By Laura Sirikul and Esther Kim
Ralph Breaks the Internet breaks into theaters this week and reintroduces us to the beloved characters we fell in love with from 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph and them entering the world of THE INTERNET. We welcome back Wreck-It-Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to the fold as they work together to save Vanellope’s game from being turned off, by entering the internet to purchase the part that could fix everything.
The Nerds of Color were invited to the Ralph Breaks the Internet press junket and learned a few things from the cast and creatives from the film.
1. Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston came up with a sequel because they thought Ralph needed to evolve more.
Let’s be honest here, Wreck-It-Ralph was a great movie. The entire story was sweet and had a sweet ending of “If this kid likes me, how bad can I be?” with Ralph and Vanellope becoming best friends for life. Moore realized that’s really messed up.
“It’s a wonderful sentiment,” said Moore during the conference. “But then as we continued to kind of pick at it, we said, that’s really, really dysfunctional. That this guy is defining himself by what his best friend thinks. And, it’s a great best friend. But what if she were not to like him someday? What would that lead to?”
Johnston and Moore knew there was more to Ralph and his insecurities, so they wanted to touch on that. What better place to put an insecure person than the internet?
“A perfect place for a character who is insecure about himself,” said Moore.
2. Vanellope Von Schweetz is officially a Disney Princess… kinda.
Co-writer and voice of Snow White, Pamela Ribon, was the main writer for the Disney Princess scenes and declared Vanellope as a Disney princess during the press conference, “It was amazing to be able to work with all the original voice actresses to come back and add everything that they bring to the characters. And what a dream come true to have Vanellope Von Schweetz now officially part of the Canon, which was the whole point the whole time. The hoody princess reigns supreme.”
Although we don’t know if she’s the authority on who becomes a Disney Princess, we’d have to agree with this choice.
3. Calhoun and Fix-It-Felix become parents… kinda, again.
With Sugar Rush temporarily out of commission, the video game racers need a temporary home. Married couple Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Calhoun (Jane Lynch) decide to open their home and foster the 15 pre-teen racers.
“We bit off way more than we could chew,” laughed McBrayer. “And just due to the circumstances, Calhoun and Felix do bring in all of the kids from the racing game. And after a few years of marriage, they’ve experienced some tension and perhaps some stagnation. So now they’re thrust into these new circumstances that really force them to not only evaluate how they feel about each other, but what their preconception of what parenthood could be is reality.”
4. Yesss is more than just a Netizen.
We were introduced to Netizen, Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) as the head of BuzzTube, a mix between Buzzfeed and YouTube and the viral aspect of it. It is because of her, Ralph is able to become viral and generate enough money to purchase the Sugar Rush wheel and save Vanellope’s game. But, she is more than just a netizen who cares about viral videos. She actually cares about Ralph.
“I just thought she was incredible,” Henson shared. “I mean, when Rich and Phil brought her to me and explained her, I was like, this is a no-brainer. She’s a go getter. She’s the head of a company. She’s no nonsense. She has heart. My favorite scene is when Ralph finds himself in the comment section or the comment room. She comes in and she tells him it’s not you, it’s them. They’re mean. They’re hurt, so they’re hurting you. It grounded the film for me and it grounded the character for me. Made her multi-dimensional.”
5. Just because the characters are video game characters, that doesn’t mean they don’t evolve and grow
At the end of the first film, Ralph has seemed to find his forever pal in Vanellope. At the beginning of this film, Ralph and Vanellope have their daily routine of work, happy hour, and play, and then repeat. Ralph is satisfied with this, but we may notice, Vanellope does not.
Reilly shared some more about this, “Ralph really worked so hard to get a friend in that first one. He’s like got it. Rest of life, solved. And then Vanellope starts to grow and mature and realize[s] that she wants to feel like she belongs somewhere and it’s not her candy game.”
6. The cast improvised a lot during filming
A lot of what is shown in the film wasn’t originally scripted and developed over time due to the strong relationship between Reilly, Silverman, and the directors.
“It was a real treat to be able to start at a place of intimacy with Sarah and with Phil and Rich and Pam and everybody,” Reilly said. “We all kind of knew each other. And we learned how to work together on the first film. And we built these characters and the story together. So that when it came time to start this one, we could start from a very advanced place in terms of the kind of conversations we could have about the relationships and all that. And you can really see that in the film. I think I was one of the first people to insist that we try to be in the room together as much as possible. Because I know the way improv works, it works best in real time. So yeah. There’s a ton of improvised stuff, which Phil and Rich were very kind to just let us explore things every day. That’s one of the great joys of doing audio work. There is never the pressure of the sun going down.”
Silverman added, “It’s also great when it’s not on camera and it’s just audio. Because then you can show up in just a two-piece suit.”
7. Johnston had a character in the world based on his mother that didn’t make the film
The best thing about directing your own film is being able to create your own characters based on the people in your life. Johnston did just that of his mother. He had planned for her to be in charge of the anti-virus facility named BEV “Built to Eradicate Viruses.”
“She was this really kindly mid-western woman,” said Johnston. “But then had this nasty like fascistic kind of streak to her. My mother is lovely. I don’t know why we did that to my mom.”
He added, “I love her. I’m sorry.”
Ralph Breaks the Internet opens in theaters on November 21, 2018.