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The Incredibles 2: Brad Bird Explains How Jack-Jack Inspired The Sequel

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Incredibles 2.

Audiences have a certain super-powered baby to thank for The Incredibles 2. Writer/director Brad Bird revealed in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly that exploring Jack-Jack's potential was one of the reasons he decided to bring the Parr family back for the long awaited Pixar sequel, which smashed box office records in its debut with a massive $180 million opening.

Jack-Jack's powers were teased in The Incredibles, in which it was revealed that the baby possessed a number of different superpowers, all more dangerous than the last. His crazy time off-screen during the film was later further explored in the short film "Jack Jack Attack." However, it wasn't until the sequel that the family discovered the baby's powers, and that "unexploded time bomb," Bird explained, was one of the reasons he wanted to return to the family.

"It went back to the core idea that got me excited about the film in the first place, which was using superpowers to comment on your role in the family — fathers expected to be strong, mothers being stretched in 10 different directions at once," said Bird. "So the idea behind Jack-Jack was that babies are unknown. They could have no powers — or they could have all of the powers. You just don't know what a baby's going to be. They have unrealized potential."

As it turns out, the memorable sequence in which Jack-Jack used his powers to face off against a raccoon in the family's backyard was almost used in the first film, but it didn't make the cut. The hilarious moment in the sequel wound up showing off how Jack-Jack is the "Swiss Army Knife of superheroes," with Bird noting that "maybe he hasn't even settled on a power yet." 

Bird explained that there was an embarrassment of riches when it came to the potential for Jack-Jack's powers, which culminated with the reveal in the third act that he could turn himself into a giant. Although they had planned not to introduce any new powers for him that late, it was just "too cool," leading them to break their own rule. "We tried to diet and be very disciplined, but every once in a while you've just got to break down and have a sundae," he said.

Like just about everything in The Incredibles universe, Bird also thinks that there's a greater lesson beyond just what you see of Jack-Jack on screen. He noted that his inspiration for the character was "the idea that babies learn multiple languages easily before that door quickly closes. And you run into it all the time in life. I'd be drawing and somebody would say, 'I wish I could draw,' and I'd look at them and go, 'Well, you did once, didn't you?' It's just that somewhere along the line, you either stopped believing that you could, or you lost interest in it. But everybody starts out drawing — it's kind of natural — and the idea behind Jack-Jack is meant to tap into that."

Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, and Bird star in The Incredibles 2. The movie, which earned a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received an A+ CinemaScore, is in theaters now.