The world of Disney Strange world it’s, well, weird. There’s the wacky underground realm, full of blob-like creatures draped in warm colors, but even the “normal” land of Avalonia is different from our own. Directors Don Hall and Qui Nguyen set out to make a world devoid of technology when they built Avalonia, and the result is a retro-futuristic solarpunk setting where people have personal aircraft but no cell phones or televisions. One thing that Avalonia it does share with our world? The teens are still avid gamers, and that includes Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White), the son of farmer turned reluctant explorer Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal).
“We wanted Ethan to be a gamer because our kids are gamers,” Hall laughs. “Every kid, every teen right now is a gamer.”
But without computers or consoles, the filmmakers of Strange world he had to rely on a different source of inspiration for Ethan’s gaming interest: board games. Get into Primal Outpost, the collectible card game that Ethan and his friends go crazy for. In Primal Outpost, players must work together to establish a settlement in the desert, learning to cooperate with the environment. We don’t really learn the specific mechanics of Primal Outpost inside the movie, but Hall tells us that the game is fully developed.
“There are real rules. And there are more cards than we show,” she explains.
“It’s playable!” chimes in Nguyen. “Obviously it was based a bit on catan Y Magic: The Gatheringhow those elements came hand in hand”.
If the general plot of Primal Outpost — ie living with the wild instead of conquering it — sounds familiar, that was 100% intentional. Ethan plays his father and his grandfather, the bombastic Jaeger explorer Clade (Dennis Quaid). The two older men are more interested in attacking the creatures and defending their stronghold from the environment than understanding it. Cue Ethan groaning and trying to no avail to make them understand the point.
“The rules of the game [were] it’s actually secretly the theme of the whole movie,” says Nguyen. “It was a nice trick that Ethan could say: Hey, this is what this is all about, living in harmony with the environment that surrounds you.”
Strange world is now available on Disney Plus.