Toy Story 4, Finding Dory, and More Disney Animation Details Revealed at D23

We already reported on one of the new animated films that was announced last night, Gigantic, but there was so much more Disney had in store for attendees at D23.  While the majority of information came from previously annnounced films, there was another new animation project revealed in the form of Coco: 

“COCO” – Director Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and producer Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”) revealed the title of their upcoming film today at D23 Expo 2015. Disney·Pixar’s “Coco” is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion. 

“As artists and filmmakers, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration’s core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message. 

“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance.”

Obviously not a lot of information to go on, but it has an interesting log line and decent pedigree behind it.  So, color me intrigued.  Fans in attendance also got a new look at Pixar’s next film set to hit this year, The Good Dinosaur, in the form of a new clip, which I’ve heard was pretty damn good but sadly hasn’t been released online.  We did get a swanky new image, however: 

The Good Dinosaur 

Anticipation for Disney·Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” was amplified when director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream shared breathtaking sequences with fans, including never-before-seen footage of a trio of T-Rexes in action. In theaters on Nov. 25, 2015, “The Good Dinosaur” features Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home among a host of intimidating creatures. 

But don’t forget, Pixar isn’t slowing down, and on top of releasing two original films this year (a first, and something they highlighted during the panel) they’vge got Finding Dory, the follow-up to Finding Nemo, hitting next Summer.  While we’ve known about this film for a while, last night finally gave us new information and an image to boot: 

Finding Dory 

Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), the voice of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, took a dip with D23 EXPO attendees this afternoon, celebrating Disney·Pixar’s upcoming film “Finding Dory.” Joining DeGeneres on stage this afternoon were Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), who lends his voice to Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), the voice of Bailey, a misguided beluga whale; and Kaitlin Olson (“Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who voices Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark. Oscar®-winning director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”) offered new details of the all-new story, which reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale? Also featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, Disney·Pixar’s “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016. 

So it sounds like the “finding” in this movie is more of a philosophical thing than a literal lost person, which I’m happy to hear about.  While Finding Nemo was amazing, using the same setup for a sequel just wouldn’t work all that well.  One of the last things Pixar talked about was Toy Story; the ridiculously successful franchise that made them a household name is turning 20, and they celebrated that fact on stage, while also revealing a small detail about Toy Story 4…It’s a love story between Woody and Bo-Peep: 

Pixar Animation Studios marks the 20th Anniversary of “Toy Story” this year. Said Lasseter, “All the characters from ‘Toy Story’—especially Woody and Buzz—are so close to us. They seem more like family members than just creations. Not only do we dearly love the characters, but we also love the world of ‘Toy Story’—the world where toys come to life when people are not in the room has always been rich with many story possibilities.”

Lasseter, who’s one of Pixar’s three founders, celebrated 20 years since “Toy Story” transformed the animation industry and the art of storytelling. He welcomed to the stage iconic two-time Oscar®-winning songwriter and longtime Pixar collaborator Randy Newman, whose Pixar credits include “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”

Also joining in the celebration were “Toy Story 4” co-director Josh Cooley (“Cars 2,” “Ratatouille”) and producer Galyn Susman  (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”). Screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste & Jesse Forever”) joined Buzz, Woody and Bo Peep for the celebration. “I’m very proud of our films,” said Lasseter. “When we made the first three ‘Toy Story’ films, we didn’t realize what we had done was to change the genre of each of the films’ story. For ‘Toy Story 4,’ we are doing a type of story we have not done before: a love story. It’s a story about a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep.”

“Toy Story 4,” which will be directed by Lasseter and produced by Susman, is slated for release on June 16, 2017.

Lastly, Disney Animation also revealed some all new details on their upcoming Pacific Islander film, Moana

Moana 

Dwayne Johnson (“San Andreas,” “Furious 7,” HBO’s “Ballers”), who lends his voice to the mighty demi-god Maui in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana,” hit the stage at D23 EXPO this afternoon. Renowned directors John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin”), and producer Osnat Shurer (Oscar®-nominated Pixar shorts “One Man Band,” “Boundin’”) shared dazzling early test footage and revealed plans for the film’s inspired music and the extraordinary team behind it. Tony®-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s hottest new hit “Hamilton,” Tony-winning “In the Heights”), Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Speed”, “Tarzan” “The Lion King”) and Opetaia Foa’i (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka) blend their diverse and dynamic talents to help tell the tale of a spirited teenager who sets out to prove herself a master wayfinder.

“Our research took us deep into the South Pacific,” said Clements. “The wonderful people we met there, their rich history and traditions, and their fantastic music changed us forever.”

“We can’t wait to bring those experiences to ‘Moana,’” added Musker. “We are incredibly lucky to be able to work with three amazing artists who are the absolute best at what they do. The sounds they create will be something we’ve never heard before—but it’ll feel like it’s been part of this world forever.”

“Moana” introduces a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. She meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.

In short, if you’re a fan of animated movies and Disney in general, you have a lot to look forward to.  We’ll be covering all of the big D23 reveals this weekend, which continues today with their highly anticipated live-action panel, so be sure to stay tuned to us here for all the latest!  

Which of these films are you looking forward to most?

-Jordan