Whenever I'm channel-surfing and come across Disney's Sky High (2005), I have to stop and watch it. Normally, I prefer superhero films to be dark, taking themselves somewhat seriously; however, Sky High is a refreshingly fun, upbeat, and entertaining superhero film. It perfectly blends comic book elements, clever tongue-in-cheek humor with a John Hughes-style teen drama — having kids deal with dating troubles, parental and peer pressure, and being separated into different cliques and social groups.
So when its director, Mike Mitchell, recently revealed that he and his Trolls co-director, Walt Dohrn, are currently developing a sequel to Sky High, I became ecstatic! And then it got me wondering: Who from the original film should return to reprise their roles and what should the sequel be about?
Follow the slideshow to find out the answers to those questions.
Sky High (2005) - This year’s class features some of the best, brightest and most powerfully gifted super-teens ever assembled. And then there’s Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano). When you’re the son of the world’s most legendary super hero parents, The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), people expect you to live up to the family name. The problem is that Will is starting with no superpowers of his own and, worst of all, instead of joining the ranks of the “Hero” class, he finds himself relegated to being a “Sidekick.” Now he must somehow survive his freshman year while dealing with a hilariously overbearing gym coach (Bruce Campbell), a bully with super speed, and a dangerous rebel with a grudge (and the ability to shoot fire from his hands)… not to mention the usual angst, parental expectations and girl problems that accompany teenage life. But as he discovers his true strengths, he also learns that it takes loyalty and teamwork to truly become a hero!
What would you like to see in Sky High 2? Let us know in the comment section!
Danielle Panabaker's Layla Should be the Star
We all know Danielle Panabaker for her wonderful performance as Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost on The CW's comic book-based television series, The Flash; however, her first foray into the superhero genre was in Sky High. She played Will's wholesome and loyal best friend, Layla Williams. She's a pacificist and has the ability to control and animate plant life.
She also had a huge crush on Will, who was oblivious to that fact. But once he was clued in on how she truly felt about him, they eventually got together — having a mid-air smooch at the end of the film. Additionally, in the epilogue, we're informed they started dating.
Not only do I want Panabaker to return and reprise her role, I want her to star in the sequel. I'd like to see Layla be the new principal of Sky High School and married to Will. They could have two children: a twin boy (who has her kind heart and nature-based powers) and girl (who has Will's ability to fly but is afraid of heights). As a nod to the first film, the story could begin with their children starting ninth grade at Sky High. To add some drama, have one twin classified as a hero and the other as a sidekick.
Recast Will Stronghold
Michael Angarano portrayed Will Stronghold in the first film, and while he has found steady work in television (Will & Grace, The Knick) and movies (Haywire, The Stanford Prison Experiment) since then, I always felt as though he was one of the weakest actors in its stellar cast. And since the character should be in the sequel, I believe the role could use an upgrade.
I would have Patrick Fugit (We Bought A Zoo, Outcast) play Will in the sequel. Why him? First off, Fugit's sarcastic quips and expressions as Officer James Gilpin in David Fincher's Gone Girl made him standout among a talented cast. Secondly, though they are hardly identical, they do have physical similarities that would make a casting change less jarring.
Director Cameron Crowe thought so, too. That's why he cast Angarano to portray a younger version of William Miller, the Almost Famous role that first put Fugit on the map.
Royal Pain Should Start a Supervillain Academy
After using the Pacifier to turn the Sky High faculty and most of its student body into infants, Royal Pain (a.k.a Gwen Grayson, Sue Tenny) revealed her daring, visionary plan to baby Steve Stronghold: "Start her very own Supervillain Academy and raise a generation of heroes from scratch as villains." Luckily, her plan was foiled by Will, Layla, Warren Peace, and their sidekick friends. In the epilogue, she and her followers were put in jail.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) did a masterful job with the role, portraying the popular technopath as sweet and friendly in the beginning, manipulative in the second act, and in the third act, she fearlessly chewed the scenery once she whipped out the Pacifier and started zapping everyone.
So, how should Royal Pain be brought back for the sequel? I would have Royal Pain start that Supervillain Academy she was talking about — though it shouldn't feature heroes turned into babies and raised to be villains. And if you go the school route, you could have her try to get one of Layla and Will's kids to attend her Supervillain Academy, or you could have her school compete against Sky High.
Fill Out the Supporting Cast with Excellent Character Actors
While the young cast of Sky High did an admirable job, it is its deep and talented supporting cast that made the film so special. Having a true Hollywood star like Kurt Russell be a part of the cast was great, but it was the lesser-known character actors — such as Bruce Campbell as Coach Boomer, Jim Rash as Mr. Grayson/Stitches, Cloris Leachman as Nurse Spex, Lynda Carter as Principal Powers, and Dave Foley as All American Boy — that made the tongue-in-cheek humor work so well.
This is a spot where producers could inject some freshness into the cast, bringing in a new bunch of character actors to portray the faculty. Who should they get? I would start with Alan Tudyk, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Kim Dickens, Jesse L. Martin, and Keith David.
Make Ron Wilson, Bus Driver, the Main Villain
With that last slide, many you were probably wondering why I hadn't mentioned the scene-stealing Kevin Heffernan — who portrayed Ron Wilson, the vivacious and enthusiastic Sky High bus driver. Well, now you know. I have bigger plans for him!
Like Will, Ron is the son of two superheroes. But unlike Will, he never had any powers. However, in the epilogue, he did receive powers — becoming enormous and fighting giant robots — but they came from exposure to toxic waste.
In the sequel, I'd like to see him feeling down and out because his powers eventually faded away, so he has to go back to driving the Sky High school bus. To make matters even worse, he loses that job when the school decides it can cut costs by buying a self-driving bus.
Why am I making Ron's life so miserable? So that when he becomes a villain — perhaps working with Royal Pain — the audience can understand what led him down an evil path.