A while back, Walt Disney Animation Studios invited AllEars.Net to their lovely Burbank studio to take an early look at “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” their 57th film and sequel to the hit 2012 film “Wreck-It Ralph.”
[Unattributed photos and video provided by Disney]
Starting off the morning was Producer Clark Spencer, Director Rich Moore, and Director/Writer Phil Johnston who showed us some clips from the still-in-progress film and talked about revisiting the world of “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Producer Clark Spencer, Director Phil Johnston and Director Rich Moore
According to the team, they had no intention of making a sequel without a good reason. One appeared when they came up with the concept of taking the main characters out of their small arcade and into the metropolis of the internet.
The original voice cast will return, including Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz and John C. Reilly as Ralph. A new addition to the film is Taraji P. Henson as “Yesss,” a trendsetting algorithm (pictured below) on an influencer website known as “BuzzTube.”
Research was performed to discover what the quintessential internet experience is for participants: Cat videos.
Where did they do much of their research? Well, while the “Moana” team took trips to the South Pacific, and the “Frozen” people went to Norway, the “Ralph Breaks the Internet” folks went to Downtown LA to check out the building housing all of the internet connections in North America.
In the internet of “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” there are two distinct groups of citizens: Net-users (internet avatars of humans online) and Netizens (full-time workers who assist Net-users at various websites.)
The sequel picks up right after the events of the first film. The inciting event for “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is when an excited customer accidentally breaks the steering wheel off of “Sugar Rush.” Because the manufacturer of the game has long since gone out of business, the only replacement parts available cost more than the game makes in a year. If a solution cannot be found, Vanellope will lose her game and become homeless. In a desperate attempt to find a replacement steering wheel, Vanellope and Ralph take to the internet. Their search takes them to eBay, which is represented as an auction house.
The voice of the eBay auctioneer is played by reigning US champion auctioneer Brian Curless (listen for his voice selling the painting of “a sorrowful kitten”).
Compounding the problem of finding the part is accumulating the money to pay for it. This is where Yesss enters their lives, as she explains to them how real money can be earned by the creation of viral content on the web.
The filmmakers felt they had a responsibility to show both the good and bad of the internet, and consequently Ralph quickly learns one of its first rules: Never read the comments.
In one segment, Vanellope takes refuge in an off-limits area in the website “Oh My Disney” (described as a cross between Disneyland and Comic-Con) and encounters some familiar faces.
The original actresses who voiced the princesses came back to record for “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and made an appearance at last year’s D23 Expo.
The filmmakers’ earlier success with “Zootopia” proved to them that audiences would embrace films dealing with more sophisticated issues such as racism, and emboldened them to take on the emotional costs of internet trolling and bullying in “Ralph.”
“The first movie wraps up pretty nicely with Ralph’s line, which is ‘if this kid likes me, how bad could I be?’ which, at the time we made it, felt like a very sweet sentiment. However, as we started poking around at that idea, it’s actually a little bit dysfunctional. Ralph is defining himself based on how another person feels about him. And so we were like well, Ralph still has some work to do…”
“And what is the worst place you could put a person who defines himself by what others think of him?”
Take a look at this new trailer for “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which is due in theaters on Nov. 21.
Are you excited for this sequel? Let us know in the comments below! And if you can’t get enough of Wreck-It Ralph, be sure to check out the news about his just-announced upcoming hyper-reality experience, “Ralph Breaks VR.”