It has been over three years since it was first revealed that Wreck-It Ralph 2 was in development. The sequel to the original Wreck-It Ralph was later confirmed by voice actor John C. Reilly in 2015, but since then there has been little in the way of news on the movie.
That changed earlier today (at the time of writing this), when Wreck-It Ralph 2 got an official release date for March of 2018, bringing the long-anticipated sequel back into the public consciousness. The original movie's co-writer, Phil Johnston, teased the sequel's setting by stating "The world of the internet is the perfect place to send Ralph and Vanellope." Moving the story from classic arcade machines would be a big shift for the movie, but without more details it' difficult to tell just how big a shift it could be.
Thanks to comments from director Rich Moore in an interview with Collider, there are now some additional details about Wreck-It Ralph 2, including when and where it will be taking place. Among the revelations are that the sequel will move the world of Wreck-It Ralph into the present, forgoing the more retro setting of the original:
"It will take place in current day. It’ll be just like the first one. So it will be exactly four years, or no, six years after the first Wreck-It Ralph. The current day timeline."
That does not mean that the movie will be unrecognizable, though. Moore explains that there will still be references to old school video games despite the contemporary setting:
"With the sequel, I’m finding out we don’t want to just do more of the same, but also we don’t want to do something so different that it doesn’t even feel like it’s from the first movie or doesn’t relate to the first one. So we’re really trying to find that balance of how can we have those great kind of references to retro arcade culture but also have it feel that this is also a contemporary world with newer games, newer – everything you can find on the Internet. Or just about everything that can be represented in a family film. [laughs] We’re trying to kind of make that balance of both."
With the move to the modern era, the Wreck-It Ralph 2 filmmakers have the opportunity to bring a whole host of new characters to the movie that did not appear in the first one. According to Moore, being able to successfully place retro characters within the narrative of the first movie made it easier to negotiate newer additions this time around:
"It was very interesting going to the people at NAMCO, people at Sony who own things like Q*Bert and trying to explain things like what this movie was about and how Pac-Man played a part and Q*Bert and Tapper. So like you say now that we actually have something that we can point to and say, 'okay, it’s going to be a continuation of this movie,' hopefully it will be an easier task to line up some cameos and other video game stars."
With the new setting and potential for new characters, one big question is who will be returning to the cast. While many of the ancillary characters from the original might not make the cut, the main characters will still be there:
"Well, definitely Ralph and Vanellope are back, of course. And our supporting cast is, we are in the process of landing all those people again. If it were up to me, every character would have another scene or a moment because I love all those characters. I think it would be tough to bring King Candy/Turbo back from the dead, because that seemed pretty final, the way he went, but you never know. So, I think it’s looking right now like it’s going to be a big cast."
The trick for any sequel is to provide audiences with elements of what they loved about the original while not just being a tired re-tread. Based on Moore's comments, it sounds like that is Disney's plan for Wreck-It Ralph 2. Whether or not they succeed remains to be seen, but audiences will find out when it hits theaters in spring of 2018.
Wreck-It Ralph 2 opens in U.S. theaters on March 9th, 2018.