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Fan Expo 2018: What We Learned About Ralph Breaks The Internet

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2012’s Wreck-it-Ralph—a movie about an arcade game villain (John C. Reilly) who wants to defy expectations and become a hero—celebrated gaming and fan culture in a way no other Disney film had done before. This year, Ralph Breaks the Internet (Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first sequel since Fantasia 2000) will take things ever further by bringing both Ralph and Disney fans on a journey through the wild, thrilling, unpredictable world of the Internet.

Ahead of its November 21 release, Ralph Breaks the Internet producer Clark Spencer stopped by Fan Expo Canada to unveil some exclusive footage and talk about the time and effort that went into making Ralph a worthwhile sequel. We can’t reveal everything Spencer showed us, but here a few tidbits we learned this weekend.

Disney Did Their Research

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To conduct most of their research for Ralph, the Disney team only had to travel about 16 km—to the One Wilshire building in Los Angeles, one of the largest telecommunications hubs in the world. But from visualizing the world of the Internet as a colourful, buzzing metropolis and transforming eBay into a noisy auction house to consulting a stunt car driver from Baby Driver to animate a key car chase sequence, there isn’t a single detail the Disney team didn’t consider when writing and animating the movie.

What’s more, no Internet-based movie would be complete without touching on the aspects of online life that can be draining, overwhelming, and downright discouraging. The Internet can be used to build people up and just as easily take people down, and the Disney team wanted to communicate that fact in Ralph rather than present the Internet as a magical, wondrous fantasy land.

The Cast Is Incredible

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Apart from a few returnees, including Reilly as Wreck-It-Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, and Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix Jr, Ralph Breaks the Internet introduces Empire’s Taraji P. Henson as Yesss (a trend-chasing algorithm who assists Ralph and Vanellope on their journey), Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot as Shank (a tough-as-nails driver from a Grand Theft Auto-esque game called Slaughter Race) and Alan Tudyk (R.I.P. King Candy) as KnowsMore, a sentient search engine. They even managed to convince all-star auctioneer Brian Curless to voice an eBay vendor. And that’s not all…

That Princess Scene Is Just As Great As You Think It Is

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We’ve already gotten snippets of Ralph Breaks the Internet’s highly anticipated Disney princess mashup scene, but Spencer was kind enough to show the audience the scene in its entirety. And, unsurprisingly, it’s just as lighthearted and goofily self-referential as we’d hoped it would be.

Spencer also confirmed that he and the Disney team were able to assemble nearly every original Disney princess voice actor to come together and record a couple of lines for Ralph—including The Little Mermaid’s Jodi Benson, who briefly stopped by the panel for a surprise appearance.

The Movie’s Got Heart

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Ralph Breaks the Internet, like other tech-centric animated movies that have been released within the last couple of years, could have easily relied on pop culture references and colourful, eye-catching visuals to attract audiences (the chase sequence we mentioned earlier apparently took hundreds of animators over 10 months to complete). But during the panel, Spencer made it clear that Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship is the focus of and what grounds the film.

We won’t spoil too much, but we will say that Ralph Breaks the Internet sees Vanellope experiencing the same sort of existential crisis that Ralph suffered through in Wreck-It-Ralph. Knowing Disney, they’ll both make it out of the Internet alive and wiser than they were before going in. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the Internet (and the surprise twist villain that’s apparently coming our way, according to Spencer) strengthens and/or tests Ralph and Vanellope’s close bond.

Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theatres November 21. Check out the trailer below.