Encanto Director Explains Why Madrigal Abilities

Encanto follows the Madrigal family, who live under a miracle that bestows each member of the family with gifts, extraordinary abilities such as clairvoyance, superhuman strength, and communication with animals. Each of them undergoes a gift ceremony as a child, and with the exception of protagonist Mirabel, who is left without one, they all receive an ability that seems to reflect their personality. The mechanics of this system has resulted in plenty of Encanto gift fan theories, ranging from each family member actually having multiple abilities to Mirabel having one that people just can’t detect.

The movie uses the term gifts, giving three main reasons. The first two relate to the context of the Madrigal family’s abilities, with “gifts” being a natural progression from the “miracle” that grants them. The third reason is that the Encanto team wanted to avoid using the term “powers” to minimize any potential association with superheroes, which would have pulled away from the magic realist setting. A lot of early Encanto reviews referred to the Madrigals as a family of superheroes, likely inevitable given the nature of their abilities. Given this, it’s understandable why Bush didn’t want to use “powers,” since the film isn’t at all like a superhero film. One of the main themes in Encanto is showing how the gifts can influence and track the personal growth of the Madrigals, adding further emphasis to why they are in fact “gifts.”

The dubious nature of some of the gifts, it’s likely that any follow-ups to Encanto will further explore how the powers affect the family from a more personal standpoint. Though anything else set in that world is far off, the passionate response and large following the movie has gained shows that the story is only beginning for the Madrigals. Wherever the story goes next, there’s a lot to be mined from the movie’s worldbuilding, and hopefully Bush and his team will be able to find an Encanto 2 story that lives up to fans’ expectations for the budding franchise.

Iron Man Won Civil War Because of Marvel’s Superman

Marvel’s Civil War event stands among the most popular and best-selling crossover series in comics history, and for good reason. The seven-issue series pits two of Marvel’s hallmark Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man, in a literal and philosophical war over civil rights and accountability for superheroes, while the rest of the world was left to choose a side. The series ends with Cap’s surrender, a move meant to end the bloodshed and violence. While Rogers hoped the public would see things his way, Tony Stark would win that battle, as well — with the help of the Sentry, Bob Reynolds. In Civil War: Frontlines #11 by Paul Jenkins and Ramon Bachs, the perspective shifts to the people of New York, left to sort through the wreckage and rubble heroes left across the city. The issue shows how much of a warzone New York turned into, with buildings leveled, jets lodged into skyscrapers and nearly 50 civilians killed. With angry civilians wanting heroes held accountable, man heroes were already primed to register for the sake of keeping the peace. So, when Sentry, widely regarded as both one of the strongest and most volatile superheroes in the world, agreed to register, it made a huge impact, increasing hero registration by a whopping 38 percent — essentially crippling the anti-registration movement.

Iron Man turning Sentry into a spokesman was the winning blow for the pro-registration heroes, not Cap’s surrender. It shows how far ahead Stark was thinking when he first recruited Reynolds to his side, back in New Avengers #24, also by Jenkins and Bachs. He told Sentry he had the power to win the war for them, and he was right. Sentry became the force that truly ended the registration conflict, just not the way he expected. Stark knew the risk and costs of launching a war over registration, and played the long game — even admitting his own survival wasn’t guaranteed — to do what he thought was best. By having Reynolds, a hero with a destructive past who felt a great deal of responsibility for letting the war even happen, on his side, Stark knew he’d have a powerful hero, with an even more powerful story, to put the nail in the coffin when anti-registration sentiments were barely holding on.

Stark’s long and storied past of meddling behind the public’s back for the “greater good,” whether it be his use of The Thunderbolts and a Thor clone during Civil War or his later involvement in the Illuminati, it shouldn’t be surprising that he was playing the long game with Sentry as well. Working behind the scenes and manipulating others is what he does best, so it a no surprise Iron Man didn’t win Marvel’s first Civil War by getting Captain America to surrender, but by turning Earth’s most powerful hero into a photo-op.

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