Disney and Pixar announce new films (Wired UK)

Composer Randy Newman and director John Lasseter on stage at Disney’s D23 in California during the announcement of Toy Story 4

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

To a trilogy, and beyond: Toy Story is getting yet another sequel. That was the biggest news on the first day of Disney‘s bi-annual D23 Expo in California, where Pixar and Disney Animation Studios revealed their upcoming slate of films. Among them: Toy Story 4Incredibles II and Cars 3, as well as new details and footage from Nemo sequel Finding Dory. Disney Animation Studios – riding high off the success of Frozen and this year’s Big Hero 6 – also announced its new films. 

“Walt Disney studios is back,” exclaimed chief creative officer John Lasseter as he kicked off the event, citing the studio’s successive hits since he and Pixar president Ed Catmull took over following Disney’s Pixar acquisition in 2006. That success, he said, was down to “changing the studio from an executive driven studio to a filmmaker driven studio.”

Among the Disney Animation films shown: next spring’s Zootopia, directed by Tangled’s Byron Howard and Wreck It Ralph’s Rich Moore. A kind of buddy cop-comedy (the main character is a bunny police officer), the film is set in the titular animal-made metropolis, stuffed with amusingly animated human-like creatures. “One of the things I’ve always loved about Disney Animation is talking animal movies,” said Lasseter. The footage was charming and funny, with the city itself split into animal-specific districts like Tundra Town (arctic animals) and The Burrows (the rabbit neighbourhood, population soaring by the second).

Lasseter then revealed Gigantic, a film he called “our version of Jack And The Beanstalk”. Helmed by Tangled co-director Nathan Greno and due in 2018, Gigantic has a very similar visual feel; Jack is now Spanish, and the film is set during the age of discovery. It’s also a musical, with songs from Frozen composers Robin and Kristen Lopez (blame them for your “Let It Go” earworm). 

Concept art from Disney Animation Studios' "Gigantic"
Concept art from Disney Animation Studios’ “Gigantic”Disney Animation Studios

The most unexpected discovery of the day: Disney fans really, really like The Rock. Dwayne Johnson took to the stage to announce his participation in next year’s South Pacific-set Moana. Inspired by local folk legends, the film is created by John Musker and Ron Clements, who worked on The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, and looks stunning. In particular the Pacific Ocean, “a character in movie”, which ripples and glitters, and has its own personality a la Aladdin’s Magic Carpet. 

Then came the Pixar presentation, first with a viewing of new Inside Out short Riley’s First Date? before an extended look at this autumn’s impressive-looking The Good Dinosaur. But it was the sequels that stole the show.

“The one question we get asked most often is: will we do a sequel to Finding Nemo. And we get asked by one person in particular,” joked Lasseter, before showing a clip of Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of Dory) pleading with Pixar to do a sequel as a running gag in her TV show. DeGeneres then took to the stage to introduce her fellow cast members, including Ty Burrell and Ed O’Neill from Modern Family. Finding Dory is set six months after the original, and follows Dory, Marlin and Nemo as they travel to California to find Dory’s family. The footage we saw was classic Pixar: funny and beautifully animated. 

Disney Animation Studios

There was a brief showing for the studio’s upcoming film based on the Mexican day of the dead, which now has a title: Coco, and is being directed by Lee Unkrich (and shouldn’t be confused with the recent Book Of Life). 

But the biggest highlight, undoubtedly, was the fourth Toy Story. “At Pixar we only make sequels when we know we’ve found a story that is as good or better than the original,” said Lasseter, revealing that he and Toy Story co-creator Andrew Stanton met in secret to develop the script, to avoid anyone getting their hopes up. Lasseter will return to co-direct the film, alongside first-time director Josh Cooley. “It is a love story between Woody and Bo Peep. Woody and Buzz Lightyear head out to find Bo,” says Lasseter.  “It’s very very special. It’s a very personal story for me. It’s inspired by my wife Nancy.” 

One big absence: Incredibles 2 and Cars 3, both of which were revealed on new posters on the Expo floor, but omitted from the presentation. 

Tomorrow will see Disney’s live action presentation, during which the studio will reveal more information on its upcoming films – including Marvel and Star Wars. Check back on WIRED tomorrow for updates. 

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15 August 2015 | 8:49 am – Source: wired.co.uk


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