Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pixar Confirms Nemo Sequel

It's official... Disney and Pixar have announced that Finding Nemo's long-rumored follow-up is now actually happening. No, it isn't Finding Nemo "2"... Instead, it's...

*cue the drumroll*

The sequel is scheduled to open on November 25, 2015. For a while, I've been wondering what that cryptic untitled Pixar project that was scheduled for release that day would turn out to be. Looks like my fifth theory came true! Will this be the first time Pixar will release two films in one year? Maybe, I can't see them moving the sequel just yet, though every time it seems like Pixar will release two films a year, it does not happen. Well, we'll see.

Set one year after its predecessor, Finding Dory will be set off of the coast of California and will be about Dory reuniting with her family. Director Andrew Stanton explained, "One thing we could not stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In Finding Dory she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way."

Come to think of it, we didn't know much about Dory's beginnings in the first film or anything about her life before she met Marlin. That doesn't harm the film's story in any way, but I think her backstory is something worth diving into for a sequel. This is why I think this sequel has a lot of potential, despite what people may think. Toy Story 2 did the impossible and equalled the high quality of its predecessor, but also fleshing out characters we already came to know and love. I expect this film to do the same for Dory. I'm not saying that she needed a backstory detailed in Finding Nemo, but it is a fantastic and potentially very heartfelt idea for a sequel. No searching for someone who is lost, but rather a spiritual journey.

This is why I'm not too worried about this project. Yes, it could turn out to be a disaster but you got to give Pixar credit. All of their sequels aren't rehashes of their predecessors. Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 expanded upon the characters while taking them to new locations. Cars 2 took the Radiator Springs gang around the world and gave us a spy story. At least this isn't about finding Nemo again, I knew the folks at Pixar would not go this route for the sequel.

Of course, many will immediately freak out over this... Not in a good way, though. People will keep being pessimistic about the future of Pixar and will immediately write this sequel off as a shameless cash cow. Finding Dory exists for a reason... Not because Pixar is out of ideas. They have five original productions in the pipeline, and this is the only sequel/prequel/spin-off after Monsters University hits theaters in June. No, Finding Dory mostly exists because of the whole Circle 7 issue...

Before Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Disney under Michael Eisner (prior to his resignation in late 2005) commissioned sequels to Pixar's films. They were to be produced by a newly-formed studio called Circle 7 Animation. At the time, it seemed likely that Pixar and Disney were going to split, and that the last Pixar film released by Disney would be Cars. Of course, they would own the rights to all the films and characters from Toy Story to Cars. Disney was also making direct-to-video sequels to their own films, only just to cash in on them. Their sequels to Pixar films were no different.

Three sequels made it into the development phase with screenplays prepared.

Toy Story 3: This is the one where Buzz Lightyear gets recalled, which evolved out of a story where the toy gang are sent to Andy's grandmother's house. This one was famous because the plot details were revealed back in the day, and it was apparent that the film would debut in 2008.

Monsters, Inc. 2: Mike and Sulley want to visit Boo after many years have passed. They go through her door to see that she has moved, so they find themselves looking for her in the human world.

Finding Nemo 2: A screenplay was written, but no details have been revealed. I assume that some will surface sometime soon.

So after Disney bought Pixar, Pixar essentially had to "overwrite" these three films that were close to actually being made. In early 2006, Circle 7 Animation was shut down and Pixar started work on their own Toy Story 3... The result was a masterpiece!

Next, they had to do a Monsters, Inc. follow-up. They went the prequel route, which is why Monsters University was made... Plus Pixar had kicked around some ideas for a follow-up for a while. We don't know whether it'll be good or bad, mediocre or average. All we know is that it's coming in two months.

Finding Dory completes this sort of trio of sequels that Pixar ultimately had to do, so after it's released they won't have to do any more. They can do a sequel if they want to or not. For example, Brad Bird can do an Incredibles follow-up if he has the desire to do one. The same goes for all the studio's other films. But we know Pixar, and we know that they wouldn't just announce millions of sequels out the wazoo. Skeptics want to believe that, but I feel that these skeptics don't know why Cars 2Monsters University and Finding Dory happened/are happening in the first place. They may say "Pixar is out of ideas", but that's not the reason... If they are, explain those five upcoming original productions.

Any further news surrounding this film will be swamped with doubt, but a lot of general audiences are going to love the sound of "A Finding Nemo sequel is coming". Ellen DeGeneres herself is beyond excited for it, and I already see enthusiasm from the folks at Pixar. Lee Unkrich excitedly announced it, too!

Finding Dory can be a great sequel. You never know. We can be a bit skeptical... After all, the original is so great. The sequel does have a lot to live up to. But Toy Story 2 did it, and Toy Story 3 did it! Monsters University may do it too! Leave Cars 2 out of this or any of the recent production problems that surrounded that film and Brave. I'm optimistic for this sequel, though I do realize that it could be a disappointment. Again, you never know... It could be very well be another rare sequel that equals the original.