Big Hero 6 Comic Book Vs Movie Essay

Disney had to walk a fine line promoting its new film, Big Hero 6: Even as the Mouse House touted their latest blockbuster as the first Disney animated movie inspired by a Marvel Comics property, it had to simultaneously work hard to give it the film its own identity as well.

The studio put some distance between the film and the comic-book series that inspired it: Not only was the movie version very different from the print versions; but very few had even heard about the comic books in the first place.

Related: Weekend Box Office: ‘Big Hero 6’ Cruises Past ‘Interstellar’

If you’re one of the many that saw Big Hero 6 over the weekend —the film finished first at the box office, with $56.2 million — you may be curious about the source material. Unfortunately, it’ll be tough to find much of it. The original, three issue mini-series in which the characters debuted, Sun Fire and the Big Hero 6 (below), was never collected in any anthology after its publication in 1998, and is unavailable online. The second series, published in 2008, can be found on the Marvel Universe mobile app, but that requires a subscription.

Both comics — and the few appearances the team made in other series — present a very different version of the Big Hero 6. Here are a handful of the most prominent (warning: spoilers ahead!):

Disney’s Big Hero 6 is set in a hybrid-style city called San Fransokyo. The comics, which represented an attempt by Marvel to get into manga, were set in Tokyo (though the team traveled to Long Island!).

• The film’s protagonist is a young genius inventor named Hiro Hamada. The same goes for the comics, but his family situation is very different. In the comics, he lived with his mother; in the film, he’s an orphan living with his aunt and older brother Tadashi, an engineering student who builds a personal-health companion robot named Baymax.

• Just about everything about Baymax is different in the film and comics, though in both cases, he’s Hiro’s best friend. Baymax is a cuddly marshmallow-like nurse in the movie (below, at right, wearing his armor suit), with a sweet disposition and a loose grip on human interaction. His original iteration, in the comics, is as a “robotic synthformer” that can quickly transform into a devastating weapon.

• The movie’s cast of characters differs in some major ways from the comics. Wasabi, for example, is Asian in the comics, while he’s black in the movie (and voiced by Damon Wayans).

• Fred, meanwhile, is a mysterious new team member who can conjure the spirit of a dinosaur in the comics; in the movie, he’s a rich stoner who is given armor that makes him look like a dinosaur.

Related: ‘Big Hero 6’ Launches Marvel’s Animated Superhero Universe

• Which brings up a very important difference: The team in Disney’s version of events is a scrappy group of students who come together out of necessity. In the comics, it’s a team of real heroes brought together by the Japanese government. Hiro is a member — he joins, hesitantly — but he’s certainly not the leader.

• As the little leader of the film, Hiro builds all of their weapons and uniforms, based on their personalities and talents. They use his robotics skills in the comics, for sure, but they certainly don’t need him for their powers.

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Big Hero 6: 6 Big Differences Between the Movie and the Comics

Today’s the day – Big Hero 6, the first official feature film collaboration between Disney and Marvel since the former bought the latter in 2009, is hitting theaters in North America.

Early reviews are great too; at the time of this writing, Big Hero 6 has notched an impressive 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 105 critic reviews counted.

Though based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, the movie depart from the source material quite a bit. To quote John Lasseter of Pixar Studios, “Without question, [Big Hero 6]was made 100 percent [by Disney]. They’d forgotten the books existed.” (Source)

So, how different is it, exactly (and what is Big Hero 6 in the first place)? Hopefully this blog is spoiler-free – we haven’t seen it yet, either (it did just come out today, after all). But, here are the 6 Biggest Differences we found between Big Hero 6 the movie and the comics.

Big Difference 1: Baymax’s Design

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Baymax is Hiro’s robot, the lovable, puffy, squishy guy you’ve seen in the trailers. He’s an inflatable hospital service robot, built for the purpose of helping those around him, who acts as Hiro’s best friend. He’s also voiced by Scott Adsit, a.k.a.  Pete Hornberger from 30 Rock.

In the comics, though, Baymax is a genetically mutated creature that Hiro created for a science fair project at school. His main ability is the power to “synthform,” or transform his body into different shapes. Most of the time, he takes the form of a human to disguise himself (a la Nightcrawler and Mystique from X-Men), but during battle his most common form is that of a dragon, occasionally with battle mech armor.

Marvel Comics

Yeah, that frickin’ rules.

Big Difference 2: The Cast

Marvel Comics

The phrase “Big Hero 6” refers to the team of superheroes featured in the comic series, and not, as one might assume from a first viewing of the trailer, Baymax’s full-bodied figure. Many of the characters from the source material were kept for the movie: there’s Hiro and Baymax, naturally, along with Honey Lemon, GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, and Fredzilla.

But, there were a few extra members of the team in the comic books that didn’t quite make the cut for the big screen. Silver Samurai and Sunfire (and their alternate universe counterparts, Ebon Samurai and Sunpyre) were in Big Hero 6, but they belong to the X-Men universe, too. Thus, 20th Century Fox Studios, who owns the filmmaking rights to that franchise, also owns the rights to those characters

Big Difference 3: Hiro’s and Baymax’s Roles

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In the movie, Hiro and Baymax are far and away the main characters. In the Big Hero comics, everything was really about the team itself. It was structured a lot like other “superhero team” styles of comic book storytelling, like The Avengers or Teen Titans, with Silver Samurai in the leadership role for the majority of the books’ run.

Big Difference 4: The Setting

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Hiro in the comics is a proud resident of Yoga, Setagaya, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. The entire superhero team was based out of Tokyo, too, with a base of operations headquartered in the Cool World Amusement Park. In the film though, everything happens in a completely fictional city called San Fransokyo – a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo to go along with the film’s stylistic influences from both Eastern and Western culture. Why did Disney decide to avoid a perfectly good (and totally real) city? Well, that brings us to…

Big Difference 5: Interaction with the Marvel Universe

Marvel Comics


It’s fair to assume that Big Hero 6 the movie was going to be more or less in its own, self-contained world, given that San Fransokyo is, you know, not a real place. The comics took place in Marvel-616, which is the mainstream Marvel Universe and essentially the “real” world. In fact, the BH6 comics actually had some pretty explicit connections with other franchises. As mentioned earlier, Silver Samurai and Sunfire were part of the X-Men, but the Big Hero 6 team has also joined forces with the likes of Spider-Man and Elektra.

To confirm the separation of the movie universe though, director Don Hall said in an interview, “The universe we’re creating is not tied to the Marvel Universe … there’s no Iron man or anybody like that. It’s a world of our own design.” (Source) Perhaps Big Hero 6 is the first installment in what’s going to turn into a much broader Marvel Animated Universe? We’d be okay with that.

Big Difference 6: At the end of the day, Big Hero 6 is still a kids’ movie.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

We’re not saying that that’s a bad thing by any means whatsoever – Disney’s last two animated films, Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, were totally awesome. But, the darker, more adult-oriented themes of the comics are definitely out. For example, part of Hiro’s hero origin story is that his mother is taken away from him by the being known as the Everwraith. What is the Everwraith? It’s a supernatural evil creature created from the astral collective of souls of the victims of the World War II atomic bomb attacks. Yeah, we definitely aren’t going to blame Disney for censoring that one.

So, are you as pumped as Baymax’s inflatable body to see Big Hero 6? What’s your favorite superhero movie of all-time – and how do you think Hero is going to stack up? If you liked this post and want to see more like it, let us know! Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @BuyCostumes to share your thoughts, or send us a quick email. Check out our boards on Pinterest, too, for some awesome costume ideas and photos.

All Marvel Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1941-2014 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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