After over a year of delays, Big Hero 6 #1 finally released this week; but the script differs significantly from what writer Hannah Blumenreich turned in. Wednesday, she went to Twitter, comparing the comic to her original script, showing that the Disney backed IDW changed several lines of dialogue without consulting Blumenreich. Given that many of words appearing in this comic aren’t hers, she says she’d prefer not to be credited at all.
One of the first notable changes to the Big Hero 6 script occurs in a quick exchange about the morality of robots. Blumenreich’s version ended with a thoughtful comment from Baymax (a robot himself) that “a robot can only be as evil as those who programmed it.” In the final version, editorial stripped the comment (and the character) down, saying instead “I’m a robot. I cannot be offended.”
In another instance, Blumenreich writes a joke about cape and cowl comics, poking fun at their capitalist informed expense. The original line, seen below, points out that Big Two comics are often forced within a corporate approved box so as not to put off any higher-ups. Needless to say, higher-ups were put off by the joke and wrote it out of the Big Hero 6 script completely, replacing it with an anodyne comment about burgers.
allow me to explain this joke: superhero comics are a synthetic, group-tested, company-approved, line assembled piece of junk food and not, in fact, the greatest literature known to man.
in a weird way…they fact that they've changed it…proves my point? pic.twitter.com/KL3CJ6WWFB
— Hannah B (@hblumenreich) November 14, 2019
Big Hero 6 faced 15 months of delays, cancellation and eventual re-solicitation and Blumenreich has been vocal about her qualms with it throughout it all. She originally signed on to Big Hero 6 in 2017 with a tentative release date of summer 2018.
In her Ignatz acceptance speech, she describes a licensed comic she had signed on for that consumed massive amounts of her time; one that faced over a year of delays. She writes that progress on this comic moved on “at a snail’s pace” due to “middle man editors passing on reductive decisions made by a chain of brand -maintaining higher-ups.” Due to those time constraints and a preference to work on creator-owned content rather than jump through hoops, she quit after two issues. In light of these script changes, these comments about an unnamed series make a lot more sense – especially considering which of her jokes were written out of Big Hero 6.
This, unfortunately, is not an unprecedented move from Disney licensees. Behind closed doors, the iron-fisted nostalgia machine has a reputation for asking creators to make huge script changes just like those seen in this Big Hero 6 #1 script.
The Beat contacted Blumenreich’s agent. Before making an official statement, they plan to review the comic to determine the full extent of the potential issue. This story will be updated accordingly.
In response to a request for comment, IDW provided this statement: “As a licensee, we try to honor the integrity of our partners’ original creations, and we respect the hard work and passion that creators put into their projects. At times, we request changes, and our editors work with the creators through the revision process. Sometimes the end result does not match everyone’s personal vision, but we will continue to work with our partners to create the best comics we can, while also trying to stay true to each of our creators’ intentions.”