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‘Baymax!’ Filmmakers and Star Talk About Expanding the World of ‘Big Hero 6’ On Disney+

Baymax! has finally hit Disney+, and Awards Radar was lucky to have attended a virtual press conference on the latest Big Hero 6 series, with creator Don Hall, producers Roy Conli and Brad Simonsen, and star Scott Adsit in attendance.

In wanting to further explore the world of San Fransokyo and Big Hero 6, particularly by centering around the character of Baymax (Scott Adsit), creator Don Hall said that the conception of the series started with the idea of returning Baymax to “what he was created to do”: 

“I felt like the television show at Disney TV had explored so many great avenues and really furthered the story of Big Hero 6. What I thought we could do with the series is actually just focus on Baymax and one patient at a time. I thought it would lend itself to just some fun stories where we just get to meet a patient and get to have the fun of Baymax helping them. And through Cirocco [Dunlap’s] writing and Scott’s performance and all the directors that worked on the show, [it became] something much more than what I’d envisioned at the beginning. The beating heart of the show is something that is real and it kinda elevated it beyond what I ever imagined.”

And on the impact that Baymax had around the world when the Big Hero 6 film came out, Hall said the following:

“I mean, there’s sort of an innate compassion that is built into him and a relentless desire to help, which we do, for comedy purposes, in the series. Because he is relentlessly focused on that and you can’t bump him off of that. That is his protocol and he will do it. And so, that was part of the fun of the series. Taking that and looking at that from the perspective of a patient who may not want to be helped.”

Comedy also helped sell Baymax to the world, according to Hall: “You’ve got somebody that doesn’t wanna be helped and somebody that is relentlessly focused on helping no matter what. And so, I think that’s part of it and, from a design perspective, he’s just so huggable. It goes back to those original early days on Big Hero 6 when we discovered this inflatable robot technology and kinda extrapolated that and built it into this character. And there’s sort of a simplicity as well and it was by design to not give him features and to not give him a face. To see what we could do with less blinks. And then a lot of it falls upon Scott’s performance as well. I think that’s a huge factor in bringing Baymax to life.”

On what makes kids specifically fall in love with Baymax, producer Bradford Simonsen said that it’s probably because he is “just this total innocent”:

“He’s so huggable and so cute. I think the fact that our animation team is so amazing and what they’re able to do with two blinky eyes and some squishy is absolutely amazing. With Scott’s voice, they bring him to life. And you want to just hug him and pal around with him and follow him around. There’s just so much to love in his mannerisms that the team brings to life.”

And on revisiting the world of Big Hero 6, Simonsen described the process as being “magical”:

“It was so fun ’cause we got to bring everything back. And as Cirocco was writing it, we revisited it and got super excited about the new stories and all the potential that it has. Our crew elevates everything, so as we got into it, everybody got super excited about it as well. And like everyone on this call’s been saying, it’s just to revisit it and know that you’re coming at it from that wonderful place of innocence that Baymax brings to it, it’s just flat-out fun. So every day was a joy.”

And according to producer Roy Conli, the series was the perfect opportunity to explore some deeper, and more emotional aspects that previous installments of Big Hero 6 didn’t have:

“For me this is Disney at its best, [with a lot of] heart and humor. I was so impressed with Cirocco Dunlap, our writer, who came in and totally understood the soul of Big Hero 6 and understood the soul of Baymax, for that matter. And between Don, who I think is a brilliant storyteller, Cirocco, and our fabulous directors, we created some amazing new characters for the series. And each of them has a physical ailment, but as usual, when you have a physical ailment, there’s also an emotional element to that. And in Baymax’s little way, he is able to address both. And you add a little Scott Adsit in there and you got magic.”

Conli also added that Disney+ is the perfect opportunity for creators because the streaming service allows them to discover new formats of storytelling:

“This was new territory for a lot of us. We generally work on 90-minute films and we iterate and iterate and iterate for four to five years to make a film. And in this, we did the same amount of iteration but because the structure is so small in comparison, we were able, and we also have six episodes going at one time, to take each of these little gems and polish them to just perfection.”

On giving the right amount and heart of compassion to the role of Baymax, actor Scott Adsit said that the first thing you need to know about the character is that “he is aware of making people feel good”:

“And he is in no way judgmental, which is the great thing about him, is he approaches
everything equally and is there only there to provide help and support and knowledge. And I
mean, that’s what we all aspire to be, right? And that’s what makes him so beyond
huggable, admirable. Because he is the best of all of us. The best elements that we aspire to be, he just is, effortlessly.”

Adsit also mentioned some of his favorite fan reactions to Baymax, from the 2014 film to the 2017-2021 TV series to now:

“Well, sometimes I’ll get parents coming with their children, come up to me, and they’ll look at me and my face and my graying beard, and they don’t know who I am. And then I do the voice for them, and they know immediately. And I think I’m six foot two, and I’m a lot taller than most 4-year-olds, and I think it would be intimidating or weird for this face to come down and say, Baymax words to them. And they just light up, and they get so excited, and they see right through this and hear Baymax. And I feel like I am Baymax in that moment. It’s just very magical, and it’s a very rarified place to be, so I’m really appreciative of it.”

You can stream all episodes of Baymax! on Disney+ today.

[Quotes were edited for length and clarity]


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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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