Earlier today at the D23 Expo during the giant animation panel that debuted new details and rough footage from new Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, and DisneyToon Studios productions, an unexpected announcement was made: following the release of "Toy Story 4" in 2019 (now no longer directed by John Lasseter but instead helmed by longtime story genius Josh Cooley), there would be a brand new original Pixar film. And boy is this original.
Awkwardly dubbed an "Untitled Suburban Fantasy" film, it will be directed by Dan Scanlon, a unique and talented filmmaker who helmed the deeply underrated "Monsters University."
"The story is based on a very personal story of mine," Scanlon began. He then went on to tell the story of how he was only a year old when his father died. His older brother was only three. While they watched home movies of him and saw photographs, they had never heard him speak. When the boys were teenagers a relative came forward with an audio recording of their father. Scanlon played the recording to the sea of people, who sat in rapt attention. You can only hear his father say two words: "Hi" and "bye." In true Pixar fashion, they had found the absolutely quickest and most effective way to get people to tear up.
"I have always wondered who my father was," Scanlon said. "And that question became the blueprint for this movie."
The filmmaker then went on to detail the project: it takes place in a fantasy world but, he was quick to point out, a "modern fantasy world." The premise is, as Scanlon put it, magic was "hard to do and complicated to learn and eventually they created machines that did everything magic could do." He went on to describe the world, which is a combination of "the fantastic and everyday" – mushroom houses have satellite dishes sticking out of them, etc. There are no human characters, they're all fantastical creatures ("anything that would be painted on the side of a van in the '70s" Scanlon joked). Also, unicorns are everywhere. They flashed an image of unicorns that had tipped over a trashcan, like glittery raccoons.
It's in this totally kooky (but all too realistic) world that Scanlon's deeply personal story is set. "In this film we are going to tell a story of two teenage brothers whose father died when they were too young, and who go on a quest to spend one last magical day with their father." And ... waterworks.
Not much else is known about the movie, besides that producing duties will be handled by the great Kori Rae, but based on the information and concept art exhibited today, it feels like it will be downright magical.