Laika Studios CEO on Why They Won’t Do Movie Sequels
Pixar may get most of the headlines, but fans of slightly more off-beat animation have always loved the movies released by Laika Studios. With movies like Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, Laika has a string of critical hits that focus on the supernatural and magic experience of growing up. And while Kubo and the Two Strings brings their movies to unprecedented heights — our own review called it the best Laika movie yet — a new interview with director and Laika CEO Travis Knight made it clear we shouldn’t expect to see any sequels anytime soon.
In a recent interview with Cartoon Brew (via Collider), Knight talked about the challenges of running an animation studio with physical space constraints and his desire to keep switching between genres for each new movie. One of the most interesting parts of the conversation, however, was Knight’s frank distaste for movie sequels.
The way we approach our stories is we imagine each film as if it’s the most meaningful experience of our protagonist’s life. If that’s your point of view, your sequel is automatically either going to be (A) a diminishment of that — is it the second most important experience of your protagonist’s life? Or, (B) you’ve got to crank up the volume so much, everything’s sensory overload, and becomes comical how much you have to ratchet it up to justify its existence. I’m not interested in that. I don’t want to do that. I want to tell new and original stories.
While this is something we’ve probably all instinctively understood about movie sequels, Knight does an incredible job of phrasing why the creative process at Laika does not lend itself well to movie sequels. Of course a movie should capture the most important moments in a character’s life; since Laika puts a particular focus on adolescent characters and coming-of-age stories, it would be particularly difficult for them to return to these characters without undermining the person that Coraline or Norman has grown into.
Kubo and the Two Strings is now playing in theaters everywhere.