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Despicable Me 4 Director Won't Let the Characters Age: "They're Frozen in Time"

The Despicable Me universe wouldn't be the same without Margo, Agnes, and Edith, and changing them isn't in the cards. 

By Tyler McCarthy

Fans of Gru and the Minions are surely excited this summer, as we’re on the cusp of Despicable Me 4's release. It's the first movie in the main Despicable Me franchise since 2017 and the sixth installment overall when you count the Minions spin-off films. As the franchise continues to grow and add new characters, the Despicable Me 4 director discussed the idea of having the characters get older — and why it's not in the cards.

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For those unfamiliar, the first Despicable Me movie was all about the world’s best supervillain, Gru (Steve Carell), adopting three adorable young girls who he intended to use for his latest nefarious caper and then abandon. However, he grows to love the youngsters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Fisher), and Edith (Dana Gaier) and decides not to abandon them after all. Since then, they’ve been present on all his adventures, and Despicable Me 4 will be no exception. 

However, since their debut in 2010, the girls have remained the same age in the movies, even as a new addition, Gru Jr., joins the family. Speaking to Deadline, the Despicable Me 4 co-director noted that the new movie also has the girls remain the same age and explained why that won’t change in the future. 

Will the Despicable Me characters ever age? 

A Scene from Despicable Me 4.

Chris Renaud, who co-directs the latest film with Patrick Delage, spoke to the outlet about the question of making the three girls older and tackling the storylines that come with puberty and college.

Although he seemingly admits that would be rich territory for storytelling, the current plan is to keep things the way they are for not just the girls, but every other character as well. 

“It’s funny, it comes up a lot. I don’t think the audience cares,” he explained. “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.”

For those unfamiliar, for the many years it’s been on the air, the characters on The Simpsons have not aged beyond what they were when it premiered and the world simply ages around them. It seems that will be the case with the Despicable Me universe going forward as well.

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“They’re frozen in time,” Renaud added. “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?’”

So, it seems tackling the real-life logistics of aging isn’t a priority for the creative team behind the Despicable Me franchise at the moment. Instead, they’re focused on compelling stories that carry on its legacy. 

What is Despicable Me 4 about? 

A Scene from Despicable Me 4.

When the new movie hits theaters on July 3, fans will find Gru adjusting to life as a family man, complete with a new baby! However, he’s thrust back into a world of adventure and villainy when an old high school rival, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) comes back into his life and puts his family, reputation and more at risk. According to the trailer, not only will Gru’s entire family and some new friends have to get in on the action to help stop this next looming threat, but he’ll have to upgrade his precious Minions into Mega Minions with superpowers in order to handle whatever Maxime Le Mal has to throw at him. 

Don’t miss Gru and his family’s latest adventure in Despicable Me 4, which is only in theaters on July 3.

In the meantime, you can catch up on the previous movies on Peacock