Get ready for another ‘Toy Story.’
Pixar not only pioneered a new kind of 3D animation, it also set the standard for the emotional journey great animated movies should be. The once independent studio is now owned by Disney, and if there’s one thing we know about Disney, it’s that it likes to stick with what works. (Pirates of the Carribean 5, anyone?)
So it’s little surprise that Pixar’s upcoming release schedule is full of sequels to already loved franchises. But don’t worry, Pixar fans, especially those of you who lament an era when Pixar was debuting stunningly original stories every other year. There is still one original title in the announced lineup, and years of quality from the studio make us optimistic that the sequels will still have that Pixar magic, even if they’re retreading familiar ground.
Pixar Release Schedule: The Complete Movie Calendar Through 2019
Coco: Nov. 22, 2017
Coco stands out as the only not-a-sequel in Pixar’s announced lineup. Though it was announced back in 2012, we didn’t know much about it until recently. That’s perhaps in part because the project was criticized early on by some in the Latino community, particularly after Disney tried in 2015 to trademark “Día de los Muertos,” the name of a culturally important Mexican holiday. Disney backed off after more than 20,000 people signed a petition accusing the corporation of cultural appropriation. Disney quickly made moves to repair the relationship, hiring one of its most outspoken critics, Mexican American cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, to join a cultural consultant group for the film.
In an interview with the Washington Post in March, Alcaraz seemed pleased with the film and its first teaser trailer.
“The teaser boasts of everything that’s strong about Coco,” Alcaraz said. “Beautiful Mexican characters, gorgeous worlds of the living and the dead, original music and classic Mexican music, and a strong and emotional family story.”
The film is a Dia de Los Muertos story focusing on 12-year-old Miguel, a boy who reunites family members both living and dead to mark the holiday. You’ll recognize co-director Lee Unkrich from his previous Pixar work (Toy Story 3), and he’s joined by co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina on the project.
Pixar released its teaser trailer on March 15, giving fans some hints at the plot of the film. It introduces Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), who desperately wants to be like his hero and great-great-grandfather, the late musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But something strange and magical happens when Miguel picks up Ernesto’s guitar: He suddenly finds himself transported to the afterlife. A full trailer debuted this summer, while another released on Sept. 13 gives us our best look yet at the story of Coco.
It seems Miguel’s family thinks of music as a curse after Ernesto abandoned them long ago for his music career. Miguel is torn, but he can’t resist exploring his desire to play music—which leads him on an adventure to discover his heritage in the storied land of the dead. He has a limited time to find his way back to the world of the living before he’s trapped there forever.
It’s clear Miguel’s buddy, Dante the dog, is going to be a fan favorite–and Pixar knows it. The animation studio already shared this adorable animated short titled Dante’s Lunch.
Here’s hoping that Dante gets a treat he can actually keep in the upcoming movie.
The Incredibles 2: June 15, 2018
Wait, wasn’t this Toy Story 4’s release date? Yes. Yes it was.
But on Oct. 26, Entertainment Weekly reported that The Incredibles 2 was moving up in Pixar’s lineup, while Toy Story 4 got bumped back a year. Director Brad Bird was the secret sauce behind both Ratatouille and the original Incredibles, both of which have been roundly praised as some of Pixar’s best work.
It’s hard to decipher what the swap means—whether the studio is finally eager to see a sequel to The Incredibles more than a decade after it debuted, or if it’s looking to rush it off the calendar just to be rid of it. Either way, we’re still looking forward to revisiting our favorite animated superhero family. Longtime Pixar director and writer Andrew Stanton told CinemaBlend that fans have nothing to fear from the change, and that it was simply a matter of production on The Incredibles 2 advancing faster than Toy Story 4.
At Disney fan expo D23 in July, Pixar revealed more about the project and confirmed its release date. The movie will feature something of a role reversal, focusing on Elastigirl while Mr. Incredible stays home with baby Jack-Jack (who has superpowers his family still doesn’t know about). According to Bird, that fact is a running gag in the movie. Taking place directly after the events of the first movie, the super-family’s new home will be “a cross between a dream house and a super lair,” Bird said.
Disney also revealed that fashion designer and one of Pixar’s most-loved side character’s Edna Mode will return for the sequel. Edna—who’s voiced by Bird himself—is the source of the much-quoted like “no capes!” The studio paid tribute to her in a charming video shared online and at D23.
— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) July 14, 2017
Samuel L. Jackson has also confirmed that he’ll return to voice the superhero Frozone.
On Nov. 18, a new trailer for The Incredibles 2 was released.
Toy Story 4: June 21, 2019
Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter wanted to be back in the director’s chair for the next installment of Toy Story. But at D23 in July 14, Lasseter revealed he’s stepping aside to let Josh Cooley direct. Cooley worked as a storyboard artist on The Incredibles in 2004, continuing in the role through Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and Cars 2. He has a screenplay credit on 2015’s Inside Out, and directed the short film Riley’s First Date as a DVD extra for Inside Out.
The Toy Story franchise—Pixar’s flagship property—has set an absurdly high bar for itself, with both the original and Toy Story 2 sitting at a perfect 100 percent fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating and Toy Story 3 just a point behind at 99 percent. It can’t be overstated just how rare it is for a franchise to hit it out of the park with three consecutive at bats. It’s just not done.
While it felt like Toy Story 3 brought the series to a satisfying close in 2010, you can never have too much of a good thing, right? (Don’t answer that.) This installment will pick up where the last film left off, with Buzz, Woody, and the gang in the care of the little girl Bonnie, who got the toys as hand-me-downs from the college-bound Andy. It’s said to be a romantic comedy, with a plot surrounding Woody and Bo Peep.
The above movies are the only ones named and announced by Pixar, but the studio does have dates locked in for three as-yet unrevealed projects on March 13, 2020, June 19, 2020, and June 18, 2021. Pixar President Jim Morris has confirmed that at least two of them will be original concepts, not sequels.
At D23, Disney revealed the director of one of those films will be Dan Scanlon, who helmed Monsters University. Scanlon said at the D23 presentation the film will be take place in a “suburban fantasy world.”
“In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him,” he said. “But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.”
— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) July 15, 2017
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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