Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe isn’t the first Phineas and Ferb movie. That title belongs to Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension, which premiered on Disney Channel in 2011 while the show was airing. And this month’s Disney Plus release would have been the third movie, if a planned, theatrical spinoff of the series had actually come to pass.
In a recent interview ahead of Candace Against the Universe’s premiere, Phineas and Ferb creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh spoke about the original concept, which was announced after Across the Second Dimension and given a tentative, big-screen release date in 2013. The film was eventually shelved due to changing studio heads and shifting priorities.
When it came to Candace Against the Universe, the creators went with an entirely different concept and plot — but they did lift something directly from their original drafts.
“The only scene that we stole from that was one that John Barry, one of our writers who is also writing on this new movie, had done that just stuck in my mind all the time,” explains Povenmire.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe]
In Candace Against the Universe, the recovered scene occurs when the kids are headed back to Earth to stop alien leader Super Super Big Doctor (Ali Wong) from conquering the planet. Their spaceship reaches light speed — and reality starts to break down, stripping the the characters of their color, rendering them into crude sketches, then storyboards, before panning back to show Povenmire and Marsh pitching the sequence.
“That scene is word for word what [Barry] had put in this one version of that script. And because I was like, ‘Oh, hey, we’re gonna go, they can go past the speed of light. We can do that thing that you had.’ It was in a slightly different context and the other way,” recounts Povenmire. “‘Does anybody have that draft?’ We had to go archive back through stuff. And he said, ‘Okay, I know, I’ve got it somewhere.’ And it took him a day or two to find. He found it. He brought it in and we just snipped it out and put it right in the script by the way it was, because I read it again. I was like, ‘Wep, this is it. This is the thing that makes me laugh.’”
The original theatrical feature was never formally canceled, per se, but put on hold. Back in 2018, Povenmire and Marsh revealed at a San Diego Comic-Con panel that the movie’s continuation was dependent on the success of the Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Law crossover special. But with no further news on that front, it would appear that the theatrical movie is still floating around in development.
Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe is available to stream on Disney Plus.