As Pixar prepares for the release its latest animated film, The Incredibles 2, due out this summer, director Brad Bird shed a little light on why fans have yet to see one of the movie’s breakout characters: Honey.
Voiced by Kimberly Adair Clark in the original 2004 film, Honey is Frozone’s wife and delivers one of the film’s funniest moments.
In the memorable scene, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is looking for his super suit so he can go out and save the city from an attack. While Frozone asks his wife where his missing outfit is for “ the greater good,” Honey lets it be known that she is “the greatest good that [he’s] ever going to get.”
The comical scene is a fan favorite, but many wondered why moviegoers never actually get to see Honey on screen, especially when her inclusion would add even more diversity to the animated film. According to a new interview with Bird, he thinks the character is funnier as just a voice.
“She’s funnier as a voice. We actually went through all the trouble of designing a character and the design appears in the movie but not as Frozone’s wife,” he said. “We have used her design and she is a hero but there’s not a lot of screen time though.”
Writing for Shadow and Act, film critic Monique Jones, questioned Bird’s rationale for excluding Honey.
“Saying Honey's funnier as a voice might seem like a simple directorial decision to help the story, but Black women are underrepresented in animation as it is; does it have to be compounded by a conscious decision to include the voice of a Black woman but not her face? How could seeing Honey make the moments between her and Frozone any less hilarious?” Jones wonders. “We get to see Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible interact; why not have similar dynamics between Frozone and his wife?”
Jones wasn't alone in her sentiment:
Jones concludes by arguing that “it just feels like Honey is being treated as if she's just a punchline to a joke," and with so few animated characters of color on the big screen, she deserves more than that.