It feels like it’s been forever since we had an original Pixar movie. In truth, we got two in 2015—Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur—but the studio is in the midst of a lot of sequels. We recently got Finding Dory and Cars 3, and while we’ll also have the original Coco this November, the studio is still working on The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4. Thankfully, they haven’t abandoned original movies, and today at D23, they announced a new, original project they’ve been working on.
The untitled feature comes from Dan Scanlon (Monsters University) and takes place in a “suburban fantasy world.” There are no humans in this story, only fantasy creatures like elves, trolls, and sprites. The tone is said to be a mixture of fantasy and the mundane. So, for example, there are unicorns, but unicorns are the rodents of this world.
However, the story itself sounds surprisingly melancholy. In a press release, Scanlon revealed the inspiration for the story:
According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director. “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. 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.
That sounds like a really interesting world for a story to take place in and an unexpected way to explore the fantasy genre. Additionally, Pixar has never really gone full fantasy before (Brave has fantasy elements, but it’s rooted more in folklore than fantasy tropes). And to be blunt, I’m excited to see a Pixar movie that doesn’t feature characters and worlds I’ve already seen before. Don’t get me wrong—I’m excited for something like The Incredibles 2, but the studio’s best movie of the last five years was Inside Out.