Pixar released only one film this year: The adventurous TOY STORY 4, which came out on June 21, 2019. We can't wait to see more from the studio that perfected CG animation, and fortunately, we don't have long to wait. There are two new Pixar movies coming in 2020. ONWARD opens in March, and SOUL arrives in June.
In addition Pixar has planted flags for three more movies going into 2022. Like ONWARD and SOUL, they are all likely to be original stories, rather than sequels. Want to know more? Here's the lowdown on both new Pixar movies coming in 2020, and what we know about the studio's plans for further into the future.
ONWARD is about two teen brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), who set off on a journey to bring memories of their late father back to life. As the family name of these characters suggests, ONWARD is a fantasy story; members of the Lightfoot family are elves, and they live in a world where magic is everywhere. Or, at least, it was. As Ian and Barley come of age, magic is being replaced by technology. The two hope to find enough magic to spend one day with their father, who died before they were born.
ONWARD comes from director Dan Scanlon, who previously made MONSTERS UNIVERSITY. There's an element of fantasy, heavy metal and Dungeons and Dragons fandom in this new film. Anyone who spent time stitching together the perfect array of patches on a denim vest will appreciate the film's poster. There's also a bit of influence from the MONSTERS films, as we see fantastic creatures inhabiting a familiar town. But there's likely a lot more going on under the surface of this suburban fantasy world, and a wave of emotions that is as powerful as any magic.
Check out the ONWARD teaser trailer below; the film opens on March 6, 2020.
We know less about SOUL, Pixar's second movie in 2020. What we do know, however, is very intriguing. In the same way that ONWARD seems like a companion idea to the MONSTERS movies, SOUL seems like a sister movie to INSIDE OUT. According to Disney and Pixar, SOUL "journeys from the streets of New York City to the never-before-seen cosmic realms and "The You Seminar," the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities." In fact, SOUL comes from the same director as INSIDE OUT: Pete Docter.
Tina Fey voices a character with the somewhat awkward name of "86 billion, 783 million, 123 thousand, five hundred and 22," or 22 for short. She's been stuck in the seminar for longer than any of us can fathom, which has led to the opinion that Earth is horrible. Enter Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher voiced by Jamie Foxx, whose passion is playing jazz. He ends up at the You Seminar, where he learns a lot about actually having soul. The cast also features Phylicia Rashād, Daveed Diggs and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson.
SOUL opens on June 19; we'll share a trailer as soon as one arrives.
We know that Pixar is planning three more movies after ONWARD and SOUL… we just don't know what they are. The company has release dates set on June 18, 2021, March 18, 2022 and June 17, 2022.
A few years ago, the easy guess might have been that at least one of those dates would be occupied by a sequel to an existing film. But in 2016, Pixar president Jim Morris told Entertainment Weekly that THE INCREDIBLES 2 and TOY STORY 4 represent the end of the company's current run of sequels. "Everything after Toy Story and The Incredibles is an original right now," he said.
At the time of that interview, ONWARD and SOUL were not officially announced; he only mentioned them as movies with "unusual but believable worlds that take us in even other directions than we’ve pursued in the past." The movies set to follow them are also original stories, with no further sequels planned.
Granted, that was in 2016, but in the end, it's a great thing. Pixar built its sequel business by telling amazing original stories. We clamored for more, and the company delivered, even as it also continued to take the time to tell unique tales like WALL-E, INSIDE OUT and COCO. In a few years, maybe we'll see sequels to some of these new original stories — and if so, the wait will make them feel even sweeter.
All images courtesy of Pixar.