Brought by Robert Rodriguez Spy children back to the ultimate family way.
The visionary director, 55, collaborated with his son Racer, 26, on the script for Netflix’s upcoming film Spy Kids: Armageddon — an all-new reboot of Robert’s beloved family franchise. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the father-son team talks about the writing process, their partnership and the evolution of the series.
“Racer and my kids have been working with me since they were crawling, so making movies with them is always fun,” Robert tells PEOPLE. “But this movie in particular was even more special because not only did my kids act in the early movies, they grew up being huge fans of the show. So with Racer and I writing together, we knew how much it would mean to a new family audience and to people who are now parents who grew up with the original series.”
The From dusk to dawn the director says that “we each brought our own unique perspective” to the table, noting that the creative process is “a lot more fun when you can have a collaborator who shares so many reference points because you’ve lived together for so long.”
Courtesy of Netflix
“For us, it is the ultimate family bonding experience,” explains Robert, adding ” Spy children films are the only existing film series made by a family for other families. So it’s unique and special and it’s hard to compare it to other films that I do, because those films are so personal. The family is an inspiration, and that is also our target audience.”
Spy Kids: Armageddon follows Tony (Connor Esterson) and Patty (Everly Carganilla), who are the children of secret agents Nora (Gina Rodriguez) and Terrence (Zachary Levi).
After the siblings “unwittingly help a powerful game developer unleash a computer virus that gives him control over his technology, they must become spies themselves to save their parents and the world,” reads the official logo for the film.
Racer tells PEOPLE that he “never imagined” he would work as a director, adding that he is “constantly grateful for how special it is to make this film for a new generation.”
“He came up with it Sharkboy and Lavagirl at age 6,” adds Robert, whose son received story credit for that film, noting that he would “write scripts in a notebook and talk his brothers into being his crew on short film projects.”
Alexa PenaVega Says Her Kids ‘Don’t Like’ ‘Spy Kids,’ They Think She ‘Should’ve Been Lavagirl’
Not only did Racer contribute to the film’s script, but he also designed the video game Hiskor within the film. Coinciding with the film’s release, Netflix created Hyskor Run on Roblox – a fun, new immersive 3D experience for fans of the deep dive into all things Spy Kids: Armageddon.
Robert — also father to Rocket, 28, Rebel, 24, Rogue, 19, and Rhiannon, 18, who he shares with ex-wife Elizabeth Avellán — says “I learn from them as much as they learn from me” when working with his kids.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
The director tells PEOPLE: “They are now at the age I was when I was filming El Mariachi and Desperateso their imagination and work ethic are off limits.”
On the evolution of the family action franchise, Robert says, “Thematically, the idea of kids being spies has always offered these movies so many parallels with the mission of keeping families together, strengthening families so they can go out into the world and make a difference.”
Why Astronaut José Hernández Chose Michael Peña to Play Him in New Movie ‘A Million Miles Away’ (Exclusive)
“My dad and I are the biggest Spy children to the fans,” adds Racer. “Working with him on writing, shooting, editing, scoring, VFX, sound mixing, which were things I watched him do on his own when I was half his height, made me really admire and appreciate it. It was a pleasure to create this together out of our shared love of this inspired series.”
Spy Kids: Armageddon is on Netflix on September 22. The Roblox experience will be released globally on Roblox on the same day.