We heard that Oscar-winning animation filmmaker Andrew Stanton is directing a Finding Nemo sequel last year, not so long after his expensive live-action debut John Carter proved to be a disappointment at the box office. It didn't take long for Ellen DeGeneres to enter negotiations to reprise her beloved voice role as the memory-impaired blue tang fish Dory from the first movie.
A few months later, Disney/Pixar introduced DeGeneres' character to the current kiddie generation - who were either not alive or too young to remember the year 2003 - by giving Finding Nemo a 3D theatrical re-rerelease. That decision was rewarding on two levels, in terms of immediate profits AND early marketing for the sequel, which has now been officially titled... Finding Dory.
Here is an excerpt from the press release, with Stanton and DeGeneres discussing the story and themes for Finding Dory:
“I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time,” said DeGeneres. “I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.”
Director and Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes audiences back to the extraordinary underwater world created in the original film. “There is no Dory without Ellen,” said Stanton. “She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world—not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn’t stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In ‘Finding Dory,’ she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way.”
According to Stanton, “Finding Dory” takes place about a year after the first film, and features returning favorites Marlin, Nemo and the Tank Gang, among others. Set in part along the California coastline, the story also welcomes a host of new characters, including a few who will prove to be a very important part of Dory’s life.
Finding Dory will open in theaters on November 25th, 2015. The ocean-set adventure will surely be released in both 2D and 3D, which is encouraging news for those who were impressed by how the extra dimension enhanced the breadth and scope of Finding Nemo's aquatic setting and fishy inhabitants featured in the 3D re-release (read our review for a more in-depth analysis). Indeed, those effects should be all the more pronounced in the sequel, thanks to more pre-planning and advancements in computer animation over the past decade.
While you have to take a grain of salt with Stanton's claims about him committing to Finding Dory being a matter of good timing - and not a direct response to John Carter's smaller-than-desired ticket sales - what's been revealed about the sequel so far sounds promising, especially considering how many people appeared concerned that a followup to Finding Nemo would just re-hash the Best Animated Feature Oscar-winning original movie's storyline.
Instead, it sounds as though the "Finding" will be more figurative than literal in the Nemo sequel, which has Albert Brooks returning as Marlin and DeGeneres as Dory becoming a more fully-rounded character (e.g. the protagonist, by the sound of it).
There's potential for Finding Dory to rank alongside the second and third Toy Story movie - as Pixar sequels which keep pushing the studio to mature and grow from a creative standpoint - something its last followup to a lucrative original work, Cars 2, failed to accomplish. We'll keep our fingers crossed for that to happen (in the meantime - just keep swimming, swimming...).
Finding Dory releases in theaters on November 25th, 2015.