“Harry Potter meets The Avengers” sounds like a project every Hollywood studio would fight to the death over in 2016, but way back in 2005 Disney’s live-action family comedy Sky High was only a modest box office success. While mostly well-reviewed and boasting a who’s-who of film geek royalty (Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell, Lynda Carter, Kevin Heffernan and former Kids In The Hall Dave Foley and Kevin MacDonald) in its supporting cast, the film has largely slipped into the background of pop-culture memory despite continued success for its filmmakers and several of its young stars.
Now, the premise may be getting a second chance with news of a possible Sky High sequel from original director Mike Mitchell. News of the potential sequel was revealed unexpectedly by Mitchell, while promoting his co-director role on Dreamworks’ animated film Trolls.
In addition to revealing who is writing the fifth Shrek movie now in development, Mitchell offered the following answer toThe Hollywood News when asked about Shrek 5’s actual prospects:
“Who knows? It’s between that and we’re working on a sequel to Sky High. We’ll see how that goes.”
Produced at a moment when Hollywood’s 21st Century affection for the superhero genre was still being thought of as a passing fad (the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still three years away), Sky High gently parodies the genre by imagining a universe where superheroes and their exploits are so widespread and common that an exclusive High School existed on a floating island in the sky – where the teenage children of the world’s costumed crimefighters learn to hone their powers and craft superheroic personas of their own.
The story follows actor Michael Angarano as the son of a Superman/Wonder Woman-esque husband and wife team (Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston), who finds himself unexpectedly relegated to level of “sidekick” in Sky High’s rigid student caste-system because his powers have failed to manifest. When they do, he finds himself torn between popularity and his real friends, but must ultimately rally the school’s underdogs (gifted with seemingly-unimpressive powers like morphing into a guinea pig or glowing in the dark) when a presumed-dead nemesis of his father returns with a vengeance.
While the film’s obviously Potter-inspired school setting affords seemingly boundless narrative opportunities for sequels – and was likely designed with them in mind – one big question would be whether or not any of Sky High’s then-teenage main characters (which also included Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danielle Panabaker and Steven Strait as “Warren Peace”) would return Most are now too old to convincing play their teenage selves, but also likely not old enough to appear as parents of a new generation of teens.
We’ll bring you more news on a Sky High sequel as it becomes available.