Big Hero 6 is officially the first Marvel-based film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, with a release date in theaters of Nov. 7, 2014 announced on Thursday.
Based on the Japanese superteam introduced in the late '90s, the official logline for the film describes Big Hero 6 as "an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion — robot named Baymax — Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city."
Disney also released the first look at footage from the film:
The comic book version of Big Hero 6 were created by Man of Action's Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau during their Alpha Flight run in 1998, though due to scheduling quirks their first appearances were actually in the three-issue Sunfire & Big Hero 6 miniseries by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vasquez, released a few months prior. Another miniseries followed a decade later, by Chris Claremont and David Nakayama. Seagle and Rouleau are co-executive producers and writers on Disney XD's Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, but there's no indication at this point that they're involved in this film.
Based on the logline, significant changes appear to have been made in the adaptation, from changing the name of Hiro Takachiho to "Hiro Hamada," and the setting of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo).
Beyond Hiro and Baymax, there's no word yet on what other characters will be a part of the film. The original miniseries included Silver Samurai, who's portrayed by Will Yun Lee in Fox's The Wolverine this summer, and Sunfire, currently part of Marvel's Uncanny Avengers comic book series. Yet it appears likely that the film will draw more from Claremont and Nakayama's series, which didn't include the two more established characters.
The movie will be directed by Disney veteran Don Hall, who helmed 2011's Winnie the Pooh, and worked on features including Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove and The Princess and the Frog.
"I was looking for something on the obscure side, something that would mesh well with what we do," Hall told the LA Times. "The idea of a kid and a robot story with a strong brother element, it’s very Disney."
The LA Times article added that while Big Hero 6 is being produced in-house at Disney animation, Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada has been involved in "brainstorming sessions" for the project.
"[Hall] understood what we did," Quesada told the newspaper. "I didn't have to explain our world to him. The relationship between Hiro and his robot has a very Disney flavor to it … but it's combined with these Marvel heroic arcs."
Big Hero 6 was initially confirmed to be in early development in June 2012, as the potential first Disney animated film based on a Marvel property following Disney's acquisition of Marvel in 2009. In May 2012, the characters appeared in the "Ends of the Earth" storyline in Amazing Spider-Man; a reprint edition of Claremont and Nakayama's series was solicited in June 2012, and released in September of that year.
The Nov. 7, 2014 release date pits it against Christopher Nolan's first directorial effort post-Batman trilogy, the science-fiction film Interstellar. It's also the equivalent calendar week to the release of Marvel Studios' Thor: The Dark World, scheduled out on Nov. 8 this year.