For executive producers Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, translating Big Hero 6 to the small screen was a labor of love.
“It’s a unique show in that we really set out to have a combination of comedy, action and heart,” Schooley tells TVLine of Big Hero 6: The Series, which kicks off with the made-for-TV movie Baymax Returns (re-airing Tuesday at 7/6c on Disney XD). “It’s a genre that’s not exactly everywhere in cartoons these days. Most of the time, it tends to lean one way or another.”
And the process of turning the hit movie into a TV show required a few major changes, beginning with its visuals: Unlike the movie, which was made using 3D computer animation, the series employs is presented in traditional 2D with plenty of anime influence.
“Since it’s set in San Fransokyo, which is a mashup of Japanese and American culture, we wanted the animation to reflect that,” Bob says. “There are definitely anime expressions and tropes thrown in there. One of our writers is obsessed with anime, so I think she throws things in there that we’re not even aware of.”
The change in style also helps the series to “feel like its own thing,” Mark says. “It gets to live and breathe as its own entity, separate from the movie.”
One thing that isn’t changing, however, is the film’s roster of characters, each of whom viewers will get to know better as the series continues. As Schooley notes, “It’s rare for a movie to so clearly set up a team and a world like this, so to be able to take that and run with it is just a real joy.” And although each episode can be enjoyed separately, there is an arc that unfolds throughout the season. “That was new for us,” Schooley admits. “We kind of took the mystery aspect of the movie and extended it over a season.”
McCorkle says his favorite part about mapping out the arc for Big Hero 6: The Series‘ first season was figuring out new baddies for Baymax’s team to face: “As someone who grew up a comic-book geek, getting to create villains has been fun,” he says. “It’s also been challenging to come up with villains that feel new and unique; there are a lot of villains out there.”
Fortunately, as Schooley notes, “Fred is obsessed with comic books, so he has a pretty meta view of these things, and he can say when something is a trope. There’s a scene in the pilot where they’re chasing a car and he yells out, ‘We’re in a chase scene now!'”
Most importantly, though, McCorkle says, “For us to do a show where smart people solving problems with science is celebrated, that felt real good right now.”
Hit PLAY on the trailer for the Disney XD show below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.