Incredibles 2 director Brad Bird ensures viewers that the sequel is not a typical Hollywood cash grab followup. Fans have been clamoring for a followup to Pixar’s superhero blockbuster for years now, and that film finally arrives in theaters in just a few short months. The first Incredibles was one of 2004’s biggest movies, meaning a whopping 14 years have passed between installments. Delayed sequels are nothing new for Pixar (Toy Story 3, Finding Dory), and everyone is hoping for another huge hit this summer.
Simply because of the premise, many moviegoers felt The Incredibles was ripe for more movies, but a case can actually be made against that. The original movie was fairly self-contained, wrapping up its plot threads by the time it concluded. Yes, there was the arrival of the Underminer, but that could have been interpreted as a means of saying the Incredibles would always be there to protect their city – and not necessarily a lead-in for another film. However, after more than a decade, Bird returned to the fold. Some moviegoers might be worried there isn’t anything else to add to the burgeoning franchise, but the director promises he wasn’t motivated by money.
Related: Watch the Latest Incredibles 2 Trailer
Screen Rant had the opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios for an Incredibles 2 press day, where we attended a press conference with Bird and his producers John Walker and Nicole Grindle. After being told by a reporter the first Incredibles is a perfect movie, Bird joked that he should have left it there, which was a springboard to a question about the challenges of coming back to a property millions love. Bird spoke about wanting to tell an interesting story:
The thing is, many sequels are cash grabs. There’s a saying in the business that I can’t stand, where they go, [does a funny voice] “You don’t make another one, you’re leaving money on the table!” Money on the table isn’t what makes me get up in the morning. Making something people are gonna enjoy 100 years from now is what gets me up. So, if it were a cash grab, we would not have taken 14 years. It makes no financial sense to wait this long. It’s simply we had a story that we wanted to tell.
At the press day, we were treated to an extended reel of footage that teased viewers with a story worth getting invested in. The lead-in to Incredibles 2 (the Parr family’s fight with the Underminer) actually feels like a very natural progression from the first movie. The Incredibles sprung into action, but there are consequences for that choice, since supers are still illegal. That’s one of the main threads Bird ran with for this sequel. Whereas the original Incredibles played as a more intimate, character-driven piece about Bob Parr overcoming his mid-life crisis, the sequel has a bigger scale where the future of supers is at stake. A key component of the narrative is Helen being recruited by telecommunications company DevTech to help launch an initiative that will make supers legal again. If Elastigirl fails, it means the law likely won’t be changed.
Of course, Incredibles 2 is going to maintain the original’s balance of (in Bird’s words) the fantastic and mundane. The primary subplot appears to be Bob Parr being a stay-at-home dad and discovering that parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. Not only is toddler Jack Jack a handful, Dash needs help with his “new math” homework and Violet is pursuing a romantic relationship with Tony Rydinger. There should be plenty of material here that allows all the characters involved to grow, making Incredibles 2 a necessary chapter to the overarching narrative. If audiences leave the theater knowing supers are allowed to be public heroes again and the Parrs are an even stronger clan, that would tie things up nicely.