Finding Nemo 2 (not the official title) has found its Dory – once again in the form of Ellen DeGeneres. The talk-shown sensation has entered negotiations to reprise her voice-acting role as the lovable blue tang fish suffering from short-term memory loss (a.k.a. Memento syndrome) in the sequel to Pixar’s Oscar-winning 2003 hit.
The original Finding Nemo paired DeGeneres opposite Albert Brooks (Drive) as Marlin, the overly-clingy clownfish who sets out on a whirlwind adventure across the ocean – including, encounters with aspiring vegetarian sharks, surfer turtles, and a krill-eating whale who lends them a ride (… in its mouth) – in order to rescue his son, Nemo, who’s been captured by humans.
DeGeneres has frequently discussed her interest in returning to the (animated) ocean for Finding Nemo 2, over the nine years that have passed since that film grossed some $868 million worldwide in theaters (still the highest number for a non-sequel Pixar movie). Heat Vision has the scoop on DeGeneres circling Nemo 2, and points out that the role of Dory was even written with the popular comedian in mind.
Andrew Stanton co-directed Finding Nemo with Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich, working from the former’s original screen story. We received confirmation a few weeks ago that Stanton is returning to call the shots on the sequel, following his failed attempt to launch a new live-action franchise with Disney’s John Carter. Stanton is drawing inspiration from a Nemo 2 story concept that he’s had a hand in developing for several months now.
Scripting duties on Finding Nemo 2 are assigned to Victoria Strouse, a veteran of the crime genre thanks to her work on the film New Best Friend and short-lived TV show Angela’s Eyes; she also wrote for the drama-mystery series October Road, from the creators of the American Life on Mars and Happy Town. Chances are good that Stanton will likewise contribute to the writing process, as he has done with all his feature directorial efforts to date (including, WALL·E and A Bug’s Life, the latter of which Stanton co-directed).
Pixar’s storytelling approach has varied in the past, with regards to its sequels. While the Toy Story movies, in essence, recycle the same core narrative (Woody and Co. must find a way back to their beloved owner, Andy), each installment uses that basic setup to explore such complex issues as sibling rivalry, existential angst, and the impermanence of childhood. Cars 2, by comparison, was more just a silly spinoff adventure featuring the tow-truck Mater, rather than a true continuation of the story and themes introduced in its predecessor.
Many of our readers have already speculated that Finding Nemo 2 will go the Toy Story route, with one of the characters having to be rescued. Could the sequel thus involve Dory ending up lost, forcing Marlin and Nemo to join forces in order to save her (and get some quality father-son bonding time in the process)? Or do Stanton and his Pixar collaborators have something more unexpected up their sleeves? Only time will tell, though we remain hopeful it’s the latter situation.
Next summer marks the arrival of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University. The revered computer-animation studio will stick to original content for a couple years thereafter, beginning with Up co-director Bob Peterson’s The Good Dinosaur followed by Peter Docter’s sci-fi project (tentatively known as The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind). Finding Nemo 2 is scheduled to arrive the year thereafter, most likely in Summer 2016.
Finding Nemo will return to the big screen with a 3D re-release next month on September 14th.