbage. Jack Jack doesn’t know that He just knows that he’s being robbed and he must do something about it. I loved that. It was so visual and clear. It was such an off the wall idea, that was one of the things I couldn’t wait to do if we got another Incredibles film.”
The one part of Incredibles 2 that was not part of Bird’s original idea was the villain The Incredibles face.
“The superhero part, the villain part, always seemed to change. When I came to Pixar and said I think I have the other part of the story figured out, the version that got greenlit, about four months after we got greenlit, I just realized it didn’t serve the story, so the villain plot kept changing.”
Changing the villain is no easy task with a release date approaching. “[Production designer] Ralph [Eggleston] had to adjust to it,” Bird said. “Everyone else had to adjust to it constantly which only made it more anxiety. I think that we wound up with the right version of this movie.”
But there's precedent and Pixar’s good with evolving their films: Bird himself stepped in to revamp Ratatouille and Toy Story 2, Brave and The Good Dinosaur had major adjustments made too. There’s even previous for The Incredibles as Bird confirms:
“I realized that that was also true of the first movie. Incredibles was the only project that came outside of Pixar and was pitched to Pixar. I had drawings, I had designs, an outline, the whole thing, how it looked and all kinds of artwork that I paid for myself. If they didn’t want to make it, I was going to take it somewhere else. But I came with a villain that was a different villain than we wound up with. In exploring a different opening when I came to Pixar, I introduced a villain that we killed off in the opening sequence. That was a better villain than the one we had. Suddenly oh yeah, this guy’s better than the one we had, and that was Syndrome. For some reason, I don’t know why, that comes last.”
Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist since 1999. He interviews all the stars and creators of film and television from his home base in Los Angeles. You've also seen Fred's work on Rotten Tomatoes, /Film, We Live Entertainment, CraveOnline, Monsters and Critics, Nerd Report, Showbiz Junkies and many more.