‘Big Hero 6′ Filmmakers Talk Marvel Universe & ‘Guardians’ Similarities

‘Big Hero 6′ Filmmakers Talk Marvel Universe & ‘Guardians’ Similarities

Marketing material for the upcoming Big Hero 6 – this year’s offering from Walt Disney Animation Studios – hasn’t played up the film’s connection to the Marvel comic book universe – but perhaps with fair reason. The eponymous squad debuted in comic form in 1998, but is far, far from being a household name; even many a hardcore comics fan is only so familiar with the property’s Manga-influenced characters and world design. That is to say, the Big Hero 6 brand is pretty obscure.

The Marvel brand, however, is decidedly not obscure, but it gets complicated where it comes to Big Hero 6. In short: because Marvel Studios is under the Disney roof, selling the Big Hero 6 animated feature as a “Marvel creation” would (for many people outside the film geek community) create a misunderstanding about the film’s connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Disney and Pixar animation’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter made clear to Vulture in a recent interview, though, Big Hero 6 the movie is very much its own, separate thing.

Big Hero 6 is a Disney animated Marvel adaptation, but Lasseter indicated to Vulture that a Disney/Marvel ‘toon that fits into the MCU continuity – something Lasseter says hasn’t been discussed (yet) – could feel quite different, since “If we went directly into the Marvel Universe, that would mean we’d work more directly with Marvel.”

‘Big Hero 6′ Filmmakers Talk Marvel Universe & ‘Guardians’ Similarities

Marvel Studios films, like Disney Animation releases, certainly have a recognizable formula of their own – with the better ones being (obviously) those that find more creative ways to mix up the recipe – and Big Hero 6 (as evidenced by the trailer footage) does feel very much in line with more recent Disney animated features. As Lasseter put it:

“Without question, [‘Big Hero 6′] was made 100 percent here [at Disney Animation Studios]. They’d forgotten the books existed.”

That does, however, raise an interesting question – how would a Disney animated Marvel movie that’s part of the MCU differ from something like Big Hero 6? The latter was co-written and directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh); as many have noted, the setup for Big Hero 6 – young Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) helps to form a crime-fighting team in the wake of a personal tragedy – makes use of certain tropes that are commonplace in Disney animated fare – as does the animation style resemble those of more recent ‘toons from the Mouse House (see: TangledFrozen, etc.).

‘Big Hero 6′ Filmmakers Talk Marvel Universe & ‘Guardians’ Similarities

Big Hero 6 does seem to be closer to a Disney animated feature that just happens to be based on a Marvel comic property – as opposed to, feeling more like a Marvel comic book movie that just happens to be animated by Disney, so to speak. The latter would (in theory) resemble this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy – in the way those films are Marvel Studios movies first, other sorts of genre films second. Hall, as it were, still feels that Big Hero 6 and Guardians of the Galaxy are similar – albeit, in a different sense.

“They do feel like distant cousins. Guardians is a Marvel movie, but it’s sort of gone off on a different branch. It indicates that fans of superhero movies are willing to try new flavors.”

Lasseter voiced a similar comment, as he mentioned to Vulture that “We call [‘Big Hero 6′] a super nerd movie,” rathe than a superhero movie. Indeed, as our Chris Agar recently discussed in his analysis of superhero/comic book movies, the superhero genre is flexible and can accommodate multiple other genre (and sub-genre) elements with ease. In the case of Big Hero 6, then, it sound as though the end result could be something like a superhero feature by way of the “young people on an adventure” sub-genre (think The Goonies, Super 8, etc.).

Big Hero 6 opens in U.S. theaters on November 7th, 2014.


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