Big Hero 6
Back in 2009, there were a few raised eyebrows when Disney purchased Marvel for $4billion. The eyebrows were not those of the business analysts who saw a resurgent House of Mouse purchase the world’s most well-known comic book brand, but those of the Marvel fans who worried how the conglomerate might Disneyfy their brand.
Disney has thus far allowed Marvel to run as its own separate entity; the movie spin offs of the Avengers have been received well by critics and fans alike leading to both Walt Disney distributed Avengers Assemble and Iron Man 3 being in the top six grossing films of all time.
Big Hero 6 marks somewhat of a departure for the autonomous nature of the Marvel brand, as the comic gets the Frozen and Wreck it Ralph treatment, becoming the first Marvel comic to become a CGI Animation. The movie’s director, Don Hall says that the film is more ‘inspired by’ rather than ‘based on’ the comic.
What is interesting from our point of view is the creation of one of the titular six by the child prodigy at the heart of the story Hiro. Hiro is a “brilliant child prodigy, proficient in many fields of science and technology, with a focus on biology, physics, and robotics”. If a child prodigy in a STEM subject now was to create a robot what do you think he might use as the technology in manufacturing that?
3D Printing of course, and in the teaser for the movie - released in November - we see Hiro doing exactly that. Hiro designs the battle suit for his trusty Baymax in CAD before firing off to the 3D printer, which is shown building a part layer-by-layer.
Disney have been key exponents of 3D printing technology through the Disney Research Labs, it will be interesting to see how much the films makes of the technology and how much they’ve learnt from those processes.
The fact that a character in a film is using 3D printing to build a suit for a Marvel character strangely echoes Jason Lopes’ Legacy Effects production of the Iron Man suit in a sort of art imitating life engineering art that imitates life, kinda way.