Seeing as the majority of Pixar's movies involve non-human characters and sneakily overlap with other films' timelines, the movie studio probably loves to use this loose timing to their advantage. After all, moviegoers love subtle character crossovers, right? But when it comes to Incredibles 2, the filmmakers apparently went beyond assigning a general time frame to the movie's storyline. There are actually a ton of clues proving the exact timeline of the movie, so here's your official breakdown of the latest question about the Pixar franchise: When does Incredibles 2 take place?
Beginning exactly when 2004's The Incredibles ended, Incredibles 2 maintains the first film's retro-looking vibes. While the Parr family always dressed quite modernly, the world around them didn't quite match their style. Maybe those present-day clothing choices were meant to make the story's timeline even more of a background element, because I know I'm a little stunned about this date reveal. Although Incredibles 2 doesn't include as many direct references to the year in which it takes place, a rewatch of The Incredibles is all you need to find out when the story happens. In a blink-and-you-missed-it moment, the movie nails down its timeline with total certainty.
As CBR.com points out, the copy of the Metroville Tribune that Bob Parr reads towards the beginning of The Incredibles pinpoints that day's exact date. The paper is labeled May 16, 1962. Yep, the Incredibles franchise takes place in the era of JFK, Bob Dylan, and the mod style, and that means that Bob and Helen's early days as a couple were during even more tumultuous times.
The Incredibles' prologue, taking place on the Parrs' wedding day, occurs 15 years before the rest of the movie. Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone are still at the height of their superhero careers, and from a filmmaker's perspective, this may be because it's 1947. The first Superman comic book debuted in 1938, kicking off what is known as the Golden Age of comic books. The following decade or so launched several successful comics focusing on heroes like Captain Marvel and Captain America. Clearly, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In Pixar's world, Mr. Incredible and his contemporaries are seemingly included in this major hero hype, but like today's Avengers, the good old days couldn't last forever. It looks like that when the '50s hit, things plummeted for superheroes, inspiring their protection program that the Parrs are still involved in during the first movie.
The '60s setting also plays out well in the design of the Parrs' surroundings. Incredibles producer John Walker told the website Oh My Disney:
[Director] Brad [Bird]’s watchword for the whole movie was that it should seem like the early-sixties vision of the future — TV’s Jonny Quest and Walt Disney’s original Tomorrowland. So we have things like the monorail on the island, which feels like it was designed in the early 1960s.
Count me as one of the fans who still thinks the family dresses too casually for the early 1960s, but I won't argue that their neighborhood totally fits within that setting. Bob's car is not exactly your typical 2004 Subaru, and Helen even has a cord phone in the family kitchen. In what could be seen as a slight goof, Bob and Lucius listen to their own police scanner to answer calls and relive their glory days, but according to a guide about scanner history, many scanners weren't easily available until the 1980s. I suspect that Edna Mode rigged up a little something for them on the down low.
Of course, Hollywood loves fabricating when it can, and the Incredibles franchise is no different. The first film (and probably the second if we look closely on our trip to the movies) does have hints of technology from much later on in the twentieth century, like Dash's teacher recording his class on a VHS tape. Regardless of that, knowing that Pixar has low-key created a historical drama franchise is still mind-blowing.
Incredibles 2 is in theaters now.