Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar’s beloved Finding Nemo, will release in theaters 13 years after the original film, yet the story picks up but a year after Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) braved reformed sharks, fields of sea mines, jellyfish, seagulls and so many other obstacles on their journey across the ocean to find and rescue Marlin’s son, Nemo. As such, things shouldn’t be so different in the Nemo universe when the second installment gets underway (unlike, say, how much had changed in the Toy Story world between the second and third movies).

Up to now, the only Finding Nemo supporting player to have been confirmed for the sequel was Vicki Lewis, again voicing Deb and her “sister” Flo (who has an odd habit of vanishing whenever there’s no mirror around). However, Willem Dafoe has now revealed that he’ll be back as Gill, the heavily-scarred Moorish Idol fish and leader of the Tank Gang who, along with his companions, managed to escape from dentist Philip Sherman’s office when the first movie ended (…well, sort of).

Dafoe told Total Film that he has already started to work on Finding Dory even though the sequel is three years off. Moreover, he had some encouraging things to say about the film (even while admitting that he’s not exactly an unbiased party):

“Yeah I’ve already started. It’s even better than the first. It’s fantastic. It’s good to say I think it’s going to be better than the first; that’s good advertising! It’s difficult to repeat a success and so many years afterwards, but it’s really cool. I’ve done one session so far and I just am going to have such a good time.”

So far, the new vocal additions in Finding Dory include Eugene Levy (American Reunion), Diane Keaton (The Big Wedding) and Ty Burrell (Muppets Most Wanted), as characters from Dory’s past who are reunited with the forgetful Blue Tang fish in the sequel. Meanwhile,  director Andrew Stanton will shake-off the tough reception for John Carter by returning to the animation medium where he made his mark, drawing from a script written by Victoria Strouse (October Road).

Dory certainly ranks high on the list of beloved Pixar movie supporting characters, so it will be all the more interesting to see how well the character holds up when serving as protagonist of the Finding Nemo sequel. On the one hand, the decision to move a sidekick into the spotlight didn’t work so well on the last Pixar sequel, Cars 2. On the other hand, one of the main points of the storyline for Finding Dory is to show a new side of the eponymous character (by exploring her past) – something that the Cars sequel had little interest in doing with the Mater character from the first movie.

Plus, seeing how Lewis and Dafoe are coming back (with other members of the Tank Gang likely to follow) along with Brooks as Marlin, it sounds as though Finding Dory might employ a narrative formula similar to that used for Toy Story 2, i.e. where there will be multiple characters (old and new) playing key supporting roles while the protagonist (i.e. Dory) undergoes a crisis that is partly emotional, partly due to exterior forces – and a film like that could prove to be a worthy followup to the first movie (perhaps even better, as Dafoe said).

Are you glad to hear that Gill is returning in Finding Dory? Does this Pixar sequel sound like it could be a winner?

Finding Dory is now slated to open in theaters on June 17th, 2016.

Source: Total Film