Why The New Alice Movie Doesn't Feel Like A Sequel

Disney is absolutely killing it at the movies this year. Three of the top four earners at the 2016 worldwide box office so far have come from the studio (Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Captain America: Civil War), and those films combined with the 2016 portion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' massive haul have made Disney the fastest studio to reach $1 billion at the box office by a mile. But they're not done yet. Up next is another potential blockbuster in a new Alice movie, but some fans confused, wondering if Alice Through the Looking Glass is a sequel or a some kind of reboot. So what is it?

Although it's been a while since 2010's Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass is indeed the long-awaited sequel to that film. The bulk of the cast is returning, including Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, and the late, great Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar, in what marks his final film performance. But even with the same cast, the tone of the film seems markedly different, so what gives?

Tim Burton famously directed the first installment, and injected it with his trademark quirky darkness. But Burton is merely credited as a producer on the new film, and the directing duties were handled by James Bobin. Bobin's work history is considerably lighter fare than Burton's, with his feature directing credits limited to The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted. There's also his storied history in television comedy. Bobin co-created The Flight of the Conchords, and worked closely with Sacha Baron Cohen (who stars in Through the Looking Glass) as a writer and director on Da Ali G Show. So if Through the Looking Glass seems funnier than its predecessor, he's likely a big reason why.

As far as where the new film picks up, a lot of time has passed since the original; just like in real life. Alice has been living in the real world for several years when she eventually makes her way back to Wonderland. Once she's there, she discovers that the Mad Hatter isn't doing so well, and she goes up against Time himself (Baron Cohen) to try and fix him. That's when things get all timey-wimey, so to speak, and lots of craziness ensues.

So yes, despite arriving in theaters more than half-decade after the first film in the series, and in spite of a new director and a different feel, Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. And given that that movie grossed over $1 billion by itself at the worldwide box office in 2010, Disney is looking for its sequel to add even more cash to their already record-setting year.

Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy