Big Hero 6 is slowly becoming one of the more anticipated animated films for the latter half of the year. Even more so now that we’re coming to a point where we are getting to know more about the film. Thanks to sources like Screen Rant, Io9, and Collider, we now have a more thorough look at the characters, setting, and world of Big Hero 6.
To keep things simple, here are five vital pieces of info that you should know about Disney’s Big Hero 6!
1. The Story
The idea for Big Hero 6 came about when Don Hall was developing ideas with John Lasseter’s “story trust”: a team consisting of directors, writers, and animators (this includes the head of story and the whole storyboarding team). When looking for an idea that would combine his life-long love of comic books and animation, Don came across the Big Hero 6 comics when going through Marvel’s library. While he knew he wanted to create an original story set in a unique environment, he was nonetheless inspired by the comic’s fun tone, homages to Japanese pop culture, and the relationship between a 14-year-old genius inventor and his robot.
But like every animated movie, there’s lots of work to be done in order to arrive at a satisfactory end product. This means having to go through many versions of the film (Big Hero 6‘s head of story said that he has a file on his computer that is 40 documents, which just consists of different versions of the film’s first act) and screening the film multiple times to each other, to Lasseter, and to audiences to get it right.
As for Marvel’s actual involvement: they were supportive, but remained firm on their insistence that Disney make Big Hero 6 into their own creation. Joe Quesada and Jeph Loeb, regular staples at Marvel, were brought in for screenings and occasionally gave notes during meetings with the story trust.
2. The Animation
The notion that Big Hero 6 is going to be quite different from other Disney features found more confirmation in the work of the animation team.
Of course, as it is a superhero movie, Big Hero 6 is bound to be more action-packed than anything the team had ever worked on. How much action, exactly?
Sources tell us that the film will contain SEVEN big action sequences, the most ever featured in an animated Disney film. This increase of action has led to them having to beef up their visual effects team. For example, Tangled, Wreck-It-Ralph, and Frozen had 13, 31, and 35 effects animators, respectively; Big Hero 6 has 40.
The team also took extra precaution to make sure that the story unfolds in a living, breathing city, as there are 701 unique characters and over 1,300 animation cycles (600 for each gender). Which brings us to our next subject….
3. The Characters
This film will also have the largest cast of characters ever for a Disney film, with 15 central characters. As for the team itself, they drew influence from the Power Rangers as far as their costume and colors being iconic and representing the personality of the characters. This also goes for even the ‘superpowers’ on which the effects department worked with character animation to create those effects.
The inspiration for Baymax’s design was inspired by real-life inflatable robots at Carnegie Mellon, with his limited movement coined as ‘unimation’ which is basically animation boiled down to it’s very essence. According to the production team, Baymax was influenced in part by the Japanese view on technology being a pathway to a better future, eschewing the typical western view of technology as evil or ominous.
4. The City
There’s absolutely no doubt that the city of San Fransokyo will be as much of a character itself in the film. A near-future mashup of San Francisco and Japan, the production team had went on research trips to both Japan and San Francisco to get a feel for both places and how design cues from each environment would convincingly mix together.
For more on how the team was able to fully realize San Fransokyo from the ground-up, read the San Francisco Chronicle’s in-depth piece here. Here’s a quote from Chris Williams on the city’s technological and cultural prowess and the need for a cast to reflect that: “It’s a hub for ideas and for different cultures. We have a very multicultural cast, which was very important for the story, so it also made sense to set it in San Francisco for that reason.”
5. Franchise Potential
Quite unsurprisingly, Hall, Williams, and producer Roy Conli remained coy on the possibility of sequels in their Q&A with Screen Rant. They did espouse that, should the right idea come up, it would be a possibility. “I think it’s got to be as good as what we’re doing right now.” Says Conli.
With Marvel now keeping their distance from Big Hero 6 and insisting that Disney create their own thing with the property, that (for the most point) negates the possibility of Disney bringing in other characters from Marvel’s library should they expand into franchise territory. Still, with this being a team movie, there does lie some ample opportunity to build an animated cinematic universe out of the world created for the movie (it’s a wish, but one can dream).
To reiterate, Big Hero 6 has quickly become a very anticipated animated film, and for good reason. Thanks to the inside looks provided by various other websites, we now have a good idea of what to expect from this unique offering from Disney and it can’t hit theaters soon enough.
Big Hero 6 arrives in theaters on November 7.