The New Pixar Movies Coming in 2021 and Beyond
10/21/2020 • 3 min read
Nothing warms our hearts quite like a new Pixar movie. A specific sort of excitement accompanies each new release from the Emeryville, California-based animation studio. The anticipation for Pixar’s stories rivals that of nearly any other new movie release. Thanks to a commitment to technical craft (they’re always pushing technological boundaries) and the delicate art of storytelling, Pixar movies have a magic that is unique at the movies.
After leaning heavily on sequels for several years — between 2016 and 2019 COCO was the lone original Pixar movie, surrounded by the sequels FINDING DORY, CARS 3, THE INCREDIBLES 2 and TOY STORY 4 — 2020 was a year of originals for the studio. What does the future hold for Pixar now? There’s at least one more original movie coming in 2021, with a whole set of dates set for additional releases. Here’s what we know about all of Pixar’s new movies.
The only confirmed new Pixar movie is coming next summer, with a theatrical release set for June 18, 2021. That movie is called LUCA. But what is LUCA, exactly? According to Disney, the film is about “an unforgettable summer on the Italian Riviera.” It’s a “coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface.”
So that sounds pretty dang Pixar-y, right? With a story that seems emotional, strange, and unexpected, LUCA feels very exciting. And what makes it even more exciting is that it is directed by Enrico Casarosa, who directed the Oscar-nominated 2011 short “La Luna.” That’s the one about the little boy who learns the lost art of scooping up stars on the moon. Casarosa is making his feature directorial debut with this movie, after working on other Pixar movies like COCO and THE INCREDIBLES 2. One of the great things about original new Pixar stories is they are often introductions to new filmmakers. We couldn’t be more jazzed to see Casarosa’s first full feature. He’s one of the more original storytelling voices at the studio and LUCA promises to be another favorite in the making.
More Original Movies?
There are three more Pixar movies on Disney’s release schedule, earmarked for March 11, 2022, June 17, 2022, and June 16, 2023. The precise nature and subjects of these movies remain to be seen. There are some details, however. Brian Fee (director of CARS 3), Domee Shi (who directed the Oscar-nominated short “Bao”), and Kristen Lester (who directed the great Pixar Spark Short “Purl”) have features in some state of development.
And we know that SOUL director Pete Docter became Pixar’s chief creative officer while working on his latest movie. If you’ve seen any of Docter’s movies, you know that he is deeply committed to the most original animated features possible. Under Docter, we imagine the animators and filmmakers will be pushed to new creative heights. That means features that exist outside of the established franchises we’ve seen before...
…But that doesn’t mean that franchises will be wholly abandoned. The recent consolidation of the Walt Disney Company emphasized the company’s stable of “franchises” as one of the driving financial forces going forward. That means that certain series will almost certainly be revisited.
At Pixar, MONSTERS INC, FINDING NEMO, and TOY STORY are already viable franchises. It would seem like a safe bet that we’ll return to those worlds sooner rather than later. It also isn’t outside the realm of possibility for a third INCREDIBLES movie to appear eventually, especially after the sequel proved to be a runaway smash. And the worlds that Pixar creates are so rich and deep that they could easily spawn a sequel or spin-off, whether from COCO, RATATOUILLE or BRAVE, for starters. We just know that, whatever Pixar comes up with, we’ll be there.
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All images courtesy of Pixar.