Inside Out 2 Director Reveals Which Emotion Was Originally a Villain

Inside Out 2 Director Reveals Which Emotion Was Originally a Villain

Inside Out 2 Director Reveals Which Emotion Was Originally a Villain

Pixar’s latest sequel, Inside Out 2, has made a triumphant return to the big screen, capturing audiences with its heartfelt continuation of Riley’s journey. The story picks up years after the original, focusing on Riley as she navigates the tumultuous waters of adolescence, bringing with it a host of new emotions.

One of the standout additions to the emotional ensemble is Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, known for her role in Stranger Things. Director Kelsey Mann recently shared insights with Collider about the character’s development, revealing that Anxiety was initially conceived as a villain. This antagonistic portrayal, however, underwent significant changes during the writing process.

Mann explained that the original concept for Anxiety was much darker. The character was meant to be a source of conflict, embodying a more villainous role. However, as the creative team delved deeper into the nature of anxiety, they began to question this direction. They realized that anxiety, while often perceived negatively, actually stems from a place of concern and love.

“I always had the idea from early on that I wanted new emotions to show up, and I made a list,” Mann shared. “I was immediately drawn to Anxiety because I can really relate to her, and I’m like, ‘I think other people can too,’ especially at the age that Riley is… In the earlier versions of her, she was always intended to be the antagonist, and at the beginning, she was really antagonistic. She was really kind of a villain, and it didn’t feel right. We’re like, ‘She’s not fun to watch. I don’t get why she’s doing what she’s doing.'”

This shift in perspective was influenced by consultations with experts who had contributed to the first film. Mann mentioned working with Dacher Keltner, a professor at Berkeley, and Dr. Lisa Damour, who provided valuable insights into the purpose of anxiety. These discussions highlighted that anxiety’s primary function is to protect and keep us safe.

“It wasn’t until we really leaned into the research of, like, ‘Why do we have anxiety?’ We brought on a lot of the experts who worked on the first film, like Dacher Keltner, who is a professor over at Berkeley, and Dr. Lisa Damour. We spoke to her about, ‘Why do we have it?’ And they’re like, ‘Well, it’s really there to help try and protect us and keep us safe.’ So I’m like, ‘Oh, we should really switch this so that she’s really coming from a place of love for Riley.’ It’s almost like she loves Riley just as much as Joy does, but they’re arguing over how to best take care of their daughter.”

This revelation led to a significant transformation in Anxiety’s character. Instead of being a villain, Anxiety became a complex, relatable figure driven by a deep care for Riley. This nuanced portrayal resonates with audiences, especially those who have experienced anxiety themselves.

Inside Out 2’s success at the box office is a testament to the film’s ability to connect with viewers on an emotional level. By reimagining Anxiety as a character motivated by love rather than malice, the filmmakers have created a more authentic and engaging story.

The decision to reframe Anxiety’s role underscores the importance of understanding and empathy in storytelling. It highlights how emotions, even those that seem negative, can have positive intentions. This approach not only enriches the narrative but also offers a more compassionate perspective on mental health.

As Riley continues to grow and face new challenges, the inclusion of Anxiety adds depth to her emotional landscape. It reflects the complexities of adolescence and the various ways emotions interact and influence our lives.

Inside Out 2’s exploration of Anxiety is a powerful reminder that our emotions, no matter how difficult, are an integral part of who we are. By embracing this complexity, the film encourages viewers to see their own emotions in a new light, fostering a greater understanding of themselves and others.

In conclusion, the transformation of Anxiety from a villain to a character driven by love is a testament to the thoughtful storytelling that defines Inside Out 2. It showcases the filmmakers’ commitment to creating meaningful, relatable narratives that resonate with audiences of all ages. As Riley’s journey continues, the addition of Anxiety enriches the story, offering a poignant exploration of the emotional complexities of growing up.

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