No, your eyes aren’t duping you — this is indeed a first glimpse at Incredibles 2, which, despite 14 years having passed in the real world, will find the superpowered Parr family exactly where you last saw them way back in 2004, only much sharper and slicker.
“Incredibles 2 picks up, literally, where the first film left off, with Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl battling The Underminer, while Violet and Dash are stuck with babysitting Jack-Jack,” says writer-director Brad Bird, who has kept plot details about the highly-secretive sequel to his Pixar blockbuster under tight wraps. Save for a brief tease at Disney’s D23 fan expo this summer, “that’s all we’re saying for now,” Bird continues, “but rest assured, there are a lot more superheroics in store for our ‘family dynamic.’”
Being a story of superheroes, secrets have always been part of the DNA of The Incredibles. Identities, however, are out — original voice cast members Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible/Bob), Holly Hunter (Elastigirl/Helen), Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone/Lucius), and Sarah Vowell (Violet) are all returning for the June 15, 2018 sequel, with newcomer Huck Milner now stepping in to voice speedy pre-teen Dash.
On the plot front, a chain of events in Incredibles 2 sends Elastigirl into the center of the action while Mr. Incredible, at home in the family’s sleek new hideout headquarters, must contend with baby Jack-Jack’s burgeoning new powers, as revealed in November’s record-breaking teaser trailer.
“Helen’s appetite for adventure comes to the fore,” says Hunter. “Whereas before, she was driven to become Mrs. Incredible out of necessity, where she went into it to save her husband, I think this time she really meets her own ambition head-on. The ambition of being an adventure is something that we get to explore.”
For Hunter, recording the first Incredibles film was a mysterious, abstract experience, as it can often be in the lengthy, fluid process of feature animation; after seeing the “stunning” end result, the Oscar winner was more than eager to fall back into the mystery again, especially as Bird’s sequel story revealed itself over time. “It’s always interesting when you have a storyteller who can take off the way that Brad can, and in a way, I feel that his storytelling abilities acquired a different kind of lift-off with this movie,” says the actress. “This time was so much fun because I know Brad so much better, and the way the story unfolded for me in the recording sessions has been kind of stratospheric. Brad’s imagination veers off into intensely funny stuff, and I find that so fresh. And of course, that also includes the character development of Helen throughout this second movie. It just feels really rich, and like… this guy is a true feminist.”
Helen/Elastigirl’s journey is, as Hunter puts it, “full-fledged,” filling in certain blanks about the super-mom’s life that Hunter relished uncovering, including “a real incredible sense of competitiveness and ambition. She throws down the gauntlet in this one. It’s so much fun to see a woman luxuriating in those two arenas, because women have for so many generations been brought up to not be ambitious or to not be competitive, and it’s fun to see Helen basking in those two arenas in much the same way that we give men license to do.”
What’s also exciting is seeing Mrs. Incredible (who, let’s add, deserved far more cred for being a game-changing movie superhero back in 2004) reappear onscreen at a time when female icons like Wonder Woman and Battle of the Sexes’ Billie Jean King are still reverberating in cinemas. “It feels like women are reasserting their strength in different ways,” says Hunter. “I just think it’s beautiful that Incredibles 2 is allowing Mrs. Incredible to reveal all these other different colors of who she is.”
Make no mistake, though: Red is definitely her color.