D23 Expo Report: Pixar Announces Two New ORIGINAL Films!

Pixar recommits to original films with a dinosaur movie and a film set in the mind!

If you’ve been reading my stuff over the last couple of years you’ll know that I’ve been troubled by Pixar’s recent trend towards sequels. Yeah, Toy Story 3 was great, but the studio was built on a steady stream of exciting, fresh and original ideas. I’ve been worried that the studio, hitting a certain size, was finally getting a case of sequelitis, resting on its laurels.

Well, the good news is that three of the next four Pixar movies will in fact be originals. First up is Brave, which I’ll be writing up in a separate report. Then there’s Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters Inc (shouldn’t it just be Monsters U, to fit the naming convention?). But once we’re over that prequel hump we have two new, original Pixar films to look forward to, and both excite me.

First of all there’s Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs, directed by Bob Peterson, who co-directed Up. The premise is box office gold: what if the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs missed? The image we saw was a brachiosaur-looking dinosaur silhouetted against the setting sun, a child with him. Some time ago a photo of some art tacked on the wall of a Pixar office made the rounds, a piece of art depicting a boy and his dinosaur (see above). This seems to be that project. Pixar doing dinosaurs feels like a home run already.

The dinosaur movie is scheduled for holiday 2013.

The other original film sounds much, much weirder - and thus even more exciting. This one is Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind, and it’s directed by the great Peter Docter. Here’s the official description:

Pixar takes audiences on incredible journeys into extraordinary worlds: from the darkest depths of the ocean to the top of the tepui mountains in South America; from the fictional metropolis of Monstropolis to a futuristic fantasy of outer space. From director Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”) and producer Jonas Rivera (“Up”), the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.

Yeah, sure, it’s sort of like Herman’s Head: The Movie (or, as Mr. Beaks from Ain’t It Cool pointed out to me, one of the skits in Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex* *But Were Afraid To Ask), but from Pixar and Pete Docter I think we can expect something intriguing and inventive. At the very least this isn’t another sequel or some formulaic story. I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with this very expansive concept - hell, they could even get edgy if the film is set in the mind of someone needlessly prescribed antidepressants or ADHD medicine.

It’s good to see that the week they’re turning 25 Pixar is renewing their commitment to original, unique and risky ideas (even though that dinosaur thing is as far as you can get from risky. Still, it’ll probably be fucking awesome).