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How Jack-Jack was made even cuter for the sequel and more super insights from The Art of Incredibles 2

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Jun 15, 2018

Pixar's Parr family is finally back in theaters in the long-awaited sequel to 2004's The Incredibles.

Opening right where we left off, Incredibles 2 finds Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet, (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), Jack-Jack, and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) facing off against the subterranean Underminer (John Ratzenberger). However, society, it seems, isn't yet ready for the return of "Supers" into the public eye, due to all the property damage their battles create. 

Enter Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a Mad Man-esque telecommunications mogul that wants to restore the public's face in superheroes. If only heroes hadn't been made illegal, his parents might still be alive. He recruits Elastigirl for a massive PR campaign to undo the legislation that bars those with special powers to fight crime in the open. All of this is placed in jeopardy upon the appearance of the Screenslaver, a villain who can hypnotize anyone looking at a monitor. 

Ambitious, fun, and nostalgic, Incredibles 2 is a sequel 14 years in the making. A lot has changed since 2004, and much of it has been documented in The Art of Incredibles 2 publication released by Chronicle Books and edited by Karen Paik. In it, you'll find some really amazing sketches, drawings, and insights from writer/director Brad Bird and his expert crew at Pixar.

SYFY WIRE got its hands on a copy and found some behind-the-scenes stories and explanations that might interest you...

**Spoiler Warning: There are minor spoilers for Incredibles 2 below**

Jack-Jack's cutness was ramped up:

It's hard to imagine that the youngest member of the Parr clan could be any cuter, but Incredibles 2 accomplishes just that. Jack-Jack plays a big part of the story, as he finally comes into his powers, which prove to be multitudinous. He can turn into a demon baby, set himself ablaze, shoot lasers from his eyes, multiply himself, travel through solid objects, and disappear completely into another dimension. 

According to Character Arts Director Matt Nolte, advances in animation technology allowed the crew to make the baby even more adorable:

"Jack-Jack, for example, looks more like Tony Fucile's original drawings for the character. He was always cute, but he's even cuter now." 

Oh, and that racoon fight was meant for the first movie, but was cut for obvious pacing reasons. It was Story Artist Teddy Newton's idea and Bird promised that if a sequel was ever made, they'd include it. We're so glad they did!

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Disney/Pixar

Winston Deavor originally had a brother:

Winston is like Don Draper without all the womanizing and casual alcoholism. Early on in the film's development, he had a brother named Nelson. The character was changed to his inventor sister Evelyn when the crew "realized we had more opportunities for the character (and the film) if the character was female," says Story Supervisor Ted Mathot. 

Nelson wasn't entirely scrapped, he was just relegated to a different role, that of the new Super known as He-Lectrix (voiced by Phil LaMarr; second from the left in the image below), the dude who can control and summon electricity. If you look at him closely, you can see the one-time family resemblance between him and Winston (the second image below). 

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Pixar/Disney

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Disney/Pixar

Hitchcock's influence on Screenslaver:

At one point in the movie, Elastigirl finds the Screenslaver's hideout by using a nifty tracking device designed by Evelyn. As she skulk's around the villains lair during the nail-biting sequence, we just know someone's gonna pop out to surprise her, and not in the good birthday party kind of way.

The scene originally called for an un-costumed Screenslaver to come home and make a break for it when he sees Helen in his apartment. Eventually, it was turned into Helen being led into a trap, something that was directly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's method of ramping up suspense. 

"That led to a discussion of Hitchcock films and the notion of making the scene a mousetrap," says Story Artist Derek Thompson. "When the audience knows the villain is lying in wait for Helen, the whole scene becomes more intense."

How a lava-spitting hero was inspired by The Sopranos:

The hero known as Reflux (Paul Eiding) is a senior citizen who can vomit forth boiling hot lava from his mouth. Turns out, he's not just some loony geriatric with some delusions of grandeur. He's an excellent foil for the character of Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and was surprisingly inspired by secondary characters from HBO's The Sopraonos

"I always liked how The Sopranos was populared by very real-looking secondary mafia figures," says Story Artist Kevin O'Brien. "They didn't look like they could punch through walls; they had beer guts and didn't eat well, and yet, they were still intimidating! I thought Reflux as being that kind of character." 

The Parrs' new home was based on the work of Frank Gehry:

Frank Ghery, 89, is a very famous architect known for the sharp angles and triangles in his structures. His style was used for the new house the Parrs move to after theirs is destroyed by Syndrome's jet in the first movie. The home is owned by Winston Deaver, so you know it looks expensive and has all the amenities one would never need, like pools hidden in the floor. It also has a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater going on, with a part of the house jutting over the edge and ostentatious waterfalls right beneath it.

Using these architectural giants as a base, the animators wanted to design the house in such a way that it gives off a sort of "uncomfortable" vibe when looked at. "The idea was that over the course of the story, the family would realize, 'This house is everything we aren't," says Previs Lead Pgilip Metschan. 

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Disney/Pixar

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Disney/Pixar

Edna's fashionable feud:

This is alluded to in Incredibles 2, but not in-depth. When Elastigirl gets her brand-new super suit, someone mentions that it was designed by the famous designer known as Galbaki. When Bob later shows up at Edna Mode's house, seeking a babysitter for the precocious Jack-Jack, she complains that they didn't come to her for the suit. After creating a state-of-the-art suit for the baby, Edna (voiced by Bird) states that Bob can pay her back by giving her the exclusive rights to design suits for the entire family once Supers become legal again. 

The character of Galbaki was meant to be a self-centered designer who cared more about his brand than creating functional and comfortable suits for heroes. He and Edna are complete opposites; he prefers to work with models while she loathes them, his costumes are clunky and contain superfluous add-ons while she's about doing more with less.  

"This very distinct difference is what strains E's relationship with Galbaki -- it's a matter of respect, or lack thereof," says Character Designer Deanna Marsigliese.

There was a cut scene where Edna is at a fashion show, flaunting her designs for conventional models since heroes are illegal. One model would be wearing a top-heavy outfit meant to accommodate the super-strength of Mr. Incredible and would not be able to stand up straight, allowing Edna to declare that working with Supers is so much better. 

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Credit: Chronicle Books/Disney/Pixar