Baymax, Zootopia + and Strange World: Disney is (also) doing its show

Like every year, the Friday of the Annecy Animation Festival is devoted to the Disney studios which bring their firepower to the lakeside. We expected a preview of Strange World, Avalonia in French version, the end-of-year Disney which will be released directly on Disney+ in France because of the media chronology. But the studio also came with the first episodes of Zootopia + and Baymax The Series. The media timeline was obviously on everyone’s lips as the firm attempted “damage control”.

After presenting a Cristal d’Honneur to Jennifer Lee, visibly very moved by the reception given to her by the festival-goers, it’s time for the presentation of Baymax, the spin-off series of Big Hero 6. It’s the producer Don Hall who pitched the idea to Disney: what if we explored the robot’s healing protocol? Here, no superheroes but six 5-10 minute episodes centered on the affectionate hero where he will help injured characters as best he can.

For the first episode that we were able to see, Baymax helps Cassie, Hiro’s mother. She sprains her ankle and after treating him, he takes over the reins of the cafe she is holding for her to rest. Obviously, Baymax being Baymax, it doesn’t quite go as planned.
The result is funny, worked, pretty and short enough not to get bored, even if the project and the whole still remain anecdotal.

Second surprise, the presentation of Zootopia+, the spin-off series of the film. Here too, the same observation: six 10-minute episodes, each one will focus on a different secondary character (Judy’s parents or the sloths among others), but with a different treatment. We can see a parody of reality TV or a dance competition. The first episode that was shown to us tells of the wedding of the little mouse parodying The Godfather. It’s very surprising, very funny and well written, especially since the universe of Zootopia lends itself much more to this kind of spin-off and we can’t wait to discover the other 5 episodes.

Producer Roy Conli (interview to follow) then arrived on stage to present the Disney end of the year, Strange World (Avalonia, l’Etrange Voyage en VF). Inspired by the books of Jules Vernes, HG Wells or even Edgar Rice Burroughs, the film aims to be a real adventure story in an imaginary world. We follow a family over three generations, the grandfather (Jaeger), the father (Searcher) and the grandson (Ethan). Jaeger is an explorer and together with his son they go to climb a mountain that no one has ever climbed. Discovering a magic plant filled with energy, Jaeger and Searcher separate and the grandfather gets lost in the mountains and is never seen again when his son returns with this magic plant which transforms the small village of Avalonia into a thriving city full of energy. Years later, this plant withers and Searcher, his son Ethan and their mother Meridian accompanied by their three-legged dog Legend decide to go underground to find out what happened. We guess quite easily that the family will find themselves in a grandiose underground world and where they will meet Jaeger quite quickly.

The excerpts that we have seen are funny, full of adventures and with a rather interesting exploration of the father-son relationship. The world is a mix between Avatar and the novels of Jules Vernes, the bestiary overview is quite impressive and it seemed that Disney has a lot on hand to surprise us. Another very surprising thing, one of the 3 main characters, the grandson, Ethan, is openly gay (about time!). We perceive an innovative world there and we can’t wait to see the rest of what we hope will be a great adventure story!

Baymax, Zootopia + and Strange World: Disney is (also) doing its show