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Director Brad Bird on How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Impacted ‘Incredibles 2’

When Disney and Pixar released The Incredibles back in 2004, the superhero movie genre was just starting to find its footing. The Spider-Man and X-Men franchises ruled the box office, and an animated superhero team-up film felt totally out of the box. Little did anyone know that the entire genre was going to get flipped on its head just four years later.

In 2008, Iron Man began the Marvel Cinematic Universe, changing an industry before like never before. Now, in the spring of 2018, superheroes have saturated entertainment as a whole. The MCU reigns supreme but both FOX and DC have their own respective franchises releasing films left and right.

 How can you make a fresh and exciting superhero movie in the age of the MCU? This is the challenge facing Incredibles 2, but writer/director Brad Bird isn’t the least bit phased by the super-saturation.
During a Q&A at a press event at Pixar Animation Studios, Bird discussed how the domination of Marvel Studios has impacted his approach to Incredibles 2. The director let those in attendance know that, while it may be hard to get a foothold in the genre right now, great storytelling and unique perspectives will always shine through.

“Well, on some level it’s kinda like going out to the football field and there’s been way too many games on it, you know?. And there’s this kind of dry dirt with a few sprigs of grass and everyone thinks it’s kinda clunky and life doesn’t grow there anymore. So, there’s that aspect where you feel like, ‘Oh Jesus, it’s really been covered.’ It kind of reminds me of the way Westerns were in the late ’50s, where if you had a television 95 percent of what was on was the Westerns.

“So we’re in that phase a little bit and it makes it very challenging on a story level because not only do you have every superhero under the sun and the cost of promoting films and Marvel blah blah blah. But you also have a bunch of television shows and even years ago, there was a show called Heroes. The creator actually told me it was a mash up of the movies Crash and The Incredibles. He said, ‘I was influenced by that and thought if you melded Crash with The Incredibles, that’s kinda what this is.’ But they [Heroes] used to, do five, six, ten different superheroes with storylines that continued on every week. So you were doing quantum superhero stories every week and it seemed like everything had been done. So it’s easy to freak out and go, ‘Why even try? Everybody’s got everything done to death.’ But then again I return to what makes us unique and it’s this idea of a family. And that superheroes have to hide their abilities and those things actually are unique to us and there’s plenty left to explore.”

Bird certainly does make an interesting point. With eighteen films in the MCU franchise, it is easy to get caught up in the fear that the next superhero film will simply tread on familiar waters.  Even after all these years, the complex characters and focus on family dynamics has allowed The Incredibles to remain a fantastic superhero film, in spite of the fact that so many others have been released since. You can bet that Incredibles 2 will have the same affect on audiences.

Incredibles 2 premieres in theatres on June 15, 2018

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