Ice Age: Collision Course is deeply rooted in the mythology of the original Ice Age

It’s an inter-generational story to which everyone, anywhere, can relate.

Audiences everywhere love the Ice Age films, which is the second biggest animated motion picture franchise in the world.  Each new story increases the stakes, scale, adventure, humor and heart—making Ice Age: Collision Course the biggest and most ambitious film of the series.   Propelling audiences to new environments, like the cosmos and a crystallized world known as Geotopia, this is the defining chapter in the Ice Age “chillogy,” with many of the characters beginning new journeys.

Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age world.  To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, as they travel to exotic new lands and encounter a host of colorful new characters.


Screenwriter Michael Wilson has come full circle working on Ice Age: Collision Course. He created the original story and characters, and co-wrote the screenplay for the first Ice Age film. He has also written other family movies, such as Shark Tale (Dreamworks), and Gladiators of Rome (Rainbow/Iginio Straffi).Wilson is currently writing a new family franchise, Rainbow Bridge, for producers Elliot Abbott and John Levin. He is also creating an original CGI TV series for Unilever and Moonbot, and has also been working with Gavin O’Connor and Warner Bros. on a drug cartel feature, Blood In, Blood Out. Wilson has five children ages 2 – 25 and lives with his wife Regina in Camarillo.

The new film’s story is deeply rooted in the mythology of the original Ice Age. 

 Producer Lori Forte, who has been with the franchise since its inception, and whose ideas have sparked several of the films’ stories, explains:  “In the first film, there was a scene where the herd passes through a kind of ice ‘museum,’ where we see a prehistoric fish, a dinosaur, the evolution of Sid, and then a spacecraft or flying saucer.

“We always recognized that the spaceship was intriguing and knew there was some kind of mythology attached to it that we’d someday explore, but at that time we didn’t know exactly what it was,” she continues.   “So we decided the time was right to come back around to that piece of Ice Age, and sowed the seeds for Collision Course.”

There was also a precedent for Scrat’s life being turned upside down by technology.  In the Oscar-nominated short No Time for Nuts, the character finds a time machine, which creates a different kind of techno-havoc for Scrat.

Another connection to the original film—and to its subsequent chapters—is the herd’s relatable family dynamics, which provide heart and emotion, and complement the comedy and adventure.   But like most families, the herd must adapt to a world that’s always in flux.  “We take our family of characters further than we’ve seen them before,” says Forte.  “We have a great time seeing how far we can push the characters, their world, and the obstacles they must overcome.  And we love throwing our heroes into environments they’re not yet equipped to handle.”


Screenwriter Michael Berg co-wrote the 2002 Twentieth Century Fox feature film Ice Age, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature. He also co-wrote 2009’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. Berg has worked on all five of the Ice Age films, the first four of which have amassed nearly $3 billion in theatrical revenue. He also did rewrites on the animated feature Robots and the live-action hit Are We There Yet? starring Ice Cube. Berg’s various studio assignments have included novel adaptations and comedy punch-up, for Miramax, Illumination, Universal, MGM and Revolution Studios. Berg is currently adapting the classic children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH as a live-action CGI hybrid for MGM. He received a BA in History from Rutgers College, and attended the American Film Institute’s MFA program as a screenwriting fellow. Berg sold his original feature script The New Jersey Turnpikes, to Universal Pictures and was admitted to the Writer’s Guild West at the age of 26. He has been an active member of the guild for the last 20 years. In addition to penning screenplays, Berg has written articles and short stories for magazines such as Details and Rosebud.

Yet, the Ice Age characters always triumph because they’re constantly adapting to their situations.  “The herd is always evolving,” Forte continues.  “As the world around them transforms, they must change as well.”

…Where No Scrat Has Gone Before

Scrat is, of course, one character that never changes.  In Ice Age: Collision Course he continues his pursuit of the cursed acorn.  But this time Scrat’s quest is taking him where no Ice Age character has gone before—the cosmos—where the consequences of his antics are nothing short of “Scrat-tastrophic.”

In this film, Scrat drives the story, instead of merely providing comic relief to the main story of the herd.

And it’s about time.  Scrat is literally at every major moment in the history of the natural world.  He ushered in the Ice Age, started the Meltdown, unleashed the Lost World of the Dinosaurs into the Ice Age, started the separation of the continents—and now, he’s triggered a series of cosmic disasters that threaten the Ice Age world.   “In this film, Scrat is pretty much responsible for the expansion of the universe as we know it,” notes Forte.  “It’s his version of the Big Bang.”

Director Michael Thurmeier embraced the opportunity to find a unique environment—and catastrophes—for the cherished acorn-chaser.  “I see so much potential with what you can do with Scrat,” he notes.  “He’s become a true classic animated character.  Scrat never stops persevering, no matter what happens to him.”The filmmakers’ new path for Scrat also presents fresh obstacles to overcome.  This time, he must deal with gravitational forces, otherworldly technology, and the infinite mysteries of the cosmos.

The Empty Nest: Shockwaves Of A Different Kind


Screenwriter Yoni Brenner has written for a number of Fox/Blue Sky productions, including Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio and Rio 2. He has written song lyrics for all of those movies, as well as for Ice Age: Collision Course. Brenner is also active in television, developing original shows for Warner Bros., Comedy Central, and HBO. In addition to screenwriting, he is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and his short humor has been published in The New York Times, GQ, McSweeney’s, Bloomberg View and other outlets. Brenner’s writing has appeared in several anthologies, including Disquiet, Please: More Humor Writing From the New Yorker, and The Best American Sportswriting of 2011. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

When Scrat starts playing pinball with the planets, he creates the ultimate Scrat-aclysm, sending the mother of all asteroids hurtling toward Earth.  Again, Scrat’s misadventures have life- and world-changing consequences for our sub-zero heroes on the ground.   At the same time, there are earth-shaking events of an entirely different nature playing out for the gang.  Manny and Ellie’s daughter Peaches is getting married, and to Manny that’s as unwanted a development as an asteroid landing in his backyard.

“The asteroid heading toward Earth is the equivalent of Manny’s future son-in-law Julian coming into the mammoth’s life,” confirms Thurmeier.  Both the feared cosmic collision and Manny and Ellie’s looming “empty nest” have a huge impact on the characters and their world.   “The Ice Age films are always about the milestones in the characters’ lives and watching them evolve as a family,” adds the director.

So, Manny’s world is changing—and he’s not happy about it.   Peaches has dropped a bombshell on her parents, and, says co-director Galen Tan Chu: “Manny sees that as a threat.  She’s not only getting married, she and her soon-to-be hubby Julian are moving away to begin their lives as a couple.”


Director Michael Thurmeier was born in Canada and studied in the world-renowned animation department at Sheridan College. Upon graduation, he was hired as an animator at Blue Sky Studios, and worked on special animation for the film Fight Club (1999) and the television series The Sopranos (1999-2007). Thurmeier was lead animator on the big screen animated hit Ice Age (2002), which earned him an Annie Award for best character animation. He was supervising animator on the animated features Robots (2005) and Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006). Thurmeier’s short film No Time for Nuts (2006) was nominated for a 2007 Oscar, and won the Annie for best animated short. He was supervising animator on the hit animated feature Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008), co-director on the global smash Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) and director on the blockbuster Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012).

To Manny, no one is good enough for Peaches, especially at a time when the world may be coming to an end.  Can Julian protect his daughter?  Manny’s doubtful he’s up to the task.

Co-director Galen Tan Chu is a true veteran of the Ice Age franchise and Blue Sky Studios. Having started his career at Blue Sky Studios as an animator on Ice Age (2002) he became a lead animator on Blue Sky’s second animated feature Robots (2005). On Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), he was promoted to supervising animator and then served as supervising animator on Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), Rio (2011) and Epic (2013). He also directed the direct-to-DVD short Surviving Sid (2008). Chu is a graduate of the Pratt Institute, where he studied illustration and animation. While at Pratt, he participated in a prestigious Disney training program and did freelance work for clients including Charmin and Nickelodeon. He currently resides in Queens, NY, with his wife and baby daughter.

As any dad—including the film’s director and one of its stars—can attest, that’s a relatable and understandable sentiment.   Says Thurmeier, with a smile: “I’m a dad with two young girls, and when I look at Manny I see my future.  My girls are going to grow up and get married, and that’s obviously a fact of life.  Hopefully, I’ll learn from Manny’s mistakes.”

Manny’s better half, Ellie, joins her hubby in dreading Peaches leaving home.  But she has a different, more measured approach to the family disruption.  “Ellie wants to make sure she’s done all she can to prepare Peaches to go out into the world,” says Chu.

You can sum up the Ice Age films’ incredible global appeal with one word: family.  Here, the family of filmmakers on Ice Age: Collision Course reflects on that central theme.

Lori Forte:  “The films are about a group of disparate characters who found each and created a family.  That connection keeps expanding and evolving, and that resonates with audiences.  You don’t have to be related by blood to be family.”

Galen Tan Chu: “What strikes a chord for audiences around the world is that the members of the herd look out for each other.  They’ve grown up together as this family, and people really connect to that journey.”

Indeed, the Ice Age films are also love stories:  Manny has Ellie, Peaches has Julian, Diego has Shira.  Even the crazy brotherly bond between daredevils Crash and Eddie is a kind of love story.  But what about Sid the sloth?  Sure, he has his pals in the herd, who are like brothers and sisters to Sid.   Yet, romantic love has proven elusive, if not impossible.