A Behind-the-scenes Look at Ralph Breaks the Internet
It seems like only yesterday we were introduced to Litwak's Family Fun Center & Arcade and the characters of Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s 52nd animated feature film about a video game villain who wants to be a hero.
While on his quest to find The Medal of Heroes, Ralph unexpectedly met Vanellope, a glitched princess with the ambition of racing in the candy-coated kart-racing game Sugar Rush, and the two eventually became friends.
And now Ralph, Vanellope and pals are back in Ralph Breaks the Internet; the highly-anticipated sequel which sees Ralph and Vanellope head online to save the Sugar Rush game. Before the film hits screens, here is a chat with directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore on the making of the film, creating the internet like a city and bringing the Disney Princesses together.
Building the Story
“We weren’t gonna make a sequel unless there was a very good reason to do it,” said Johnston. That very good reason came around, said Moore, when the idea to set the story inside the internet was developed.
“We could immediately see the opportunities for comedy, for conflict between our two main characters,” said Moore. “That’s when we started to get really excited about this idea.”
Creating the world of the internet
The thought of building the massive, seemingly endless world that is the internet was daunting to the filmmakers.
“Realizing there was no actual reference or touchstone of how it could be a city,” Moore told us. “It was just servers and wires; we’re not going to set up a story in a skyscraper filled with boxes and wires that, though interesting, I think, wouldn’t be very visually compelling to watch.”
The amazing team of artists and designers working on the film however, helped make this impossible task seem less impossible.
The citizens of the internet
“When you think of the fact that the internet is made up of millions of websites, you start to envision that the internet world is similar to a major city such as New York or London or L.A., a place made up of different districts like a social media district or the shopping district or the financial district. But a city can’t operate without its citizens, of course,” added Moore.
The citizens of the internet in Ralph Breaks the Internet are split into two groups: the netizens and the net users. The net users are people like us, browsing the internet on a daily basis. In the film, these are represented by avatars. Netizens are permanent residents of the internet, and have a different look than the net users. “They work at the various websites and apps, and they are there to help the Net Users,” explained Moore.
The Disney Princesses
It is in Oh My Disney.com where Vanellope encounters the Disney Princesses’ online avatars, bringing the iconic characters together on screen for the first time.
Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), and Kelly Macdonald (Merida), along with Sarah Silverman (Vanellope) all reprised their roles and appeared together for the first time in 2017 at D23, the biennial event for members of the official Disney fan club.
It wasn’t hard to convince the actresses to take part - “Every actress loved the idea,” said Moore - and their involvement with their characters became clear once they began recording for the film.
“As we got to work with each one of them, it became really apparent to us that they really embodied those characters. It was amazing. After each recording session, we set apart a little time where the actress would sit with our animation department to talk about the characters and the approach that they have when they play the characters.”