Yesterday was a big day for Disney and Pixar fans! The D23 Expo started off with a bang with plenty of announcements, surprises, beautiful concept art and a definite lack of teaser trailers, although the audience attending the conference was treated to footage and storyboards from Pixar’s upcoming movies.
The conference started with news about a new Monsters University short film and then moved on to the three movies Pixar is releasing in the next two years before screening the first 10 minutes of the Toy Story of Terror special. Here’s everything we learned!
Party Central (Monsters University Short) (May 30, 2014)
Everything started with Bill Hader taking the stage. He voiced the slug in Monsters University and he was there to announce a new short film based on the movie. Usually, these shorts are released with the Blu-ray/DVD, but this one will be released in front of The Good Dinosaur next year.
This begs the question, shouldn’t Pixar release it with another movie (Like Muppets Most Wanted, since the second Toy Story Toon was released in front of The Muppets) and release an original Pixar short in front of their 2014 release? What do you think?
The Good Dinosaur (May 30, 2014)
John Lasseter introduced co-director Peter Sohn (the movie will be directed by Bob Peterson) and producer Denise Ream to talk about Pixar’s next film, which hits theaters May 30th, 2014.
First off, the audience was treated to a clip introducing the movie’s central “What if?” by showing an asteroid speeding through space and…missing earth. A dinosaur barely glances at the thing and keeps eating. The dinosaurs never went extinct in this movie.
We then learned that the movie will focus on Arlo, a young apatosaurus voiced by Lucas Neff (Raising Hope). We’ll also get to know his family: Poppa will be played by John Lithgow; Momma will have the voice of Frances McDormand; Arlo’s oldest sibling, Forrest, will be voiced by Bill Hader; middle-siblings Ivy and Cliff will be brought to life by Judy Greer and Neil Patrick Harris.
We had heard Lasseter say the characters in this movie would be farmers but we didn’t suspect it’s the dinosaurs that are farmers! Sohn told the audience that the dinosaurs were designed to function as their own farm equipment. So, for example, the stegosauruses “have spiky tails that mow down acres of crops”, the triceratops are bulldozers and the Apatosaurus is designed to use their long necks and tough bill to plow and plant the fields. Definitely original. It had been a while since Pixar did something this weird. It’s exciting.
The story will be set in motion when Arlo discovers a large “beetle” while plowing one day. Turns out this annoying little pest is Spot, a caveboy. He’s all alone in the world but he’s not afraid of anything. How will the dinosaurs react to this new discovery? We’ll see next year. It’s also interesting to note that Pixar once again reversed the “normal thing” and that the dinosaurs will be able to talk while Spot, the human, will not.
Inside Out (June 19, 2015)
Now, I don’t know about you but Inside Out, Pete Docter‘s next film was the most exciting thing about the conference for me. When John Lasseter, who pioneered CGI animation and directed Pixar’s first three movies, says that “This film is one of the most unique films I have ever been associated with”, you know there’s something special about it.
The movie’s director took the stage along with Jonas Riveras, who is producing, and they told us that the movie will center on Riley, an eleven-year-old blonde girl who loves sports (especially hockey), who just moved to San Francisco after leaving behind her home town of Minnesota. But the real stars of the movie will be Riley’s emotions!
Lewis Black will voice “Anger”, Mindy Kaling voices ”Disgust”, Amy Poehler will voice “Joy”, Bill Hader (again!) will lend his voice to “Fear” and Phyllis Smith will play “Sadness”. They will all fight, collaborate, spar and argue to try and keep Riley functioning.
Docter kept dropping exciting pieces of information about his highly original movie. We can see the emotions go into “abstract thought” where they become Picasso-versions of themselves or “dream pictures”, where dreams are produced and we’ll see “the train of thought”, that connects thoughts.
We all wanted originality from Pixar. We are going to get it.
Finding Dory (November 25, 2015)
Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) then gave us some Finding Dory news to enjoy. He had the idea for the film about two years ago: “Where is Dory’s family?”. The events of the movie take one year after Finding Nemo and both Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks will be back to voice Dory and Marlin (respectively, we hope).
New cast members include Academy Award-winner Diane Keaton as Jenny, Dory’s mom; Euegene Levy (American Pie) as Dory’s dad, Charlie;and the hilarious Ty Burell (Modern Family) as Bailey, the Beluga whale.
Also, we heard rumors that Blackfish, a documentary about whales in captivity and the cruelty they have to suffer, may have changed the ending of Dory!
Toy Story of Terror (October 16, 2013)
Are you doing anything this October 16th? Cancel your plans because the 30-minute long Toy Story of Terror short will air on that date on ABC. The audience got to see the first 10 minutes of the special (if you want a spoiler-y description, go here) but so far, we know all of our favorite characters will spend the night at a motel, where they will find lost toys telling terrifying tales of abandonment. We’ll even get to see a Combat Carl, a toy we heard of and saw Sid blow up in the original Toy Story but never met.
That’s all, folks! What are you most excited about? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments!