Hollywood likes to make sequels. The fact is, sequels make money. If they didn’t, the movie industry wouldn’t make them. The unfortunate part of so many sequels, prequels and spinoffs is many of them feel forced and unnecessary. Did we really need a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman? Of course not.
But the moment director Rich Moore’s Wreck-It Ralph ended back in 2012, I wanted more. I loved the characters and the great cameos that made me laugh out loud. I was ready for further adventures because I grew up loving arcade games and I felt like what we saw in Wreck-It Ralph only scratched the surface of what the characters could do.
However, if you look at Walt Disney Animation’s history, the studio is actually extremely selective about sequels. Sure, the studio has made a number of sequels that go straight to home video, but those films are never in theaters. If you look at theatrical sequels by Walt Disney Animation, I think they’ve only done The Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia 2000. So as much as I wanted a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, I wasn’t sure it would ever get made.
But over the last year or two, John C. Reilly has talked about a follow-up film. That Disney was developing a sequel had been an almost unspoken thing that everyone knew about, but it was never official … until now.
This morning Walt Disney Animation officially announced the untitled Wreck-It Ralph sequel will hit theaters March 9, 2018 and that the team from the original film will reunite for the follow-up, including director Rich Moore and producer Clark Spencer. Phil Johnston (writer, Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia) will join Moore as director and a writer on the project.
A few days ago, I landed an exclusive interview with Rich Moore to talk about the sequel. While the story is still under wraps, besides Ralph breaking the internet, I was able to ask Moore a ton of other questions about when they started working on the story and script, the chances they might call it Super Wreck-It Ralph, why he wanted to make the sequel, future cameos, which characters are back, and more. Additionally, I’ve been asking him if TRON would make a cameo since before the first Wreck-It Ralph came out. While he wasn’t in the first movie, Moore says, “as of right now, I can tell you that there is a nod to TRON.” Needless to say, I’m excited.
Check out what Moore had to say below.
COLLIDER: From what I understand, sequel’s coming out March of 2018, Ralph breaks the Internet. Let’s start with what year does the film take place in?
RICH MOORE: Well, 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.
Have you decided to use the title Super Wreck-It Ralph?
MOORE: You know what, it is definitely on the board. Since the day you said that, it was like, that’s a really good title. The one thing is because it’s so about the Internet and less about arcade games, it might not be the perfect fit. But spiritually, it is my favorite frontrunner right now. But I’m not sure if it’s going to make the cut, man. But it’s definitely in the running.
If you really look at the history of Disney animation, they tend to not make many sequels. They’re making Frozen 2, but besides that, there’s very few. So was there a lot of debate internally about making a sequel or was it pretty much the reaction from fans was like “oh, wait a minute – there’s a demand for this.”
MOORE: I think, and you’re right, I think Rescuers Down Under might be the only sequel that the studio has done, and like you said, Frozen 2, we’re going to do that one. But this came from two things: the fans, like you said, really enjoying the first film and then just from myself and the crew that worked on the first one, we had a really, really good time making the film. And we really fell in love with the characters, we fell in love with the world. And as soon as the film was finished, I said to my producer, Clark Spencer, like “man, if it were up to me, I would be jumping into another Wreck-It Ralph movie immediately.” Just because I love everything about the first film. Selfishly, it would be so much fun to work with all of those people again. And I had mentioned the same thing to Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, our leaders here at the studio and they said, “well, why not? Let’s do another one.” It’s the type of world that feels like there’s plenty to be explored beyond what we saw in the first movie. And the audience seems to really like it, I think it just seemed kind of like an easy decision to make.
One of the things about the first movie is you had tons of cameos. And I would imagine that while tons of people said yes, you’re still creating this IP from the ground up, people might be nervous, I would imagine now, whatever you want to use, people would be completely on board with. Because they understand the story you’re trying to make.
MOORE: 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.
Where are you in the production process? How long have you been recording voices, how long have you actually been working on this?
MOORE: We’ve been working on it for about two years now. I had started on it pretty much right after the first one, to tell you the truth. Maybe it took about a year just to kind of collect my thoughts on it, but working in earnest on it, I would say it’d be two to two and a half years. And before a little film called Zootopia came into my life, we were working on the screenplay. And we had actually written a first draft of the script. And that was with myself and with Phil Johnston who’s our writer from the original Wreck-It Ralph and co-writer on Zootopia. Phil is actually coming on board as my co-director on this one because so much of the first movie was from his voice, I felt like it’s a good match for the two of us to be directing the second one together. So we had a script, a first draft of a screenplay right before I jumped onto Zootopia in the fall of 2014, and after Zootopia was done we did a table read like last December. And we’ve been working on the story process right now. We’re boarding the movie. We’ve been doing that since around the time that Zootopia was released. So we’re right in the thick of storyboarding the film right now.
I know the way the animation process works at Disney and Pixar. Have you guys gone through some of those crazy radical changes during developing the script or is the first draft very similar to what you’re doing now?
MOORE: Well, the first draft, we’ve made some pretty big changes from the table read to now. Not huge ones, not sweeping changes that happened on Zootopia where we flipped who the main character was from Nick to Judy, but we’re definitely trying to take what we learned about Zootopia of getting things up early, “being wrong early” is an expression that we like to use a lot. Just so we really hit the ground running on this one. Since we kind of know our characters, and we know a bit of a world from the first movie. Hopefully that’ll give us a leg up as we go into what is always a very arduous production process on our films.
Are you going to manage to get TRON in this movie?
MOORE: Well, I remember you talked about it a lot. There’s so much of you in this, Steven. From our conversations. You know, I think like, “Super Wreck-It Ralph is a great title,” and even like bringing up TRON, because I loved that game too, as a teenager. And we weren’t able to work it into the first one, and as of right now, I can tell you that there is a nod to TRON. If it will make it to the very end of the process, that’s always part of our journey. But definitely I’m a fan of that game and of those films, so it would be really nice to have it in.
Just because the game grid in TRON, this is just me, and this might be a really stupid thing, but trying to put Ralph inside of a lightcycle, you know… That’s a great gag. Or could be a great gag.
MOORE: It could be. I like how you think!
One of the things people loved about the first film were the vintage games and the arcade aspect, so how much of that is still in the sequel or is it Ralph going into the real world or exploring beyond the arcade?
MOORE: Right, and we definitely want to include a lot of that. Because that is a time period of video games that’s really near and dear to my heart, like growing up during that era of arcade games. So we want to represent that, because that’s a big part of our world with the first one, I don’t want to – 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.
You had a lot of great characters in the first film, which characters can you confirm are coming back?
MOORE: 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. I like making films with interesting characters and with a big, fun cast of different people. So we’re having a really good time of putting together who’s going to come back from the first one and who are the new characters that they’re going to meet.
One of the things that I took away from Big Hero 6 and Zootopia was just truly how astounding technology and animation has become. And the world creation in both of those films was exceptional. How are you going to incorporate, or are you planning to incorporate this amazing world building technology in the sequel. And how does it compare to the first film?
MOORE: Well, you nailed it. Because since the first Wreck-It Ralph, our technology team has created software that can do amazing things that we couldn’t have even done in 2012. On the first Ralph movie. So when I mention to them, “well, I’m thinking about the characters leaving that kind of sleepy arcade world and traveling to the Internet,” they said, “well, this is perfect for our software.” Because it’s like just what you say, like the world of the Internet. The artists here, the technicians, I can see them starting to think like, “oh my god, what would that look like? It’s so huge.” You know? And just the way that people speak of the Internet as just this colossal universe of websites and apps, places that a person can go. It feels like tailormade for this new technology that we have. So I’m really looking forward to pushing that technology to go beyond what we did in Big Hero 6 or Zootopia. And those were kind of building more realistic cities that we would see in our natural world. So this time we’re going to take that same technology and build a very fantastic world. A world of the Internet and what that would look like. And try to capture, for the first time in a big movie, we are now growing up with the Internet and seeing what it is, and trying to kind of visualize that for the first time and send characters into that world.