Everything to Know About Netflix’s New Superhero Franchise

Published on January 4, 2021

Netflix has a new superhero franchise from director Robert Rodrgiuez. The filmmaker delivered a big Christmas day hit with We Can Be Heroes, which has been watched over 41 million times on Netflix in a week alone. Netflix wasted no time announcing  a sequel.

Rodriguez had sequels in mind when he first pitched Netflix his original superhero idea. The streaming service wanted more original kids movies, similar to the director’s Spy Kids movies. Kids watch those movies again and again. The streaming service asked Rodriguez if he had any childrens’ movies in mind, and of course, he did. 

We Can Be Heroes is a cute, bouncy and lively kids movie. It’s just right for kids. The story followed the sons and daughters of superheroes. As an extraterrestrial threat captures the world’s greatest superheroes, it’s up to the kids to save the day. The movie co-starred Pedro Pascal, Christian Slater, and Boyd Holbrook as a league of superheroes mostly off-screen. It was the kids’ show, so Rodriguez focused on the kids, not the parents. 

The movie has enough charm for adults, too. It does, afterall, open with Christian Slater flying around with a jetpack on and looking like a G.I. Joe action figure. It’s a movie with a big imagination done on, surprisingly, a fairly small-scale for Netflix. Rodriguez knew the streaming service spends money like crazy on their products, but the filmmaker wanted to keep costs low, as he usually tends to do.

The director behind From Dusk ‘Til Dawn and Alita: Battle Angel wanted to show Netflix how cheaply he could get one of these event holiday movies made. Rodriguez is a famously do-it-yourself filmmaker who’s his own camera operator, editor, cinematographer, and sometimes, even composer. He does a lot of the work himself in his Austin-based studio, Troublemaker Studios. 

The director wanted to keep costs low for We Can Be Heroes, so he could keep the odds up for a sequel. “Netflix, although it seems like they have unlimited cash, I told them just to give me a little,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to do this for a price because I want you to bring me back to make more. I want to do one that just blows your mind, looks so big, makes you question all your other budgets. The whole time they were asking, ‘Are you sure you have enough money? This doesn’t seem possible based on our other movies.’ I go, ‘No? Watch this.’”

We Can Be Heroes is an imaginative superhero movie that is a total wish-fulfillment movie for children. Not to mention, as expected from Rodriguez, it’s inclusive. There were a variety of heroes to resonate with kids all over the globe. There’s a lot to appreciate about Rodriguez’s new movie, which is now spawning a franchise for Netflix. The streaming service announced the sequel on Twitter. There’s no release date, but knowing Rodriguez, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see the sequel before the year ends.
The inspiring filmmaker writes, shoots, and edits fast. He goes with his gut and doesn’t want to waste time. Hopefully, the director has found a new home with Netflix. Rodriguez makes movies both for children and manchildren. It’d be great to see the director bring more of Troublemaker Studio productions to Netflix, providing the streaming service with kids movies as well as more R-rated, giddy action.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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