With the absence of a Star Wars update, Disney's previews for the upcoming entries in their Marvel brand, specifically Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and, to a more limited degree, Guardians of the Galaxy), quite easily represent the highlight of this year's D23 Expo. But news about Pixar's anticipated release slate of new projects definitely comes in a close second.
On Friday, John Lasseter - the Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios - took center stage himself to offer casting details for Pixar's next few productions, notably The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out; attendees also got to learn a thing or two more about the Mouse House's own animated efforts to boot.
- The Good Dinosaur will star Lucas Neff (Raising Hope) as Arlo the Apatosaurus, John Lithgow and Frances McDormand as Arlo's father and mother, Bill Hader and Neil Patrick Harris as his brothers, and Judy Greer as his sister, Ivy. The story follows Arlo as he tries to restore peace to his home following a catastrophic event; along the way he befriends a human boy named Spot.
- Inside Out will star Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith. Each actor will represent one emotion in the mind of Riley, a young girl making the move from home to San Francisco; Poehler will play Joy, Kaling will play Disgust, Hader will play Fear, Black will play Anger (of course), and Smith will play Sadness.
- Lasseter briefly mentioned that the short that plays before The Good Dinosaur is going to be Party Central, a Monsters University bit where Mike and Sully get back together with the Oozmas to throw another party. Kelsey Mann, the story supervisor on Monsters University, will direct.
- The first Disney-animated production involving Marvel characters, Big Hero 6, also received a brief spotlight as director Don Hall showed off a sizzle clip for the film. Based on the Marvel team of the same name, the film will follow Hiro Hamada and his robot Baymax as they join forces with a group of newbie crime-fighters to save their city, San Fransokyo.
- Finally, Zootopia will be helmed by Tangled director Bryan Howard and penned by writer Jared Bush. While this is a working title only and no talent has yet been cast, the film will take place in the animal city of the same name and follow an ambitious fox who gets framed for a crime he's innocent of; he's forced to work together with Zootopia's top cop, a rabbit who finds himself the victim of a conspiracy, to clear his name.
Lasseter also talked about Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, re-confirming the return of Ellen Degeneres while also name-dropping her supporting cast members for the new film. As an extra treat, Pixar has also released some concept art for each of these three films, and it may go without saying that they're all quite impressive (the Dory shot in particular is lovely); you can view them in the gallery below.
[gallery columns="2" ids="349575,349576,349577,349584,349596"]
These announcements came ahead of the presentations for Disney's two live-action fantasy movies, the Sleeping Beauty prequel Maleficent and Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella reboot; between the two, the Pixar news sounds more exciting. First and foremost, it's a reminder of the studio's recently-reaffirmed dedication toward making original films instead of churning out sequels. This should be taken as an encouraging sign for Pixar's commitment toward creativity, even though both The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out have been on Pixar's schedule for a while now.
It's heartening to see these films begin to take shape. Little has been known about The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out until know; the latter has always been described as taking place in a young girl's mind, but the extra details as well as the list of characters go a long way toward making the movie a little less abstract. The Good Dinosaur, on the other hand, sounds like a straightforward quest tale, but there's something really enticing about the idea of Pixar tackling dinosaurs for the first time. (No, Toy Story's Rex doesn't totally count.)
While some of the other projects sound cool - Big Hero 6 in particular - there's no doubting that the new info about The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out takes the cake. We'll keep you posted on any future developments on these films, but in the meantime, the next couple of years at Pixar are looking good.
The Good Dinosaur arrives in theaters on May 30th, 2014. Inside Out arrives in theaters on June 9th, 2015. Finding Dory arrives in theaters on November 25th, 2015. Zootopia is planned for a 2016 release.
Source: Coming Soon