Both “Eternals” and “Hawkeye” have earned the Seal of Authentic Representation from the Ruderman Family Foundation (via The Hollywood Reporter). In order to qualify for this recognition, the property must feature a disabled character with at least five lines of dialogue. Perhaps more importantly, the actors portraying these characters must be disabled themselves.
“Eternals” and “Hawkeye” accomplish the first of these criteria easily enough. Makkari and Echo are both major characters in the films and comics, so their inclusion was essentially a necessity (although comic book Makkari is not disabled). However, the MCU took a step in the right direction by casting disabled people in disabled roles. Both Lauren Ridloff and Alaqua Cox are deaf, and Cox is also an amputee who wears a prosthetic leg.
“Not only was [Ridloff] overly qualified to join an already high-level cast, [but] she [also] elevated the ensemble with her unique spirit, talents and charisma,” said MCU casting director Sarah Finn. She also added, “We couldn’t be more delighted by Alaqua Cox’s performance. She is phenomenal and part of a new culture in film and television, where authentic representation not only matters but is paramount to the kind of stories we want to tell and how we shape them.”
Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth Are Open to Appearing in Wicked’s Film Adaptation
Idina Menzel may have started her theater career in another Broadway musical, Rent, but the Tony and Grammy award-winning actress is also famously known for her works in Frozen, Enchanted, and Cinderella. She is also known as one of the original cast members of Wicked, starring as Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West from 2003 to 2005. Starring alongside her playing the part of Glinda the Good Witch was another Tony and Grammy Award winner, Kristen Chenoweth.
News broke recently that the film adaptation of Wicked will be split into two with Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and Ariana Grande as Glinda. Even more recently, Menzel has shared with People that she is open to appearing in the upcoming film adaptation which will be directed by Jon M. Chu.
In her interview with People regarding making a cameo appearance in Wicked, Menzel joked:
The ship may have sailed in that Menzel’s role as Elphaba is being taken over by Erivo, but possibilities on how she may factor in the movie is far from over. In fact, Chu himself has voiced how Menzel and Chenoweth’s cameos are a possibility. The film is in such early stages of development and details are sparse, but the chance of the play’s original stars making an appearance in the movie looks hopeful.
Since the announcement of a film representation of Wicked, Kristin Chenoweth has offered up ideas of her own. One suggestion is having the camera pan by her and Menzel in the background at one point. As the camera hits them, she can be seen whispering something into Menzel’s ear, a sort of shoutout to the musical’s emblematic poster tableau of Glinda and Elphaba. Fans like Jimmy Fallon hope for a more substantial appearance rather than an easter egg approach.
Another suggestion, at least for Chenoweth, is to have her play the sinister role of Wizard cohort Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Crage Hall at Shiz University. Chenoweth had said in the past that she’d be open to playing the part. It would indeed give her more screen time and showcase her voice. Only time will tell if fans get to see the two again in this classic tale.
Baymax! Trailer: The Adorable Robot from Big Hero 6 Returns in Disney+ Series
Baymax, the cuddly nursing robot from Big Hero 6, is back to help people in the new series, Baymax!. Disney+ has released the official trailer for Baymax!, which is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first-ever animated series and serves as a spinoff to 2014’s Big Hero 6. Baymax! premieres June 29 on Disney+ and will continue the journey of the titular companion robot as he tries to treat patients in the fictional city of San Fransokyo.
The official synopsis for Baymax! reads:
Scott Adsit reprises his voice role from Big Hero 6 as Baymax in the upcoming series, with Ryan Potter and Maya Rudolph reprising their roles as Hiro Hamada and Aunt Cass. Emily Kuroda, Lilimar, Zeno Robinson, and Jaboukie Young-White will also feature in Baymax!.
Those expecting superhero mayhem and crime-fighting should dial down their expectations as Baymax! will employ an episodic storytelling format with the huggable nurse attempting to treat a patient each episode. But that’s not to say the show won’t be any fun. As we see from the trailer, the super-friendly Baymax will cause plenty of chaos with his insistence on providing medical care to those in need, even against their wishes.
Don Hall, who co-directed Big Hero 6 with Chris Williams, will serve as the creator of Baymax!. Hall talked about the series in a statement, saying:
Big Hero 6 was the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014 and even went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. But almost a decade has passed, and we have yet to see Hiro Hamada and his band of tech-savvy superheroes on the big screen again. However, the characters’ stories continue in the 2-D animated show Big Hero 6: The Series. Created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, the show ran on Disney XD and Disney Channel from 2017 to 2021. While Big Hero 6: The Series does contradict some plot elements of the film, it acts as a satisfying follow-up and features most of the original star cast.
As for the current status of Big Hero 6 2, there is no word yet, but Zach Parrish, who served as the head of animation on the film, gave a sequel update back in 2021. Although he didn’t confirm anything, he sounded hopeful. “There’s still plenty of time. The beauty of animation is that can pick up the story at the very end of Big Hero, or we could jump in time. We could go wherever we want since it’s animation,” Parrish told Collider.
Hopefully, Baymax! will be successful enough for Disney to greenlight other spinoffs and, in the best case, a sequel. There are also chances that Baymax! could open the door for more Disney+ animated series.