Ralph Breaks The Internet Required An Online Research Trip

In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph and Vanellope need to keep Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush from being scrapped.  The duo journey into the Internet to find a rare replacement part that can fix her game. For the film, the directors took their animation team on a special research trip.

The Concept

Co-Directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, who helped make Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia, explained the process that brought Ralph Breaks the Internet to the big screen.  “We weren't going to make a sequel though unless there was a very good reason to do it. And for us that came when we started to talk about transporting these two misfits, misfit characters, from their small town, the arcade where they live, to the expansive world of the Internet. And we could immediately see the opportunities for comedy or conflict between our two main characters. And that's where we started to get really excited about this idea,” said Johnston.

The Research

“But the real work began when we had to start visualizing what does the actual world of the Internet look like? And how were we going to depict the expanse of the Internet in the film? We always start at the same place. What is that? Research. On Zootopia, our team took a research trip to Africa, to the Savannah.”

Related: Meet Taraji P. Henson's Ralph Breaks the Internet Character

Moore added, “On Moana, they immersed themselves in the culture of the South Pacific. And on Frozen, the team went to Norway.  For Ralph Breaks the Internet, our film, we did something even more extraordinary. We drove a whopping nine miles down the congestive 5 Freeway to this building in Downtown LA, One Wilshire Boulevard.  And while not necessarily as exotic as the South Pacific or Africa, believe it or not, the incredible thing about this building is that it houses all of the connections for any Internet communications in North America.”

“It’s true. On the inside of the building, there are miles and miles of wires and tens of thousands of servers that connect the world,” Johnston said. “So, basically, this building is literally filled from top to bottom with wires and boxes. But it was this research trip that began to inspire our version of what the Internet might look like. And when you think of the fact that the Internet is made up of millions of websites, you start to envision that the internet world is similar to major cities such as New York or London or LA. A place made up of different districts, like a social media district, or the shopping district, or the financial district. But a city can operate without that citizens, of course.”

The Film’s Internet

Moore explained, “In our Internet, the world is occupied by two distinct groups. There's what we call the Net Users, that's a group up on top. And then the Netizens, who are the folks on the bottom. And the Net Users are the Internet versions of you and me. They're the avatars of real-life people, as that person is exploring the Internet.”

He continued, “Now the Netizens, on the other hand, are the full-time citizens of the Internet. They work at the various websites and apps and they're there to help the Net Users. So, for example, let's say you go onto the Internet and you're looking for tacos in your neighborhood. Well, that means your avatar is visiting the sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor and a Netizen is there to offer some guidance in your search.”

An extremely funny example of this can be seen in the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet. The Netizen KnowsMore, a search engine played by Alan Tudyk, constantly interrupts Ralph trying to guess his question.  Just like a real internet search engine will try to with auto-fill. Tudyk previously played the villainous King Candy in the original Wreck-It Ralph.

More: Designing Ralph Breaks the Internet's Comfy Princess Outfits

Key Release Dates
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet/Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018
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