After years of being damn near perfect, Pixar has entered a whole new phase. Its past few releases have failed to live up to the company’s impossible standard, and more and more animation studios seem to have caught up to Pixar in terms of innovation and story. This week, Pixar’s latest film, Elemental, hits theaters, and the company’s creative chief officer, Pete Docter, talked about why films like Elemental are important, but also why the studio continues to work on sequels.
“Right now, the world seems to want the comfort of what they know, which is sequels, and movies based on things like comic books or video games. But all of these things were original at one point,” the director of Monsters Inc., Up, Soul, and Inside Out told Variety. “I think it’s essential for us to develop new original stories, which are harder to publicize, harder to get people excited to go see them. But I think audiences deserve it. They want to find that surprise, along with the comfort of the expectation. We have our share of sequels in the works. We’re doing a sequel to Inside Out, so you get to go back inside the mind of Joy and Sadness. We have another Toy Story, so Woody and Buzz are back. And we have a few other projects, but it’s always a balance.”
It’s a very fair, reasonable point. You can’t have sequels and established brands without originality in the first place. And at Pixar, they continue to do both. For example, after Elemental, Pixar has its first streaming series called Win or Lose, and then another original called Elio, about a young boy who gets brought into space to represent Earth. Both are originals. And Docter also acknowledges that any of Pixar’s films—even ones that have already had sequels, like The Incredibles, Cars, Finding Nemo, etc.—could eventually be given new sequels. “It’s all fair game,” he said.
As for the one we do know about, Docter explained a bit more about Inside Out 2. “A bunch more emotions get to come in,” he said. “It’s not just the five we saw in the first film. The team on that one put together a really great story that I think also has real depth and meaning to it. So fingers crossed, people like it.”
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