Disney + Marvel = Big Hero 6 Movie! / by Marian Streeter

Information about a Big Hero 6 movie has just been released recently. Looks like an anime, right? Chigaimasu! It’s actually the name of a superteam part of the Marvel comic universe originally created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau back in the late 1990’s. It’s about a group of characters named Silver Samurai, GoGo Tomago, Honey Lemon, Hiro Takachiho, Sunfire and Baymax who form a super-hero team at the request of the Japanese government , which personally funds their crime fighting efforts. Other members of the story include Wasabi-No-Ginger, Fred, Ebon Samurai, and Sunpyre. (Interesting names, no?) The team first appeared in Sunrise and Big Hero 6 #1 (1998) and quite a bit of interest buzzed from fans about the new superteam. That issue launched a separate mini-series for the Big Hero 6 fighters. The most recent 5 issue mini-series by Marvel Comics was released in September 2008.

Now, times are different. Marvel Entertainment is an asset wholly owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. In other words, it’s been absorbed by Disney and you know what that means... More money for more movies to be cranked out of the Marvel Comic universe and onto the big screen. And animation, Disney’s specialty, is no exception.

Big Hero 6 was finally announced by Disney that an animated film adaptation of the comic is in the works and will be released on November 7, 2014. This will be Walt Disney Animation Studio’s first Marvel-based animation production.

So, what does this mean for fans though? Many are excited but just as many are in the dark about it. Even though the comic has a following, just the name of it has people who do not follow the Marvel universe wondering, what is “Big Hero 6? I’ve never read or even heard of it!” Some fear that Disney taking a chance with what seems to be an obscure title, as their first animated movie of Marvel characters, will end up being a bust. Others believe it’s good exposure for the underrated title. And it’s got many of us anime and manga fans confused, due to the Asian feel of the artwork (which I also put up here to confuse you as well!) and the fact that Disney is an ‘animation’ company. They would try to animate it in a 2D Japanese anime kind of way, right? Since the superheroes are state-sanctioned by the Japanese government... and the style... and... Wrong!

According to Comic Vile.com, “the movie will feature CG-animation. Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter was pitched the idea for Big Hero 6 with a story containing 'Disney-friendly elements - a child hero, humor and a distinctive tone that played well with the animation studio's many Japanophiles." Yes, Japanophiles.

“[It’s] an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo.” Yes, San Fransokyo, a sort of neo-fusion of San Francisco and Tokyo. Check the BG concept art : 

“With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city!” Speaking of city, a 30 second ‘first look’ footage was released for this film: I have to admit this backdrop of the city looks quite stunning.

Personally, whether it’s anime-styled or not, I would love to see what this would look like as 2D animation more over 3D animation and apparently I’m not the only one. But Disney’s more of a 3D based studio now. And the work on Pixar's Incredibles was... well, incredible. We’ll see how the company handles this new kind of action-packed endeavor. It might be a big hit.

What do you think?