When Disney’s fantastic action-comedy film Big Hero 6 hit theaters, it swept people away, and helped with the years-long effort of making nerd culture “cool.” Since then, fans of the movie have been hungry to finally hear any update (or even a release date) for a planned sequel, or a “Big Hero 7,” so to speak. However, much of what’s being said in various corners of the internet is based entirely on speculation. If you want actual facts, you have to dig a little bit deeper.
And as you’ll see below, there are plenty of facts to be had. Some of them might even surprise you, but without a doubt, they’ll allay concerns. Disney has confirmed that there is a future for the Big Hero 6 cast of characters, and plenty of room for their stories to continue. It just might not happen in the way that you’re expecting!
If you’re reading this article, it might be safe to assume that you’ve at least seen Big Hero 6. It was one of the best-received movies when it was released, and it most certainly upheld the reputation that Disney’s animation studios have built up over the decades.
Big Hero 6
It’s hard to fit Big Hero 6 into any particular genre. It’s nerdy and sciency, but it’s also a buddy comedy. It’s a superhero movie in a big way, too, while also being a coming-of-age story. It pulls at the heartstrings in both surprising and predictable ways, but it’s all satisfying.
Big Hero 6 primarily tells the story of Hiro Hamada. It takes place in the near-future when technological innovation has influenced and directed civilization in progressive, believable ways. Robots — real robots — are a reality and serve prominent purposes in society. Hiro’s brother, Tadashi, helps to course-correct the younger sibling, who has taken to illegal robot fighting to suit his intellectual boredom and sense of adventure. He helps Hiro get into a good school and appreciate his own talent, right before a tragic accident takes Tadashi’s life.
Most of Big Hero 6 is about Hiro coming to terms with the loss of his brother, by bonding with the only “surviving” element of Tadashi’s life — his medical assistance robot, Baymax. Together, with their friends, they come together to battle a criminal presence operating in the futuristic imagining of San Francisco.
It’s thoroughly compelling stuff, and even though many of the story tropes and plot elements that Big Hero 6 uses seem familiar, it’s a story that’s told in a fresh and exciting way.
An Origin Story
Many don’t know it, but Big Hero 6 is actually very loosely based on another intellectual property, from Marvel Comics. It’s heavily modified from the source material, but that allows it to fit in quite neatly with the rest of Disney’s successful offerings, many of which are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That aside, the Big Hero 6 narrative is very much an origin story, for all of its characters. It feels pretty self-contained — the ending is quite satisfying — but those who enjoyed it can all testify to the fact that it feels set up perfectly for a sequel.
Is It Popular?
To date, Big Hero 6 was the highest-grossing animated film of 2014. If that doesn’t define “popular,” I’m not entirely sure what will. It’s the third-largest, non-Pixar animated film that Disney has ever put out. That’s massive!
If you need further proof of the film’s popularity, look no further than the huge following that it’s developed, worldwide. Millions of people are regularly talking about it online, and all of the hype and fervor for a sequel is precisely what led you here, isn’t it?
Sequel News – Big Hero 7
Of course, all of that popularity and widespread fandom ultimately leads to a single question — when will we get more? Big Hero 6 hit theaters back in 2014, which means that we’re coming up on three years since its debut. Has that been time enough for a sequel? Does Disney have further plans for its characters? When will we get to see more of Baymax, Hiro, Honey Lemon, GoGo, Wasabi, and Fred?
That excitement has begun to reach a fever-pitch, but finally, after quite a lot of waiting, details have begun to emerge about Disney’s intentions for Big Hero 6’s future.
Currently in production, the Oscar-winning movie is going to be continued as a television series on Disney’s premium channel, Disney XD. It’s being spearheaded by the successful creators of another Disney hit, Kim Possible, and will feature almost all of the same voice talent returning for their beloved characters. However, beyond these barebones facts that we do know, there’s oh so much that has yet to be revealed…
Wait…a TV Show?
That’s right! Back in 2016, it was confirmed that the Big Hero 6 story, and most of its cast of characters, would most definitely be continuing. It just wouldn’t be happening in the traditional sense of a sequel film. Instead, Disney is moving the entire thing to a TV format on Disney’s entertainment channels.
Now, how you respond to this particular news is probably going to be determined by how much you trust Disney. But keep in mind that Big Hero 6 was extremely well-received. Not only does it have a particularly dedicated following of fans, but it won an Oscar! Something that successful wouldn’t be relegated to television unless Disney had particularly high hopes for how it would perform.
And thinking about it, wouldn’t this cast of characters make for great, episodic content? Hiro, Honey Lemon, GoGo, Wasabi, Fred, and Baymax have a lot of interesting stories to tell, and another two-hour feature film might not be able to deliver those stories as satisfying as many hours of television could. We know that Disney won’t skimp on production value, either, given how hard the company has driven its new Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe properties, lately.
For now, we’re going to remain hopeful. The Big Hero 6 TV series is currently slated for a 2018 release according to IMDB, and until we hear more information, optimism and excitement are totally justified!
The Success of Longform Television
There’s an argument to be made that a Big Hero 6 TV series will be better for the young show, overall. And it goes beyond the opportunities for the main characters to blossom and grow without the two-hour restraint of your typical major movie release. We need only look at other extremely successful series, and what made those series beloveds, for proof of this.
An article published by Forbes contributor Scott Mendelson uses an alternative show to highlight that very comparison. He looks at Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the most successful long-form television shows to ever be broadcast. In the article, Mendelson explains that Buffy was able to tell series-long plot arcs with episode-long stories, to no detriment of the overall show. Contrary to that, the structure of that show allowed the characters (and antagonists) to become more fully-realized and enjoyable as a result. As much as the plots in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were memorable, the characters are the reason that most people remember that rather legendary show.
And the comparisons don’t have to end there. Look at other memorable TV shows of the past and present; any one of them. The best of those shows might have intriguing plots and compelling themes, but would they be anything without the characters that populate them? It’s fairly common knowledge that characters are going to make or break a TV show. And given that Big Hero 6’s characters are one of the reasons that the movie is so widely loved, I’m going to bet that we won’t have much to worry about, as the film makes a transition into long-form television.
The only gargantuan remaining question, then, has to do with when we’re going to see this supposed Big Hero 6 TV series debuted on Disney XD. So far, no change in plans has been announced. But while interviews from 2016 speculated that the show would launch in 2017, more recent listings point to 2018. And nothing has been said to clarify beyond those vague projections.
Well, look at it this way — for all of the optimism and widespread hype surrounding Big Hero 6, we’re not going to hear anything more specific until the show’s creators are ready to share it. That’s simply the way the business works, but when they are ready to share it, you can bet that it’s going to be a sizeable preview of what’s to come.
Without a doubt, Big Hero 6 is one of the most popular animated movies released in the past decade. It arrived right as superhero films were hitting their fever-pitch, and it managed to succeed even amidst a great deal of competition — largely from Disney’s own holdings, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From the way things are shaping up, the follow-up to Big Hero 6 might not quite be the “Big Hero 7” that many were predicting. But when we finally get our hands on any updates or a prospective release date, we’ll be sure to let you know! Until then, keep your eyes on 2018 as it draws nearer.