EXCLUSIVE: ‘Strange World’ Director on Naming the Clade Family

Strange World, the latest entry in Disney’s massive film collection, is set to introduce audiences to a whole new batch of wonderful characters. Brought to life by a wide range of talent, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Jaboukie Young-White, the movie will revolve around an adventurous family known as the Clades. Gyllenhaal portrays Searcher Clade, a humble farmer, while Young-White plays his wanderlust-fueled son, Ethan. The patriarch of the Clade clan, a world-famous explorer named Jaeger, is brought to life by Dennis Quaid, while Searcher’s wife Meridian, a skilled pilot, is voiced by Gabrielle Union.

The crux of the film’s story, which sees the family journey through an unknown world, is the relationship between Jaeger and Searcher. While the former is fully on board with his exciting way of life, the latter could do without, causing an emotional rift between the two when Jaeger tries to impose exploration on his only child. Their names, obviously, are reflective of this, something co-director Don Hall says came about at the very beginning of the creative process. In an exclusive interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, Hall and co-director Qui Nguyen were asked how the film’s protagonists got their monikers, and Hall explained that, like everything else in the movie, it really came down to jumping off of Jaeger:

I think it was very early on, maybe before Qui got on. Really, Jaeger is the planet that everything orbits around. The desire to examine that overly heroic adventurer and deconstruct that character a little bit. That’s where it started. Then, y’know, thinking about how interesting it would be to tell the story through the perspective of his son, who didn’t want to be that. Who rejected pretty much all of that. That felt like a more interesting angle to watch the movie through.

Don Hall

He continued to reveal that, with this plot point in mind, what to call Gyllenhaal‘s lead fell into place naturally. Hall even offered an alternative option for the character’s name, before giving the final thought on why they went with ‘Searcher’:

It made sense that Jaeger would name his son ‘Searcher.’ It just felt like it was in the same vibe – and obviously ‘Jaeger Jr.’, probably. I could see that too. If not ‘Jaeger Jr.’, then ‘Searcher.’ I just liked what it evoked, I just liked that feeling of not knowing everything and that you’re still seeking, and that’s what this character was doing.

Don Hall

Strange World is now in theaters.

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