If 2012 seems like a lifetime ago compared to the internet of today, imagine how Wreck-It Ralph feels.
The classic video game ‘villain’ is forced to leave behind the comfort of his retro arcade and traverse the strange new world of cyberspace in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (in theaters Nov. 21). Disney Animation’s sequel to the original 2012 hit reunites John C. Reilly’s good-guy-bad-guy protagonist with his partner-in-pixels Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) as they zap into a new frontier, filled with memes, games, apps, clickbait, and — hopefully — the one item Ralph needs to save the day.
“A part in Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush breaks, and in order to preserve that and save the way of life they have in the arcade, they go to this very modern place” — the internet! — “which is going to put their friendship to the test,” explains Rich Moore, who helmed the first Wreck-It Ralph and now co-directs with Phil Johnston (one of two screenwriters of the first Ralph, as well as one of the co-writers of 2016’s Zootopia, which Moore also co-directed… it’s a whole thing).
Johnston says the temptations of the internet bring out drastically different, perhaps unexpected POVs for our two main heroes. “Ralph is this older video game character who’s thrust into this world that’s confusing and constantly changing, and we lean into that notion that the internet is different today than it was yesterday, and it will be different tomorrow than it was today,” explains Johnston. “That’s part of the challenge that Ralph in particular faces. Meanwhile, Vanellope’s much more equipped to deal with that than Ralph is. She’s younger and more spirited, and he’s sort of a big, oafish doofus who can’t quite handle it.”
As the directors tell EW, Ralph thinks the journey online will help keep life the way it is… but Vanellope, upon seeing the wider world beyond the arcade, may seize the opportunity to find her tribe. (She is technically a Disney princess, after all, and they’ve got quite the popular presence online.)
While the first full trailer shows a glimpse of Ralph and Vannelope’s arrival into a world populated by avatars, missing from the trailer is Taraji P. Henson’s new character, Yesss, a trendy algorithm who encounters Ralph and Vanellope online, as well as familiar faces from the first film like Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Calhoun (Jane Lynch). “We’ll see them for sure,” promises Moore. “They have an important role in the movie, which we can’t discuss now, but they’re definitely in there.” After a burst of laughter, he adds, “Jack McBrayer called Phil constantly, saying, ‘When am I gonna be in the movie? What is Felix doing?!’ He wore us down.”
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 will hit theaters Nov. 21, 2018.