Flora & Ulysses is a super hero movie in itself, telling the story of an unexpected friendship between a young girl and hero super powered squirrel friend (yes, it's as adorable as it sounds). The upcoming Disney+ film is based on a popular kid's book by the same name but this book is not the only place Flora & Ulysses found super hero inspirations. The film opens on shots of Marvel heroes like Silver Surfer and Wolverine before having sequences in comic book stores and making plenty of other references to comic book legends. According to Flora & Ulysses director Lena Khan, some of those fun details are fully credited to her brother.
"That would actually be my brother," Khan tells ComicBook.com when asked how some books, references, and characters came to be involved in Flora & Ulysses. "My brother is a true blue real comic book aficionado, and he grew up telling me about everything."
Still, Khan is quite a fan of super heroes and comics herself. "I would read some of his comics," she explains. "He's the one who got me in and like, he'd go deep. Like, he's not just one of those, like, he knows the real story and the psychological battles and real, you know, social implications of everybody. And so that always, I know that resonated big for me. I feel like it's a, it's like a real literature source. Like I think people just think it's all super heroes, but it is just as much as like, you know, there's fairy tales and there's novels and there's comic books. Like they're their own, they have their own depth."
In fact, Khan remembers the first super heroes who mad her believe in the inspirational type of otherworldly storytelling. "I'm all about X-Men, so that's my wheelhouse," she Khan says. "I feel like they're the comic book equivalent of like your big activists, your Muhammad Ali, and things like that. 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, fighting their kind of social battles."
Fans of Khan and the cast of Flora & Ulysses, which includes Ben Schwartz, Danny Pudi, Alyson Hannigan, and Bobby Moynihan will catch references to some of their previous projects like Duck Tales and Buffy. "That's just me having too much time on my hands," Khan jokes. "That's like, 'Okay Bobby Moynihan's on set, Read this comic.' 'Oh my gosh, everybody wait! I have to put this little comic behind, behind Alison before her shot.' Like 'Oh, Miller, does anybody have a picture of three ducks so we can put different color colors or collars on them to represent the Duck Tales?' So, it's things like that."
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Flora & Ulysses hits Disney+ on February 19.