Big Hero 6: meet Disney’s newest superheroes

The directors on Disney’s newest and most dysfunctional superheroes

Big Hero 6 teamBig Hero 6 focuses on robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), who learns to harness his genius – thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and their like-minded friends, adrenaline junkie GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (TJ Miller).

Tadashi creates the robot Baymax (Scott Adsit), whose primary function is to take care of people. However, when events take a devastating turn, Hiro is catapulted into the middle of a dangerous plot unfolding in the fictional city of San Fransokyo. Determined to save the day, he turns to Baymax, and transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes. Together, they go up against supervillain Yokai.

The film is directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, who respectively helmed the 2011 big-screen version of Winnie The Pooh and Bolt. Big Hero 6 is essentially a hybrid of
both sensibilities.

“There is some DNA that’s similar in the sense that a movie is always going to reflect the director at some point,” says Williams, “and this was always, by Donny’s design, going to be a movie with a lot of heart, but with action as well. I love action movies and great action scenes, so I think both in Bolt and Big Hero 6 there’s a very comedic and playful tone, but at the same time there are some really killer action scenes, which hopefully can stand up to the best you’ve ever seen.”

WilliaBig Hero 6 team 2ms describes its members all as being dysfunctional in one way or another. “I guess that’s because it’s more fun than watching a functional team,” Williams laughs. “For us, the team had to definitely sit on the spine of the story of a boy who has a major loss in his life and the robot who tries to heal him, and as far as the team dynamic goes, they’re all friends of Tadashi and they’re all super-smart science kids in their own right.

“Aside from Fred, who is more of a fanboy, they’re completely unlikely superheroes. At no point – again, aside from maybe Fred – did these guys imagine they would put on costumes and super suits and try to fight a supervillain. That was just never in their DNA, so they all come from a science background. That’s one of the things we’re kind of proud of; it’s all based on science and technology. Yes, we may have taken a few liberties with some of the tech, but we wanted to make sure it was researched and grounded in a certain reality.”

“They live in a world that is not filled with superheroes and supervillains,” Hall interjects, “so this is a very foreign and outlandish idea to them. But watching them one by one sort of embrace the notion of becoming a superhero team is a very fun part of the story.”

Elaborating on the technology aspect of the team, he details, “GoGo is kind of an adrenaline junkie, and she’s doing research into electric mag wheels attached to a bicycle, so the idea is that her physical energy gets converted into supersonic speed, and she’s dealing with low-friction or zero-friction mag wheels. Hiro takes that part and makes her sort of the vehicle; the wheels then attach to her. Honey Lemon is a chemist, so Hiro invents a sort of purse that allows her to whip up chemical concoctions on the fly, and they come out as balls that she can throw that are made up of any kind of chemical thing we can think of. Wasabi is researching into high-frequency lasers, and so he gets laser blades attached to his gloves. It’s all based on their science speciality at San Fransokyo Tech.”

Big Hero 6 will be released in cinemas on 30 January 2015. Keep up with the latest genre news with the new issue of SciFiNow.