Toy Story 4 is the latest Pixar movie - but there are a whole lot more from the animation studio on the way. Pixar has become a central part of Disney's ever-growing media empire, with its animated films are recognized worldwide as the gold standard for quality. The studio has won no less than nine Best Animated Feature Oscars over the years.
In spite of that, Pixar has been going through a difficult time of late. John Lasseter stepped down as Chief Creative Officer after allegations of sexual misconduct, with Pete Docter taking over as head of the animation house. Docter joined Pixar in 1990, and his emotional approach to storytelling led to some of Pixar's greatest hits. He's best known as the director of Monsters Inc, Up, and Inside Out, a resume that naturally bodes well for the future.
Pixar is well known for their secrecy, preferring to book slots for untitled releases and then keep information out of the public domain for as long as possible. As a result, while their next two films are confirmed, looking further forward there are a lot of intriguing question marks. Excitingly, it seems that Docter doesn't intend his new role to prevent him continuing to make movies, and he'll be producing what will surely be a whole host of animated classics.
Onward - March 6, 2020
Directed by Dan Scanlon (Monsters University), Onward is set in a fantastical world where creatures like elves and pixies are placed in a modern society with suburbs, picket fences, airplanes, and trash cans. "There are mushroom houses that line the streets with satellite dishes sticking out the top of them and a minivan parked in front of each one," Scanlon explained when the film was officially announced. Onward stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two brothers on a quest to find a little bit of magic so they can spend one day with their late father. It's an intensely personal story for Scanlon, whose own father died when he was very young. Holland and Pratt appear to have been cast according to type, with Holland's character reminiscent of Spider-Man and Pratt's similar to Star-Lord. To date, Pixar has only released a single Onward teaser trailer, which reveals more about the world than the narrative.
Soul - June 19, 2020
There had been concerns that Docter's new role would interfere with the production of his next directorial project, but fortunately, that's not the case. At the time of Toy Story 4's release, precious little is known about Soul; Pixar has only released an official logo, accompanied by an intriguing synopsis:
"Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you... YOU? In 2020, Pixar Animation Studios takes you on a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life’s most important questions."
Soul sounds very much reminiscent to Docter's Inside Out, perhaps suggesting that aspects of the soul will be anthropomorphized in a similar way.
Three Untitled Pixar Films (2021-2022)
Looking further foward, Pixar has three movies slated for release in 2021 and 2022:
- June 18, 2021
- March 18, 2022
- June 17, 2022
These are likely to be directed by Brian Fee (director of Cars 3), Mark Andrews (director of Brave), and Domee Shi (director of short film Bao), who are all reportedly working on feature animations at Pixar, although which film corresponds to which date hasn't been revealed. Beyond the creatives involved, little is known about these projects, but they definitely promise exciting things for Pixar's future.
- Onward (2020) release date: Mar 06, 2020