ANAHEIM, California — The festivities at Disney’s D23 fan convention kicked off with a look at the studio’s upcoming slate of animated movies, specifically a preview of what Pixar has coming up for the next three years.
Disney Animation head John Lasseter presented previews of 2014’s “The Good Dinosaur,” 2015’s “Inside Out” and 2016’s “Finding Dori,” with help from a few special guests and many appearances from Bill Hader.
“The Good Dinosaur”
As Lasseter explained, many of Pixar’s movies have begun conceptually as “what if” questions, like “What if your toys came to life when you left the room?” for “Toy Story.” The genesis of “The Good Dinosaur” began similarly, with the question “What if that asteroid missed the Earth and the dinosaurs survived?” Pixar’s answer to that question is that they adapted as farmers, and each type of dino has a specific task out in the field. Arlo, the Apatosaurus hero of “The Good Dinosaur,” leads a separate story line that has him finding a small human named Spot.
The footage screened at D23 had the typical Pixar flair for stunning visuals and included looks at the farming processes of the various dinosaurs and how this alternate world works.
At the end of the presentation, the director and producer announced that the cast includes Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, John Lithgow, Frances McDormand and Lucas Neff (as Arlo).
“Up” director Pete Docter then took the stage to introduce his upcoming project, “Inside Out,” or as it was called at last year’s D23, “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind.” “Inside Out” tells the story of Riley, a young girl who doubles as a character and the setting of the film, as much of the action involves her emotions, who are also characters.
Early test footage showed Joy, the lead emotion of “Inside Out,” played by Amy Poehler, literally creating a memory for a young Riley. Another rough segment depicted a scene at the dinner table where Riley is left with only her emotions Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Fear (Bill Hader again). As the action plays out at the table between Riley and her parents, the focus shifts among the three consciences. The footage looked unlike anything Pixar has put out before, but it had the trademark heart and charm that makes it fit right in with the studio’s best.
The long-awaited sequel to “Finding Nemo” might be years away, but director Andrew Stanton appeared before the crowd to tease out a few story details and casting news.
“Finding Dory” picks up the action one year after the events of “Finding Nemo,” and, as the title suggests, makes Ellen DeGeneres’ character the lost character. A traumatic event jars something in Dory’s spotty memory and sends her looking for her original family, which includes mom Jenny (Diane Keaton) and dad Charlie (Eugene Levy). Stanton also revealed that a new comedic sidekick was joining the search in the form of Bailey, a beluga whale voiced by “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell.