Huggable is not generally a word one associates with robots. So when filmmakers Don Hall and Chris Williams kept hearing it come up in brainstorming sessions for a story inspired by the little-known Marvel comic Big Hero 6, which featured a bodyguard robot named Baymax, they knew creating their mechanical protagonist would be a challenge. A research trip took them to MIT, Harvard, and finally Carnegie Mellon, where they met a scientist who was working on an inflatable vinyl robotic arm. ”Baymax’s entire personality came out of that trip: the idea of him being a compassionate nurse robot,” says Hall. Scott Adsit, best known as the perpetually flustered Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock, provides the friendly medic’s soothing voice. ”Scott found nuance in Baymax’s lines and made it funny and emotional,” adds Hall.
But caretaking is truly all Baymax can do, which presents a bit of a problem when the masked villain Yokai attacks the mythical city San Fransokyo. Luckily, 14-year-old robotics prodigy Hiro (Supah Ninjas’ Ryan Potter) devises a plan. ”Hiro gets the idea that maybe he can turn this robot that’s designed to heal into a warrior,” says Williams. Just a totally cuddly one.