One can’t go into the D23 Expo without seeing any exclusive new footage of their upcoming slate. And that’s what we got during the Walt Disney Studio, Walt Disney Studios Animation, and Pixar. For this portion, we will be covering the highly anticipated theatrical films from Elemental and Elio, to exciting sequels like Inside Out 2. And of course, their new Disney+ Original, Win or Lose.
First up, director Peter Sohn spoke about the idea behind his upcoming film Elemental. Pulling from personal experience, Sohn spoke about how his family emgrated to America in the early 70s, with no money, no family, and knowing no English. ” But they managed to create a life life in New York,” he said. Talking about the family shop that was established, Sohn added, “I have a lot of memories of the shop, but just like them, many people and families have left their homes to come to New land with hopes and dreams to do the same thing my parents did all mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages and beautiful little neighborhoods.”
Sohn described Elemental’s setting as a wetropolis, a water-based city that surely benefits the likes of water, earth, and air-based characters. However, put fire into the mix and it can create a bit of chaos. As such, the film has an “opposites attract” feel to it, but with a Pixar spin.
Additionally, Sohn announced the two leads Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World Dominion) who will play Wade, a go with the flow water-elemental, and Leah Lewis (The Half of It) as Ember, a spitfire who ignites everything she touches, even if she doesn’t mean to.
“She’s got to be tough on brightness. She’s surrounded by water but sometimes that toughness turns into a temper that she can’t control,” Sohn said of Ember. “But that makes her we just want to make sure that she looks like she’s made a fire instead of being on fire.”
As for Wade, Sohn said, “He’s our savvy water guy. And because he’s transparent, we always know what he’s feeling you know.” And to make sure that message is conveyed to audiences, Wade has watery, sloshy qualities.
Here’s the official plot synopsis for Elemental:
In a city where fire, water, land, & air residents live together, a fiery young woman & a go-with-the-flow guy will discover something elemental: How much they have in common.
Next up, Pixar announced a new original film called Elio. Directed by Adrian Molina, with Mary Alice Drumm acting as producer, the space-age film stars Yonas Kibreab as the film’s young lead, a child whose mother Olga (voiced by American Ferrera) runs a top secret military operation to make first contact with aliens.
“However, due to some extraordinary circumstances, it’s Elio who makes first contact and he’s beamed up to space and transported across the galaxy to the communiversity which is like an intergalactic United Nations of advanced alien species,” Molina said. “It’s a sparkling space city filled with all sorts of alien architecture. This is outer space like no one has ever seen before, and it’s filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes.”
“Elio, is a kid who struggles to fit in on Earth accidentally becomes our planet’s ambassador to the rest of the universe,” Drumm said of the young protagonist. “Ultimately, Earth’s fate will rest on whether Elliot through a self doubt and prove to the universe that the best part of being human is just being yourself, even if yourself feels a little alien to everyone else.”
With that Pixar then moved on to their new Disney+ original Win or Lose. Unlike most of theier films or shorts, Win or Lose will be a series centered coed middle school softball team known as the pickles in the week leading up to the championship game. The idea is to bring us an experience from a variety of different persepctives all leading up to the championship game. This means we will see a perspective from a player who has fallen head over heels for a crush. An adult who can’t muster the courage to ask a coffee barista out on a date. And many more.
“In other words, you the audience gets to see what the character is actually feeling and in their own unique visual style. For example, have you ever gone to a baseball game? Fans are yelling about a bad call?,” Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates asked. “Well, in our episode about Frank, the umpire will get to see how that actually feels. And mostly Frank put on his emotional armor in order to protect themselves.”
And finally Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter and Amy Pohler announced Inside Out 2. Although there’s very little information about the film, Pohler confirmed that the core emotions are returning and that we might be meeting a few new ones as well. While Docter won’t return to direct, Kelsey Mann serves as director, with. Meg LeFauve returning to write the sequel, and Mark Nielsen acting as producer. No word yet on a release date.