Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6′ Voice Cast And Character Posters Revealed
Disney has finally confirmed the voice cast for Big Hero 6, its big feature-length animated release for the year -- and also released a new TV spot for the movie. Big Hero 6 is notable for being the fifth film in 2014 to be based on Marvel superheroes -- though it's an even more fringe concept than Guardians Of The Galaxy.
In the comic, Big Hero 6 is a Japanese superhero team created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, and first brought to the page in their own mini series by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vasquez. The movie moves the characters out of the Marvel Universe -- and out of Japan, kinda.
Disney's Big Hero 6, directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is set in a fictional city of San Fransokyo, a presumably trans-Pacific megalopolis that combines features of San Francisco and Tokyo. Consequently the cast of Big Hero 6 is less Japanese and more culturally diverse than originally conceived.
The lead character is a young robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada, played by half-Japanese, half-Caucasian actor Ryan Potter, star of the Nickelodeon show Supah Ninjas. His pudgy white robot buddy Baymax will be voiced by 30 Rock actor Scott Adsit. The voices of Potter and Adsit can both be heard in the TV spot.
Fred, a guy who can create/transform into a weird kaiju, is played by comedian T.J. Miller. Jamie Chung plays speedster GoGo Tomago, described in character notes as an "adrenaline junkie." Damon Wayans Jr. plays swordfighter and "neatnik" Wasabi. Génesis Rodríguez plays magic-purse-wielding hero Honey Lemon -- whose powers in the movie may be tied to her status as a "chemistry whiz" rather than magic.
The cast also includes Maya Rudolph as Aunt Cass, James Cromwell as Professor Callaghan, Alan Tudyk as Alistair Krei, and Daniel Henney as Tadashi Hamada. None of these four characters appear to be based on characters from comics, though Tadashi Hamada is presumably Hiro's dad. In the comics, Hiro Hamada was called Hiro Takachiho.
The movie doesn't feature Silver Samurai or Sunfire, two characters from the team's original line-up who are held by Fox Studios as part of their X-Men deal. Presumably that deal also covers spin-off Big Hero 6 members Ebon Samurai and Sunpyre.
All of the Big Hero 6 characters are Japanese in the comics, though Fred specifically comes from a small indigenous group called the Ainu. Potter is now the only actor of Japanese heritage in the core cast. Jamie Chung is second-generation Korean-American, and Daniel Henney is mixed race Korean and Irish-American. Wasabi is now black, and played by a black actor, and actor Génesis Rodríguez is Latina, which may mean that Honey Lemon is now Latina as well. White actors play Fred and the robot Baymax.
The San Fransokyo setting obviously makes such a diverse cast more plausible. On the one hand it's frustrating to see Japanese representation sidelined given the team's comic book origins and the Japanese food-inspired names of many of the characters. On the other hand it's always great to see more black and Latina superheroes on the screen, and it's a relief that the lead character is at least Asian American. Whether we chalk this one up as a victory or a defeat for diversity is kind of hard to say -- though it seems a safe bet that fewer characters would have changed race if all six of them had started out white.
Big Hero 6 is set for a November 7 release.