In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Easter eggs abound. Which was bound to happen, considering the film’s Extremely Online status; its entire plot hinges on popular Web sites and memes. The most fertile space for the film to hide its deep cuts in plain sight is its sprawling cast list, a delightfully random assortment that reveals even tiny parts went to folks whose names you’ll recognize—ranging from June Squibb to Nicole Scherzinger to YouTubers like GloZell Green.
Here’s one Easter egg for the comedy set: there’s a scene in which Jason Mantzoukas voices a character who asks Groot (voiced, as ever, by Vin Diesel) a question. The credits reveal that Mantzoukas’s character is named “Hey Nongman”—a sly reference to a joke from the comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang. In a 2015 episode, Mantzoukas and Scott Aukerman are chatting when Mantzoukas says “Hang on, man,” which Aukerman mishears as “Heynong man.” It’s since become a classic running gag, with official Heynong Man merch cementing its strange little place in C.B.B. history. The reference has also popped up in other places; Mantzoukas previously slipped it into his appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Heynong Man lives.
Another neat little Easter egg arrives courtesy of Michael Giacchino, the prolific composer with a punny sense of humor who’s worked on several Pixar and Disney movies—including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In Ralph, Giacchino makes a brief voice turn as FN-3181, a Stormtrooper who chases after Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman). It’s a full-circle moment for the Star Wars fanboy, who also voiced Stormtrooper FN-3181 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The cast list also boasts an array of digital influencers and comedians who got their start online. YouTuber-turned-Netflix star Colleen Ballinger—better known as Miranda Sings—plays an animated version of herself, as does YouTuber and designer Tiffany Herrera. Comedian and writer Jaboukie Young-White, who got his break on Twitter before making the leap to writing on shows like Big Mouth and becoming a Daily Show correspondent, also appears as an office employee named McNeely.
Speaking of comedians, the voice of J.P. Spamley—a seedy salesman with connections to the Dark Web—sure sounds a lot like Bill Hader, who isn’t formally credited for the part. (When asked for comment, Disney kept mum.) If the part is voiced by the comedian, there’s precedent: Hader has done numerous voice roles in the past, and has a Disney connection as well. Hader served as a voice consultant for the creation of BB-8 in The Force Awakens, alongside Ben Schwartz. The addition of Hader also strengthens Ralph’s already noticeable Saturday Night Live connections; alum Horatio Sanz voices a brief role, as do current cast members Melissa Villaseñor and Alex Moffat.
And though this doesn’t quite count as an Easter egg, it should be noted that almost all of the actresses who have voiced Disney princesses in the past returned here to play their original parts (Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana, and Ming-Na Wen as Mulan, and so on and so forth). However, the Ralph team had to get creative when it came to casting voices for Disney princesses from older movies, like Snow White. (Adriana Caselotti, who originally voiced the character, died in 1997.) The team didn’t have to look very far to find a replacement, however—the role ended up being voiced by Pamela Ribon, the co-writer of Ralph Breaks the Internet.
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Photo: From Walt Disney/Everett Collection.
Photo: From Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection.
Photo: By Karen Ballard/Open Road Films/Everett Collection.