Pixar announces new original ‘suburban fantasy’ movie
Pixar’s next original film doesn’t even have a title yet, but it’s already making D23 audiences cry.
During the fan convention’s animation panel on Friday, John Lasseter introduced director Dan Scanlon to unveil details about a new original film on Pixar’s upcoming slate, filling in one of the cryptic untitled slots on the studio’s release schedule.
Lasseter described the film as “an adventure set in a suburban fantasy world,” and Scanlon, who helmed Monsters University, debuted concept art showing a large winged creature flying over a small town at sunset.
Set in a humanless world of elves, trolls, sprites, and “pretty much anything that would be on the side of a van in the ‘70s,” the movie follows two teenage brothers whose father died when they were young; now, they’re “on a quest through this mundane, modern fantasy world to somehow find a way to spend one last magical day with their father.”
The movie is inspired by Scanlon’s search for answers about his own father, who passed away when he was a year old; Scanlon played a clip of a home movie recording bearing the only known preservation of his father’s voice, which he first heard as a teenager. His resultant journey trying to learn more about his parent serves as the blueprint for this film.
Scanlon also described more details about the “modern suburban fantasy world” the film inhabits. It’s a world where magic existed long ago, but because of difficulty and complication, people simply lost interest and instead created machines to do both the magic and the mundane. “The world is basically a mix of the fantastic and the everyday,” Scanlon explained as concept art showed slices of recognizable suburbia, albeit with goblins and creatures. “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. There are no humans… but there are unicorns everyone. They’re basically rodents, possums eating all the trash out of your bins.”
Kori Rae, another Monsters University alumna, will produce the film, which has not been slated for release yet, but could inhabit one of the likely slots on the schedule in either March or June of 2020, or June 2021.
This all started way back in May when I was invited to take part in Stranger Factory’s annual group show, Bewitching 5. The theme this year is “Classic Halloween” and my mind immediately went to a trio of cute trick-or-treater character sculpts in some kind of old-timey antique costumes. My first sketches involved classic Universal monster kids dressed as other monsters. I took it and ran for a while with the werewolf as the flagship character. If I could really nail his design, the others would follow. As a play feature, I had always wanted to swap their hats and accessories, but figuring out good character designs that allowed everything to fit wasn’t working with the Wolf, Bat, and Gillman. It also was incredibly difficult to tie these familiar monsters into From the Southland, so it was back to the drawing board. I remembered there was an older drawing from last year, the lighter blue pumpkin sketches I created while coming up with some new Halloween decorations. It was only a short couple rounds of sketching after that until I found their final forms. The personalities and costumes of the Monsters were transferred over to the pumpkins, and the stems acted as natural keys for their hats. The accessories were dropped in favor of molding the heads separately so they could also swap, and the Putrid Pumpkin Pals were born.