Some viewers are interpreting Incredibles 2 as Pixar's response to the #MeToo movement, but director Brad Bird states any connection the sequel has to the current social climate is pure coincidence. As has become par for the course with the studio's followups, Incredibles 2 features a role reversal, with Helen Parr taking center stage as the face of a new initiative from telecommunications company DevTech. Elastigirl is being called upon to change the public perception of supers, hopefully getting the law against them repealed in the process.
Incredibles 2 is coming out at a time where diversity and gender equality are huge discussion points in the industry, so for many it's exciting to see such a focus be placed on Helen this time around. However, those who want to read more into the plot specifics and view it as Pixar making a statement of some kind may want to check out Bird's comments on that matter, as it wasn't the intention of the filmmakers during development.
Screen Rant had an opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios for an Incredibles 2 press day earlier this month, and during a press conference, Bird was asked about diversity in the Incredibles films. He brought up the #MeToo movement in his response, claiming Helen's part as the lead was there from the beginning:
We are just telling the story we want to tell. Some people have remarked - we just started talking about this - that we geared this towards the #MeToo movement because it’s got a female lead and all this stuff. I had that idea right on the heels of the first film. That’s the oldest idea in this movie, that and exploring Jack Jack’s powers. We don’t really respond to whatever the thing of the moment is because our lead times are so long. We just gotta tell the stories we want to tell.
As Bird indicates, animated movies take a very long time to complete. For context, he started writing the Incredibles 2 script back in 2015, years before the Harvey Weinstein scandal rocked Hollywood. Campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp were not prevalent a few years ago, so it would have been difficult for Bird to integrate them into the narrative. If he had tried to incorporate any "timely" social commentary, it may have been outdated already given how quickly things change in the real world. The best course of action for Bird and his team is to just go out and tell a fun, entertaining story that'll ideally hold up no matter what era it's viewed in. The Incredibles is renowned for its use of ever-relatable familial themes, which is something Bird maintained for the sequel.
It's also important to remember that in the first film, Elastigirl was already a strong character, so there's no real shift here. She was a world-famous superhero in the years before her marriage to Mr. Incredible, and even saved him from captivity in the third act. Giving her a greater share of the spotlight in Incredibles 2 is simply a natural way for the franchise to progress. There's a clear, plot-driven reason for DevTech launching their plan with her, so there aren't any political agendas at play. Of course, moviegoers can appreciate the coincidence, but that's all it is.
- Incredibles 2 (2018) release date: Jun 15, 2018