How 'Spy Kids: Armageddon' Brought Robert Rodriguez Even Closer to Son Racer: 'Ultimate Family Bonding' (Exclusive)

How 'Spy Kids: Armageddon' Brought Robert Rodriguez Even Closer to Son Racer: 'Ultimate Family Bonding' (Exclusive)

The director and his son open up to PEOPLE about their writing collaboration on the upcoming 'Spy Kids: Armageddon'

Robert Rodriguez is bringing Spy Kids back in the ultimate family way.

The visionary director, 55, collaborated with his son, Racer, 26, on the screenplay for Netflix’s upcoming Spy Kids: Armageddon — a brand-new reboot of Robert's beloved family franchise. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the father-son team opens up about the writing process, their partnership, and the evolution of the series.

“Racer and my kids have been working with me since they could crawl, so making movies with them is always so much fun,” Robert tells PEOPLE. “But this movie in particular was even more special because my kids not only acted in the early films but grew up as big fans of the series. So for Racer and I to be writing together, we knew how much it would mean to new family audiences and to the people who are now parents that grew up with the original series.”

The From Dusk Till Dawn director says “we each brought our unique perspective” to the table, noting the creative process is “so much more fun when you can have a collaborator who shares so many reference points because you’ve lived together for so long.”

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p>

Courtesy of Netflix

“It’s the ultimate family bonding experience for us,” Robert explains, adding “the Spy Kids movies are the only movie series in existence that is made by a family for other families. So it’s unique and special and hard to compare to the other movies I make, because these films are so personal. Family is the inspiration, and that’s also our target audience.”

Spy Kids: Armageddon follows Tony (Connor Esterson) and Patty (Everly Carganilla), who are children to 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 of all technology, they must become spies themselves to save their parents and the world," reads an official logline for the movie.

Racer tells PEOPLE he “never could have imagined” that he would be working as a filmmaker, adding he’s “constantly appreciative of just how special it is to make this movie for a new generation.”

“He came up with Sharkboy and Lavagirl at age 6,” Robert, whose son received story credit for that film, adds, noting “he would write scripts in a notebook and wrangle his brothers to be his crew on his short film projects.”

<p>Robert Rodriguez/Instagram</p>

Robert Rodriguez/Instagram

Related: Alexa PenaVega Says Her Kids 'Don't Like' 'Spy Kids', Think She 'Should Have Been Lavagirl'

Not only did Racer contribute to the film's screenplay, he also came up with the video game Hyskor within the film. Timed to the film’s release, Netflix has created Hyskor Run on Roblox - a fun, new immersive 3D experience for fans to dive deeper 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 just as much from them as they learn from me” when collaborating with his kids.

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The filmmaker tells PEOPLE “they’re now the age I was when I made El Mariachi and Desperado, so their imaginations and work ethic are off the charts.”

On the evolution of the family action franchise, Robert says, “Thematically, the idea of kids being spies has always offered these films so many parallels to the mission of keeping a family together, making the family strong, so that they can go out into the world and cause change.”

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“My dad and I are the biggest Spy Kids fans," Racer adds. “Getting to work alongside him on the writing, filming, editing, scoring, VFX, sound mixing, which were things that I used to watch him work through alone when I was half my height made me greatly admire and appreciate him. It’s been a joy to create this together from our mutual love of this inspired series.”

Spy Kids: Armageddon is on Netflix Sept. 22. The Roblox experience will be released globally on Roblox the same day.

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