The breakout character from The Incredibles was Frozone’s (Samuel L. Jackson) wife Honey (Kimberly Adair Clark), nagging him about why he needed his supersuit and once again, Honey stole the show in The Incredibles 2 trailer. Even though she’s hugely popular among Incredibles fans, we’ve never seen her face. Brad Bird gave his reasoning for that decision, and it has to do with her voice.
During a discussion about including more people of color, Bird addressed his creative decisions regarding Honey. “She’s funnier as a voice,” he said, according to Heroic Hollywood. “We actually went through all the trouble of designing a character and the design appears in the movie but not as Frozone’s wife. We have used her design and she is a hero but there’s not a lot of screen time though.”
Saying Honey’s funnier as a voice might seem like a simple directorial decision to help the story, but black women are underrepresented in animation as it is; does it have to be compounded by a conscious decision to include the voice of a black woman but not her face? How could seeing Honey make the moments between her and Frozone any less hilarious? We get to see Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible interact; why not have similar dynamics between Frozone and his wife?
Also, Bird saying he and his team “actually went through all of the trouble” of designing a black character and not prominently featuring her is troublesome. Was the character design initially for Honey and recycled for another character? Or are there officially two black women the film dismisses? Also, just the phrase “went through the trouble” regarding black characters is irksome. Yes, more than likely Bird meant that they went through the process of creating a character who hasn’t been used much, but the words “process” and “trouble” have different connotations. Overall, it just feels like Honey is being treated as if she’s just a punchline to a joke. It’d be great if we could get richer characterization for Honey, something that showcases her as rounded, fleshed-out character instead of just a sassy black voice.
In any event, we’ll hear Honey’s voice and long to see her face when The Incredibles 2 comes to theaters June 15.