It is the day fans have been asking for since 2004, and for many years, it was a day that I was sure would never happen.
In the decade since the first film was released, Brad Bird has probably answered the question about whether or not there would be an “Incredibles” sequel a hundred times, and each time, he's been very blunt. The problem was always coming up with a story that was worth telling again with those characters. It would be easy to crank out a dozen movies where we just spend time with Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet, and the deeply freaky Jack Jack, and I'm sure audiences would have been happy to watch those films.
But Brad Bird is not a guy who had a lot of patience for business as usual. Before “The Iron Giant,” I knew Brad primarily from his work on “Family Dog” and as a screenwriter, and I got to know him as a film fan because he was a regular at Dave's Video. Talking to him about the business twenty years ago, he already had a fairly healthy sense of disgust towards the calculated business side of things, and it was obvious that for him, story and character are everything. He wants to tell good stories. He wants to make things that connect with people on some real level. He is not the guy you go to if you want someone to churn out indifferent product to satisfy the stockholders.
It just so happens, though, that Bird's films have found an audience, and that he is now in a position to develop material the way he wants to develop it. I have complete faith in “Tomorrowland” because I know he wouldn't have made it unless he really loved it. When he has repeatedly said that he didn't have the right idea for “The Incredibles 2,” I believed him.
And if Robert Iger says today that “The Incredibles 2” is happening, then I have to believe that Bird finally found a story he wanted to tell, and that is exciting news. Today's announcement was made at the annual shareholders meeting, which is also attended by D23 members, and while Iger didn't say Bird's name today, I find it very hard to believe Pixar would move ahead on the sequel without Bird's involvement. I would guess that they could do so contractually, but Bird's relationship with these guys pre-dates Pixar and they are a tight-knit group of artists. It seems impossible to me that they would burn that relationship down just to slap a number on one of their IPs.
I haven't been crazy about Pixar's sequels so far. They announced the inevitable “Cars 3” today as well, and we've still got “Finding Dory” coming. But just because I don't care for “Cars 2” doesn't mean “The Incredibles 2” is going to be automatically a weaker film. Hopefully they'll have more details about this one soon, because it's just leapt onto the list of the things I am most curious about in production, and I can't wait to see where Bird pushes the genre next time.
“Tomorrowland” is in theaters May 22, 2015.