It hasn’t had quite the attention or the focus given to its more major-league competition during the awards season so far but, nonetheless, The Book of Life continues to receive well-deserved praise for its unique visual styling and cornucopia of colorful visuals. Suffice it to say, there’s a pretty good reason why it bagged five nominations at this year’s upcoming Annie Awards.
But like any director, Jorge Gutierrez does indeed have plans for other projects beyond the The Book of Life. But could one of these plans involve a return trip to the colorful universe crafted in his debut picture? According to a recent podcast interview, that just might be the case.
(Slight spoilers for The Book of Life below. Read with caution).
Back in October, our friends over at UK-based Skwigly Animation Podcast hosted an interview with director Jorge Gutierrez, wherein he talked about the film and the inspirations for the characters, mythology, art style, and how it all came together (among other things). When asked about what the reunion between Joaquín (Channing Tatum) and his father would be like (since we saw the reunion between Manolo and his mother in the film), he revealed that that’s actually one of the ideas for what he envisions as a trilogy of films based in that particular world.
He elaborates on this a bit more by saying the following: “I had always imagined the first movie to be about Manolo, the second to be about Joaquín and the third one to be about Maria.” Then came the reveal that he “always conceived it as a trilogy.”
But before fans of the film get too excited, he did make a point of saying that neither Reel FX nor 20th Century Fox have announced anything concrete. That said, he does very much relish the chance of returning to that world someday. “It’s going to be amazing” Gutierrez remarks.
Assuming that it does happen and considering how the mythology is set up, it’s a neat idea and even unique to some extent. Without revealing too much, Manolo’s story is given a very finite conclusion at the end, so what better way to keep exploring that world than to shift your focus onto the other main characters and flesh them out more. And when I say unique, I mean that in the sense that as of current, no animated franchise has taken the path of focusing each installment on a different character.
Again, the way the mythology is structured within the film makes it easily feasible for Jorge to come back and tell other stories and give the spotlight to other characters (which may have been the intention, judging by his trilogy plans).
Of course, there’s no way of telling if those films will be happening in the immediate future. On an episode of our very own Animation Interviews podcast, Jorge revealed that he’s currently at work on a film about ‘Mexican kung-fu’. It’s likely that whichever one happens first (Mexican kung-fu film or Book of Life sequels) may depend on how far along they are in the development process. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 14 years to find out.
For anyone who’s interested, feel free to take a listen below (the interview starts at 1:06:20):
For further listening, be sure to also check out Whitney Grace’s interview with Jorge Gutierrez right here on our website.
What do you think? Are you interested in any of Gutierrez’s future projects?
(Image courtesy of bookoflifeawards.reelfx.com)