Movie Reviews

Despicable Me 4 Director Reveals Why Nobody Has Aged Since The Last Movie


  • Director Chris Renaud says the characters in
    Despicable Me 4
    don’t age intentionally, following
    The Simpsons
    ‘ model in their approach.
  • The frozen age decision helps maintain familiarity with the characters and keeps the cast feeling familiar despite the amount of time between new entries.
  • Keeping characters the same age allows for more story ideas without aging them up, possibly broadening what can be done in the movies.

Despicable Me 4 director Chris Renaud has revealed why nobody in the movie has aged since the last installment, explaining the approach to the characters in the latest film. The newest entry in the animated comedy franchise sees Gru (Steve Carell) and his family forced to relocate after a villain from his past, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), returns seeking revenge. While the movie takes place some time after the end of the third film in Despicable Me‘s chronology, the characters haven’t aged since their debut in the first movie.

Speaking with Deadline about the film, Renaud explained the lack of characters aging in Despicable Me 4 was done on purpose. The director compared the decision to keep characters the same age to The Simpsons, explaining that, while there’s potential for other stories by aging up the characters, it hasn’t impacted general audience perception of the film. Check out what Renaud had to say below:

It’s funny, it comes up a lot. I don’t think the audience cares. First off, to your point, we could do a story about Margo being 18 and going to college… but we’ve taken a The Simpsons approach that nobody ages. They’re frozen in time. I’ve seen the film with an audience quite a few times and I don’t feel people are coming out and seeing it as an issue, asking, ‘Why didn’t Margo grow up?’

Why A “Simpsons Approach” Works For Despicable Me

Renaud’s explanation makes sense given the amount of time that has likely gone by since the first movie, with plenty of life changes happening for Gru in the process. This includes his marriage to Lucy Wilde, with whom he had a biological son, Gru Jr., as well as him rising the ranks of the Anti-Villain League throughout the series. While so many developments should have seen his daughters age in the process, they haven’t, with the director’s explanation shedding light onto why this is the case.

With the upcoming Despicable Me 4 keeping its characters the same age as when they started, it keeps the franchise familiar even to those who have been watching the movies since they started coming out. By continuously delivering stories with characters who are the same age, it allows for the movies to progressively add more ideas without being required to make its heroes older. It also means that, if future movies do see the main cast age, it would only be done to service the story at hand.

Even though this partially contradicts Minions: The Rise of Gru, which depicts Gru as a young boy, Despicable Me 4‘s characters staying the same age makes sense for the story being told. Whether this vision will be maintained in the future is unclear, but for now, it works with the setting of the films and their designation as animated comedies. With the film coming out next week, it won’t be long until the movie can prove why keeping the characters the same age was the right call to make its story stand out.

Source: Deadline

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