Even though the filmmakers were still hard at work, finishing Ralph Breaks the Internet, a.k.a. Wreck-It Ralph 2, in time for its November 21st release date, they invited members of the media out to Walt Disney Animation Studios on August 1st to preview various parts of the film, in layout form, with rough animation, and with some final shots. Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, the new film will see best friends Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) leave the safety of Litwak’s video arcade behind, as they venture into the world of the internet in search of a way to repair Sugar Rush, so that Vanellope can return to her video game.
With a variety of panels showcasing how the story developed, figuring out how to bring the world wide web to life, the way they designed the population of the internet, and creating the Oh My Disney sequence, we were able to get a feel for what the movie would be, knowing that there were still aspects that we’d have to wait to discover in the finished product. Here is a collection of 20 things to know, from everything we learned about the highly anticipated sequel, and click here for my interview with the filmmakers.
When Wreck-It Ralph opened on November 2, 2012, it had the highest opening weekend ever for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film, at the time of its release. Now, Ralph Breaks the Internet is the 57th animated feature from Disney Studios, which is 95 years old, this year.
- Directors Ralph Moore and Phil Johnston started talking about revisiting the characters of the first film, back in 2014. That’s when they wondered if there were more stories to tell with Ralph and Vanellope, but needed a really good reason to make a sequel. Then, they came up with taking the characters out of their small arcade and into the expansive world of the internet, which had opportunities for comedy and conflict.
- As the film developed and evolved, there were about 15 story artists on the story team. Even though they storyboarded 153 sequences for the film, there are 45 sequences total, in the final film. There were 7,883 total sequence versions and 283,839 various storyboards drawn for the various versions of the movie. They’ve had 10 screenings of the film, including an audience preview.
- One of the early story ideas for the film had Vanellope getting sucked up into the internet. She had her own website, called Vanellope.com, she was giving her own Ted Talk, and she had changed quite a bit, almost forgetting who she was. In that version, KnowsMore was a huge character, and Ralph went to jail after mistaking going viral for being a virus. Ralph broke out of jail with KnowsMore, who was a broken search engine, and they partnered up, in search of Vanellope.
There was another early version of the film where Ralph became enamored of himself, and was drunk on his own fame and popularity, and there was an internet supercop villain, who was like an anti-virus.
- Ultimately, they realized that this is the story of two friends who go from a small town to a big city. They have two different journeys ahead, so they’ll have to see if their friendship can last, or if they’ll be torn apart. The story of the friendship between Ralph and Vanellope is the True North.
- Ralph, Vanellope, Felix and Calhoun are back, along with the original voice talent of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch. Additionally, there will be new characters added to the story, including Yesss and KnowsMore (a Netizen who’s the mascot for his own website).
- Yesss, voiced by Taraji P. Henson, is an algorithm that’s the heart and soul of the trend-making site BuzzzTube. If it’s cool, trendy and now, Yesss has discovered it and shared it with the world. She keeps up with the latest trends, so she constantly shifts the look of her hair and her wardrobe changes from scene to scene. She’ll be important on Ralph and Vanellope’s journey through the internet.
- To make their animated version of the internet feel like the internet that we use, every day, Moore and Johnston asked their animation team to explore the majesty and grandeur of the internet and do whatever they wanted, with no borders and no limits. They also took a research trip to the building at One Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Los Angeles because it houses all of the connections for any internet communications in North America. On the inside of the building, there are miles and miles of wires, and tens of thousands of servers that connect the world.