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Sure, Avengers: Infinity War is making a killing at the box office right now, and Deadpool 2 is right around the corner, but there's another superhero movie set to debut later this summer. We're referring to Incredibles 2, and there's a lot of excitement to see what Brad Bird can do with these beloved Pixar characters. Ahead of the film's release, CinemaBlend recently had a chance to chat with Bird about how he came up with the Parr family's powers, and he told us that he landed on their abilities by not overthinking the uniqueness factor. Bird explained:
When I was first starting to work on the project, long before Pixar or anything like that... I went to a comic book shop and thought, 'I've got to think up new powers.' And after about a half an hour in the comic book shop, I realized every power has been done by somebody somewhere, even if it's only self-published, 100 issues in Ohio. Everything has been done. And then, right after that, I had a little epiphany. I realized I'm not very interested in the powers. That's not the part that interests me. What interests me is the idea of having a family and having there be a reason to hide the powers.
Once I had that insight into what I wanted to do, I picked the powers based on who they were in the family. And so, men are always expected to be strong, so I had Bob have super strength. Women or mothers are always pulled in a million different directions, so I had [Helen] be elastic. Teenagers are insecure and defensive, so I had Violet have force fields and invisibility. 10-year-olds are energy balls that can't be stopped. And babies are unknown. Maybe they have no powers, maybe they have all powers, we don't know. So that's what Jack-Jack was. He was seemingly the first normal one in the family. And then at the end of Incredibles, you find out that he's a wildcard and that he's sort of a Swiss army knife of powers.
Ultimately, this seems to explain why the Incredibles have relatively standard powers that feel reminiscent of other beloved superhero teams like the Fantastic Four or the Justice League. Brad Bird bent over backward trying to come up with creative abilities for the Parr family, but once he found himself face-to-face with the sheer saturation of comic books and superpowers in pop culture, he decided to focus less on the powers and more on the family's need to keep the skills secret. However, despite Brad Bird's lack of interest in the complexity of the powers of the Parr family, he made sure to note that each ability would have a thematic relevance to each character. In fact, each member of the Incredibles ensemble has a power that embodies who they are and how they fit into the overarching structure of the family.
The result of this decision is that each character has a power that ties into their respective arcs. Helen's ability to remain flexible quite literally proves to be her biggest strength as a mother and a hero, while Violet's insecurities as a teenage girl translate to defensive powers that protect her family. Now, with Incredibles 2 right around the corner, one of the most interesting elements to watch out for will be how Jack-Jack's skillset evolves as he becomes a more prominent member of the family dynamic.