Now, Rodriguez has revealed that he almost added even more of his previous characters to the film, even briefly toying with the idea of including Carmen and Juni Cortez, better known as the Spy Kids.
The characters appeared in four films between 2001 and 2011, played by Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, and Rodriguez said he was tempted to bring them back for the new movie, which had originally started life as a standalone original feature.
“I didn’t start like ‘well let me think of a sequel for Sharkboy and Lavagirl’, it was its own film that I grabbed at and put them in,” Rodriguez told RadioTimes.com ahead of the film’s streaming debut.
“I even tried to put the Spy Kids in there but then that really would be trying to force another set of parents in there. So I thought Sharkboy and Lavagirl make sense because these were my original superheroes, so it makes sense that they would be on this team.”
Meanwhile, some of the film’s young cast members have said they believe it’s important that more movies reflect kids as superheroes rather than adults, as is the case in We Can Be Heroes.
13 Reasons Why and FBI: Most Wanted star YaYa Gosselin, who has the lead role in the film, said, “Not only adults have had a rough year but kids have had a really rough year too, I mean they can’t go see their friends they can’t go to school, they can’t do everything that they love to do.
“So I think it’s very special to end the year off with this movie because I feel like it’s a sign to tell kids that ‘hey it’s going to be OK because you can be the hero of your own story.’ And I think it’s very special and important to show films where kids are the superheroes and kids are the ones who save the day.”
8-year-old Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays Guppy – the child of Sharkboy and Lavagirl – added, “I was the youngest and it’s so hard for people to think that the youngest can be really strong, smart and a great part of a team because they’re tiny.
“And I feel it’s great being able to show that even if you’re small or young you can still be a very big part of the team.”
For his part, Rodriguez said that he was surprised that despite the plethora of superhero movies in recent years, very few had focused on younger heroes, and he was keen to fill that gap.
“People love superheroes and mythologies and yet there was a vacuum when it came to the kids space,” he said. “I think they’ve made every type of superhero movie, TV show, character, side character that you can think of, and no one has done one with children.
“So I thought this was a great opportunity to do something which was right there in front of everybody and it would be like Spy Kids, something that people would think ‘oh wow no one’s thought to do this.’
“It really felt like a great idea that would catch on pretty quickly because of how robust that genre still is and how important it is to pop culture.”
We Can Be Heroes is streaming on Netflix from Christmas Day 2020. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide