How 'Incredibles 2' Was Affected by the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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

In 2008, Iron Man began the Marvel Cinematic Universe, changing an industry before our eyes. Now, in the spring of 2018, superheroes have saturated entertainment as a whole. The MCU runs the game, and just about everything else has started to feel stale, like Marvel's somehow already done it all.

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 was asked about how the domination of Marvel Studios has affected 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?" Bird continued, "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 has a point. Even after all these years, the unique 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. It's entirely likely that Incredibles 2 will have the same affect.


Do you think that Incredibles 2 can still stand out in a crowded genre? Will it be able to recapture the charm of the original? Share your thoughts by dropping a comment below!

Incredibles 2 flies into theaters on June 15.