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Why the incredibly long wait for Incredibles 2 and other talk about Pixars super sequel
Elastigirl may have hung up her Supersuit when the Supers were lying low, but in Incredibles 2, shes recruited to lead a campaign to bring them back into the spotlight. With the full support of her family behind her, Helen finds shes still at the top of her game when it comes to fighting crime. Featuring the voice of Holly Hunter as Helen Parr aka Elastigirl, Incredibles 2 opens in U.S. theaters June 15, 2018. - photo by Jeff Peterson
A lot has changed in the 14 years since Pixars The Incredibles first landed in theaters back in 2004.

Its not exaggerating to say it was a different era then: Spandex-clad superheroes were still a novelty, not the norm; Tobey Maguire was still Spider-Man and had never danced down any streets with an emo haircut; DC hadnt begun washing off the stink from Batman and Robin; adjectives such as dark and gritty werent Hollywoods go-to buzzwords; and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe was still years away from being even a twinkle in Kevin Feiges eye.

And things were just as different at Disney and Pixar back then, too. When The Incredibles came out becoming only the sixth feature-length release for Pixar (by comparison, Incredibles 2 is its 20th) the House of Mouse not only didnt own the smaller, Culver City-based studio, but it actually looked like the partnership between the two companies might be coming to an end just a year later in 2005 when their initial contract was set to expire. This left fans justifiably concerned about the future of Disney animation, which, at that point, had produced a string of duds such as Brother Bear (2003) and Home on the Range (2004), as well as for the future of Pixars own creations including The Incredibles over which Disney would have retained complete control even if the studios had parted ways.

(Besides which, there were already indications that Disney, under then-CEO Michael Eisner, was getting ready to cash in on Pixars hits with a slew of cheap, straight-to-video sequels.)

A little more than a year later, though, Disneys new CEO, Bob Iger, made the game-changing move to acquire Pixar for a staggering $7.4 billion almost double what they would pay, years later, for either Marvel or Lucasfilm and the rest, as they say, is history.

Its into this vastly different cinematic landscape that Incredibles 2 is finally, at long last, being released, which cant help but cause one to wonder, why now? Why not 10 years ago? Why wait so long that the target audience for the new movie hadnt even been born when the first one came out, and fans who saw the original when they were young probably relate more now to Bob and Helen Parr (aka Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) than the kids, Violet or Dash or Jack-Jack, for that matter?

Well, it turns out the answer is pretty simple: Because now is when writer-director Brad Bird felt he actually had all the pieces to tell the right story.

Bird has said for years that he wouldnt return to do an Incredibles sequel unless he thought he could equal or surpass the original which, depending on the reviews you look at, he mightve actually pulled off (rather incredibly).

And Pixar is the rare studio that allows its directors that kind of creative integrity.

Speaking to The New Paper, Bird said, "There wasn't any gun to my head 'You must do this now.' They (Pixar) were always like, 'When you're ready.' And I finally went, 'I think I'm ready, maybe.'"

At a press event for Incredibles 2, Bird told reporters, The thing is, many sequels are cash grabs. Theres a saying in the business that I cant stand, where they go, If you dont make another one, youre leaving money on the table, IGN reported. Its like, money on the table is not what makes me get up in the morning; making something that people are gonna enjoy a hundred years from now, thats 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 its purely (that) we had a story we wanted to tell.

But for all the fans who spent this last decade and a half wondering what the holdup could possibly be when every other Pixar movie seemed to be getting its own sequel (or two, or three), this next detail might only add retroactively to the frustration: Two of the core ideas that appear in Incredibles 2 have actually been there pretty much since the first movie was released, according to Bird.

Specifically, the idea to have Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl switch places him taking over family duties while she goes off on her own adventures and the unopened present, as Bird calls it, of Jack-Jacks nascent powers.

Those (concepts) were in from the beginning and never left the project, Bird told IGN. What changed is the villain plot. And that shifted endlessly. And it drove me insane.

Of course, while working through that for years, it wasnt like Bird didnt keep himself busy. He first stepped in for Geris Game director Jan Pinkava on Pixars 2007 release Ratatouille, and then took a break from animation altogether for his next two projects, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015).

Along the way, Bird was also approached as producer Kathleen Kennedys first pick to direct a little movie called Star Wars: Episode VII, which he turned down in favor of Tomorrowland (to the chagrin of many "Star Wars" fans) but not before seriously considering a so-crazy-it-just-might-work scheme to direct both films simultaneously.

(Incidentally, Bird's plan, which was ultimately scrapped, hinged on a relatively unknown indie director named Colin Trevorrow acting as his stand-in on the Star Wars set when he would be off dealing with Tomorrowland. Those initial discussions eventually led to Trevorrow getting his big break helming 2015's Jurassic World.)

One of the biggest issues of waiting as long as Bird and Co. did to return to The Incredibles is that the intervening 14 years have seen so many superhero movies come and go movies that have been anywhere from awesome to awful to revolutionary making yet another story about superheroes, no matter how beloved the original may have been, seem a lot less necessary.

But Bird has a secret weapon: Superheroes were never his real focus anyway.

As the filmmaker told The New Paper, If you think about it in terms of there's been too many superhero movie stories told, you just won't even try. But I felt like what made ours special in the first place was that it was about a family, and that if I kept it about the family, we'd be all right."

This is also crucial to explaining one of the most noticeable storytelling decisions in the film namely, that it picks up almost literally right where the last one left off as the family of heroes takes on the Underminer (voiced by Pixar regular John Ratzenberger).

The powers themselves were always meant to be just a representation of the individual family members and their personalities.

Speaking with USA Today, Bird explained, "Men are expected to be strong, so (Mr. Incredible) has super-strength. Moms are pulled in 10 different directions, so (Elastigirl) is stretchy. Teenagers are insecure and defensive, so (Violet) has invisibility and force fields. Ten-year-olds want to push every button now, so (Dash) has super-speed. And babies (Jack-Jack) are unknowns."

Because of that, Bird felt it was important to not age the characters the way so many sequels do, saying, People tend to be literal about sequels. It's 14 years later, they have to be 14 years older. But that concept is not as cool.

And its one of the unique features of animation, Bird argues, that you don't have to worry about changing a characters age just because the actors have gotten older. With the exception of Spencer Fox (Dash in the 2004 original), who was swapped out for 10-year-old Huck Milner, the main voice cast is almost entirely the same. Even Birds son Michael, now 30, reprised his small role as Violets teenage crush, Tony Rydinger, albeit with a bit of digital tweaking.

Now, if 14 years still seems like an unreasonably long time to wait for a sequel to what may still be one of the greatest animated movies of all time, just remember: It was supposed to be even longer.

Yep. Thats right. Incredibles 2 was originally slated for a June 21, 2019, release, but it got bumped up more than a full year when it became clear that Pixars previously planned 2018 release, Toy Story 4, wouldnt be ready on time.

You hear stories about mothers being able to lift cars off their kid, and that adrenaline kicked in for the whole crew, Bird told Vulture. Also, for me personally, the training that I got in TV (on shows such as The Simpsons and King of the Hill) really helped: You couldnt linger too long over decisions, because youd fall an episode behind.

As for whether fans can expect an Incredibles 3 in the near future, the answer is, unsurprisingly, Dont count on it.

Asked about any ideas he might have for a third installment in an interview with Moviefone, Bird said bluntly, My idea is called Brad takes a long vacation and doesnt ever answer this question.

So maybe in 2032?