Flora & Ulysses is coming along as a new twist on the super hero movie genre. The film is based on a book, though it is not a Marvel or DC comic book by any means. It features a super hero, but not in the traditional sense of rescuing people from burning buildings or super villains. Flora & Ulysses sees a squirrel become a super heroic with his biggest feat becoming an ability to inspire hope and goodness in the people around him. Still, there is an abundance of comic book and super hero influences which appear in the film and some of them have deep seeded meanings for the film's cast and directors (and, certainly, the audience as well!).
Flora & Ulysses stars Matilda Lawler, Ben Schwartz, and Alyson Hannigan under the direction of Lena Khan. In one way or another, this group has ties to each other and the super hero genre, though they all fondly remember their first experiences with such characters.
"I loved Spider-Man when I was a kid," Schwartz told ComicBook.com. "I loved Spider-Man comics, I loved X-Men comics, I loved collecting those Marvel cards. Man, I had all of the, every I had all the Marvel cards and I mean, of course we can't get all the foil and hologram ones, but it's like, I had them saved, and I loved them so much. The toys I played with the most were that Wolverine where you click out the claws and that Cyclops where you go like this and his eyes light up. So, I was creating my own stories with comic book characters, and my comic book shop was called Alternate Realities on Central Avenue in Westchester. And I had my comics, I had my Marvel cards, my basketball cards, and it had a Jurassic Park pinball machine, so I could be there for hours. But Spider-Man, to me was always cause he was the kid, he was funny, and he kicked butt."
Schwartz, who was paired with Lawler at the time of the interview and clearly developed a great friendship with the young actress in their time together, has become synonymous with geek culture since taking on the lead role in Sonic the Hedgehog but has long professed his love for the community and its topic.
Lawler, who is quite a bit younger than Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man movies which seem to be standouts for Schwartz, still has an appreciation for the character and his movies. "I had to think back here, but my dad he loved the Spider-Man movies, so I always watched the Spider-Man movies when I was younger, and so I think my first memory of like a superhero I guess, was the Spider-Man movie, and I got that strong superhero feeling."
Hannigan, best known for her work on How I Met Your Mother, is no stranger to the Marvel world of it all. Her husband Alexis Denisof played the Other in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a character which served as a middleman between Loki and Thanos in The Avengers. However, her favorite memories of super hero films fall under the DC Comics umbrella! I'm trying to think of shows that would have done that for me as a kid," Hannigan recalled. "I mean, I absolutely just adored Superman with Christopher Reeve. The original. Like I would have loved for him to come and like save me from something."
Meanwhile, Khan has a deep love for one of the most popular super hero factions in Marvel comics. Still, she admits that some of the comic book Easter eggs and references in Flora & Ulysses come from her brother's love of the medium. "I'm all about X-Men, so that's my wheelhouse, you know," Khan said. "I feel like they're the comic book equivalent of like your big activists, you know, people. Your, your Muhammad Ali and things like that. And, and so I grew up with them and kinda like seeing something that felt like they were comic book people, but they also felt like they could be in real life, like fighting, you know their kind of social battles. So that's, that's my wheelhouse."
Khan will be joining ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast on Friday to talk more about her super hero fandom, while also joining the conversation about WandaVision's latest episode.
Flora & Ulysses is available on Disney+ on Friday.