Before Disney’s D23 expo, we had only a ghost of a notion of just what was going on with their new animated feature, Soul. The brand new, original feature arriving in theaters on June 19, 2020 was described as tackling “life’s most important questions” on a journey that travels from New York City to the “cosmic realms.” Things have solidified a bit since then.
We now know that the movie will follow Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher and jazz aficionado who gets a big break to play at a high-class jazz club. The problem is, Joe apparently dies before he can get there and finds himself newly arrived in the “You Seminar.” And while that may sound decidedly dark, the core of the story is that Joe’s soul will get an opportunity to commune with a multitude of other souls that are awaiting a chance at consciousness. Thankfully, we have some concept art (and some casting details) to help wrap our heads around that.
Joe will be played by Jamie Foxx (Ray) while Tina Fey (30 Rock) voices a spritely soul-in-training named 22 who has an unexpected encounter with Joe when he accidentally finds his way to the “You Seminar.” Together, the two are going to find a way to get Joe back to Earth, making him think again about what it truly means to have soul.
But that’s not all! Ahmir Questlove Thompson (Detroit), Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show), and Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting) also star as a drummer, Joe’s mother, and Joe’s neighbor, respectively. And the musical hits keep on coming because Trent Reznor (The Social Network) and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) are composing the score while Jon Batiste (Red Hook Summer) is writing new music for the movie. Two-time Oscar-winner Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) directs with co-director/writer Kemp Powers (Star Trek: Discovery), writer Mike Jones, and Oscar-nominee Dana Murray (Lou) producing. This is really shaping up to be something special.
Check out the news and first looks at images below: