Since Walt Disney Pictures Animation first debuted “Big Hero 6” in 2014, the movie’s intrepid inventor Hiro, his adorable robot companion Baymax, and their team of STEM-enhanced superheroes have been regular fixtures within the larger Disney pop-culture ecosystem.
Despite recent reports, however, Hiro, Baymax and the rest of the “Big Hero 6” crew are not currently set to make their live-action debut within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Variety has confirmed with a source at the studio.
It’s understandable why there would be so much anticipation for “Big Hero 6” to join the MCU. After Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, the Disney Animation Studios team hit upon the rather obscure Marvel comics series “Big Hero 6” — which first appeared in 1998 — as a title ripe for adaptation. Disney, however, made several major changes. Rather that setting in Japan like in the comics, for example, the animated feature was set instead in the fictional city of San Fransokyo. And while the comics also followed Hiro and Baymax leading a team of superheroes, Disney changed Baymax from a synthetic bodyguard capable of transforming itself into a green dragon into a cuddly inflatable medical robot retrofitted by Hiro for combat. So there is a fair amount of daylight between Disney’s “Big Hero 6” and where Marvel Studios could take those characters in live action.
Disney also just concluded “Big Hero 6: The Series,” an animated spin-off show with much of the original voice cast from the feature. The final episode aired on Feb. 15 after running for three seasons on the Disney Channel and Disney XD. That might imply the “Big Hero 6” characters are shifting back to Marvel, but in Dec., Disney announced that Walt Disney Animation Studios was producing the TV series “Baymax!” for Disney Plus — suggesting Disney still sees value in further exploiting the animated feature. A different version of the same characters introduced by Marvel would inject the kind of consumer brand confusion that Disney has scrupulously avoided within its various divisions.
There is always the possibility that Marvel Studios could turn to “Big Hero 6” in the future; “Guardians of the Galaxy” was also an obscure Marvel comics title until it found its way to the MCU. For now, though, instead of hanging out with Captain Marvel and Thor, Hiro and Baymax will keep rubbing shoulders with Moana and Wreck-It Ralph.