Why John C. Reilly Really Feels Emotional About Ralph’s Arc In Ralph Breaks The Internet

Ralph and Vanellope in Ralph Breaks the Internet

John C. Reilly has taken a special ownership over Wreck-it Ralph. It's rare that an actor in a Walt Disney Animation feature gets the chance to return to voice a character (unlike Pixar, Disney hardly ever greenlights sequels to its properties), so Reilly was protective of where Wreck-it Ralph went in the new sequel, and what happened to this tender lug. During a recent conversation with CinemaBlend, Reilly told us why he was emotionally attached to Ralph in Ralph Breaks the Internet, elaborating:

I really feel for Ralph in this story. Because, if you remember in the first one, Vanellope is really his first friend. He has not had a friend. Can you imagine going through life never having a friend? So you can imagine why he's so possessive about that friendship. It's the one person who understood him and likes him. Although he and Felix are pretty friendly by the end of the first one. They're more like work friends. [Laughs]

The world of Wreck-it Ralph owes itself to a fictional video game. In it, Ralph (John C. Reilly) was the villain who destroyed buildings, and players played as Fix-it Felix (Jack McBrayer), a magical fix-it man.

The concept gets blown out to much bigger proportions in Ralph Breaks the Internet, as Ralph and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) leave their arcade for the World Wide Web, in search of a replacement part for Vanellope's busted game, Sugar Rush.

But the core of the duo's friendship is very much the beating heart of Ralph Breaks the Internet, and as the story progresses, some interesting developments occur, which we asked John C. Reilly about.

The rest of this is a mild spoiler. Nothing major, but stop reading now if you don't want to know ANYTHING about Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Ralph, in this sequel, is very insecure. He's constantly worried that Vanellope is going to leave him, probably for the much cooler racing star, Shank (Gal Gadot). It's unfounded, but these insecurities create issues for the duo in the story, so we asked Reilly about letting Ralph's insecurities become a problem, and he clarified:

His insecurities become the antagonist of the story. Ralph, himself, ends up being one of the heroic elements in the story. I think that's a really cool thing about the story. We tell the truth about friendship. And we tell the truth about people. It's not just some idealized, funny cartoon world. The issues of friendship between Ralph and Vanellope are real issues! Anyone who has had a friend, a best friend in high school that went to a different college than you, you know exactly what we're talking about in this movie. Or anyone who has ever had a kid turn into a teenage, then turn into a college student and leave the house, that's familiar territory for people. I was really proud that we were honest about that.

So there's a lot to chew on in this sequel, beyond the thrill of Sugar Rush racing, and brand placement in Oh My Disney. You can start digging into the material in Ralph Breaks the Internet starting tonight. And listen to John C. Reilly talking about friendship in our exclusive clip:

Ralph Breaks the Internet takes neighborhood theaters by storm this Thanksgiving weekend. Read our review of the animated sequel before you head out!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.