It's been six years since mega-hit "Alice in Wonderland" first hit the big screen, and now Disney is treating us to a sequel with "Alice Through the Looking Glass." While the follow-up may not be directed by Tim Burton, rest assured that "Looking Glass" still looks very Burton-esque.
Recently, star Mia Wasikowska, director James Bobin, and producer Suzanne Todd divulged some juicy tidbits about the highly-anticipated sequel at a special footage screening hosted by Disney in West Hollywood, CA.
1. A Movie With a Message
"Appreciate what you have now, in the moment, and don't obsess about what's happened or what has been. And don't try to change things," Wasikowska said.
2. Ahead of Its Time
Even though "Alice in Wonderland" was a box office success, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide, it was not the easiest movie to get made. "We wanted to make a female empowerment movie -- a movie where the girl got to wear the armor, pull the sword, and slay the jabberwocky," Todd said. "And, if you can imagine, in 2008, there were even less of those being made. Now there have been more that have come behind us, but it wasn't a very popular idea at the time."
3. A Balance of Dark and Light
The sequel is a little lighter -- and more family friendly -- than its predecessor, but it still retains some of that darker, Burtonesque edge. "Because of my comedy background, I think it's a tad lighter," Bobin said. "There are dark moments; I remember enjoying being scared as a child, and I'm not afraid of that idea. So there are moments in it that are scary, but I think, overall, it's probably a little lighter because of the story."
4. A Tale of Two Directors
The directing style used for "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and "Alice in Wonderland" couldn't have been more different. "They're both really great, but quite different." Wasikowska said. "Tim [Burton] articulates things in a very visual way, so we didn't have as many detailed conversations. He would show me images or references. James [Bobin] sort of discusses things a little bit more and he really pushed an emotional perspective in this one."
5. A Sequel Wasn't in the Cards
There was never supposed to be a sequel. "We had never planned to make a second movie," Todd said. "I feel like, in the moment, it was one of those films that we were sort of lucky to get to make a first."
6. From Muppets to the Mad Hatter
Bobin was in post-production on "Muppets Most Wanted" when Disney approached him about getting into the director's chair for "Alice Through the Looking Glass."
7. Only One Time
From the start, the character of Time was written for Sacha Baron Cohen. "You don't want [Time] to be a straight-up bad guy, because it's a bit dull," Bobin said. "We've already got a bad guy in the Red Queen, so you don't need another one. But I thought it'd be interesting to have a guy [who was this kind of omnipotent being, but he's also a twit. There's no one better at playing the confident idiot trope than Sacha Baron Cohen. So when I was thinking about it, and writing up the idea of what he's going to be, it was very much with Sacha in mind."
8. Movie Magic
Even though the movie will hit theaters in 3D, it was never shot that way. It was shot in 2D, and will be converted to 3D in post.
9. Green Is Not Their Color
Because a green screen is really tough on the eyes, they used blue screen to film all of the live-action shots featuring CG elements to make it a little easier on the actors.
10. Inspired by Lewis Carroll
Adapting the book "Alice Through the Looking Glass" got a little tricky, but it gave Bobin the chance to get creative. "I was very keen to do a story, which wasn't going to be Lewis Carroll's story, because 'Looking Glass' -- I love as a book. But as a narrative, it's a very strange book. 'Looking Glass' is eight chapters long because a chess board is eight squares [across]. So for him, it was a personal exercise in mathematical equations and that sort of thing."
11. More to Come?
Fans can expect the world of "Alice" to be expanded upon. "The world as created was so broad that there was no real limitation of such," Bobin said. "And because this film takes part in different time periods and geographical space, the map of Underland is so ill-defined and has never really been decided upon."
"Alice Through the Looking Glass" hits theaters May 27th.