incredibles 2

The sequel has arrived! But why did Incredibles 2 take so long?

After years and years of anticipation, Incredibles 2 has landed in theatres everywhere. You’ll get to see the family and their superhero friends take on a new and wonderful adventure.

Yet the sequel certainly goes against the grain of what we’ve come to expect from Hollywood franchises. The blatant cliffhanger at the end of The Incredibles was not followed by a rushed sequel, but by extended absence.

So what took so long?

Avoiding the Cash Grab

It’s a question director Brad Bird has been getting a lot during press time, and he says it all came down to story.

“The thing is, many sequels are cash grabs,” says Brad Bird according to IGN.

Ask any movie fan and this revelation is not exactly a surprise. Bird says it’s part of a train of thought in the business that if you don’t capitalise on a movie’s success and start on a sequel right away, you’re missing out on a big payday. And it’s one he can’t stand.

“It’s like, money on the table is not what makes me get up in the morning,” he says according to IGN. “Making something that people are gonna enjoy a hundred years from now, that’s what gets me up.”

He even admits that had he gone for the money grab there’s no logical reason for it to have taken this long to make the movie. But he knew he needed to get the story right and make it as original as possible. Making it harder was the fact that the superhero genre has taken over the world since the first Incredibles, both in movie and TV worlds.

“There’s that aspect, where you feel like, ‘oh, Jesus, it’s really been covered,’” he says according to IGN. “It makes it very challenging on a story level. Because not only do you have every superhero under the sun and cross-promoting films and blah blah blah blah blah, but you also have a bunch of television shows … So it’s easy to freak out and go, well, why even try?”

It All Comes Down to Family

For Bird, it was a journey of pinpointing what made The Incredibles special. That’s when he landed on the fact that the story was about family.

“It’s this idea of a family, and that superheroes have to hide their abilities (from the public, due to Superhero Relocation Program),” he says. “And those things are actually unique to us, and there’s plenty left to explore.”

Even as Incredible 2 started production they were still trying to hammer out the actual plot, which he told he had many ideas for. Luckily, the movie had a release date so they couldn’t dwell on any one idea for too long.

“When you have a release date that’s fixed in space, and your time is always getting shorter, you can’t linger over decisions and go ‘What if I tried it five different ways? You have to go, ‘Not serving the movie. Out! Next!'”

Focusing on the Right Special Effect

There were certainly aspects of sequel-making that he wanted to avoid on Incredibles 2, such as predictability. Many sequels tend to get super-sized special effects budgets and forget about the one aspect that drew the audience in the first place: the characters.

“It’s because it’s easier to buy more gasoline to light and bigger sh*t to blow up and increase your effects budget than it is to make characters that people care about. But what is really the most important special effect is creating characters that you care about.”

When you put the characters people care about in danger it’s an effect people can feel. Fancy editing is just superficial.

Quality Over Quantity

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Missed these guys <3 (Source: Pixar)

While franchises such as the MCU and Star Wars are into the philosophy of pumping out as much as content as they can, Bird’s mindset seems to be paying off. As of this writing the sequel has a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 94%, and seems to be taking in plenty of that sweet sweet cash. Incredibles 2 is a hit.

Successes like this definitely make a good case for quality over quantity. And it seems to be a win for the filmmakers, studios, and fans. If you take the time to find the right story the audience will show up, and that cash grab will be well-earned.

So there you have it – why Incredibles 2 took so long. For more animation stuff, check out this trailer review for How to Train Your Dragon 3.