Lewis during "Meet the Robinsons" Special Screening at El Capitan at El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, United States. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage for Disney Pictures)
Movies - TV
Meet The Robinsons At 15: An Oral History Of Disney's Underrated Gem
“Meet the Robinsons” tells the story of a young orphan named Lewis who makes a friend with a boy named Wilbur, time travels into the future, and defeats a villainous mustachioed man. On a deeper level, the film inspires viewers to stride toward the future with three words — Keep moving forward — mirroring the film’s own difficult yet persistent path to launch.
A Day with Wilbur Robinson
“Meet the Robinsons,” originated as a short 32-page story by William Joyce, who was inspired by the eccentric family of one of his childhood friends. When Hollywood producer Bill Borden convinced Joyce to pitch as a movie, Joyce recalled, the pitch, “Was totally quiet […] They didn’t ask any questions,” but the next morning Borden got a call that Disney wanted to option it.
From Live-Action to Animation
Originally optioned as a live-action film, “Meet the Robinsons” finally took on a life of its own when it transitioned to animation. As a live-action film, it stagnated while finding the right director, figuring out expenses, and finding live-action ways to tell the story. After 11 years, the story was picked up as an animated film and production got underway.
A Fresh Take
After Disney Animation took over the film, the story took a creative leap from Joyce’s source material, turning Lewis into an orphan and making Wilbur a time traveler. Borden took a step back from the project, while Joyce remained an executive producer. Stephen J Anderson was hired as director, giving the film a fresh take while remaining loyal to its source material.
Anderson recalled that when he signed on to the film, Disney gave him specific directions “to build a story team and an editorial team […] to storyboard the entire movie,” before the studio would commit to making it. During this process, many of the film’s most memorable gags were born, and the team found creative ways to reference Joyce’s source material.