In the original pitch for the film, Snug piloted the plane and was killed when it was struck by Syndrome's missiles. Brad Bird had always wanted a character to die in order to emphasize how dangerous Syndrome was. However, in order to make audiences care about Snug's death, lots of scenes to establish his character had to be added, which resulted in the focus being taken off the main characters.
Early in production, John Lasseter suggested that Helen simply fly the plane. Brad Bird initially resisted because he still wanted someone to be lost in the explosion. However, he soon realized that the scene would work better with Helen in Snug's role on account of having her as the sole person responsible for her family's safety heightened the intensity.