Sequels. A few years back, Pixar found themselves heavily involved in the sequels game. Toy Story 2 wasn’t the exception anymore. Cars begat Cars 2. Monsters Inc.gave way to Monsters University. A third and fourth Toy Story became realities. And now, Finding Nemo is getting a sequel… or, at least, a spinoff.
Pixar’s summer release in 2016 will take audiences back into the water with everyone’s favorite forgetful fish. Finding Dory will reach theaters 12 years (!!) after 2003’s Finding Nemo introduced us to a nervous clown fish, his suffocated son, and the amnesic blue tang fish that helped them on their rescue mission. But what has changed between now and then? A lot, both on the screen, and off. Let’s dive in toPixar’s latest sequel with our What We Know So Far guide to Pixar’s Finding Dory.
Ellen DegeneresWhen Pixar decided to go ahead with a Dory-centric sequel, as opposed to following Nemo or Marlin, it became very important to bring Ellen DeGeneres back into the fold. The comedian and daytime talk show host signed on then dotted line way back in August 2012, which we hope means that she was given time to possibly contribute ideas, jokes, concepts… all sorts of things she could do to make her return to Pixar a bright and shining success. Of course, Ellen has her own talk-show empire to preside over. And she spent a lot of time preparing to host the Academy Awards. IN reality, it takes a LONG time to animate these features, so Pixar probably just locked Ellen up contractually, then had her come in from time to time and record dialogue as they went.
Albert BrooksYou can’t really do a sequel without bringing back some familiar characters, andFinding Dory will have the blue tang fish’s running – er, swimming partner, Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks. This, also, is fantastic news. There’s a sense of "getting he band back together," and a Nemo continuation without Marlin would be lacking. It’s not exactly like doing a Toy Story film without Tom Hanks or Tim Allen… but it’s close. It’d be like if Larry The Cable Guy or Owen Wilson didn’t return for a Carsmovie. You’d notice that the voice was missing. However, from what we hear about the sequel, Marlin might not be around for the duration of the film. More on that in a minute.
This is the best news I could possibly bring you regarding Finding Dory. When the sequel swims back into theaters, Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton will be at the helm. Why is this so important? Because Stanton is one of then original Pixar masterminds, a storytelling genius whose fingerprints are all over all of the early Pixar masterpieces. As a director, he helmed both Nemo and WALL-E, which I personally consider to be the studio’s finest film. Bringing him back suggests that the sequel will not be a lazy cash grab. And after Stanton left Pixar to explore live action (with John Carter), I feared he might not be back. The sequel’s in fantastic hands is Stanton is guiding the Finding Dory ship.
New Celebrity VoicesEvery time Pixar adds a sequel to a popular franchise, they bring in new voices to create fresh characters. Helen Mirren joins Monsters University. Joan Cusack joinsToy Story 2, while Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton belly up to Toy Story 3. Finding Dory will be no exception, with multiple, massive names signing up to lend their voices. At the moment, we know of only a few character names, and a guess at who they will play. Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, according to IMDB, are playing Jenny and Charlie in the sequel. I believe they will be Dory’s parents, as the movie supposedly catches up with Dory’s family. Ty Burrell of Modern Family will voice a character named Bailey. He recently let his voice to Peabody & Sherman. Listen for Willem Dafoe, likely voicing Gill from the original movie. And then, as we reported,Finding Dory will play host to an unusual The Wire reunion, as Idris Elba and Dominic West nabbed roles.
The StorySo, what will the sequel be about? We learned back in December that the action forFinding Dory was shifting out of the ocean. That’s a drastic shift. Where can you go with a fish, if not the ocean? Sources said that the bulk of the story will be set at the Marine Biology Institute of California, a rehabilitation complex for marine life. It’s here where we are expected to meet Dory’s parents, as this is the location where she was born and raised. (She probably doesn’t remember.) The sequel is expected to pick up years after the first movie, finding Nemo on a class trip to watch manta rays migrate home. This act inspires Dory to discover where she came from. The quest to find "home" powers the story. Just… not the home Pixar originally thought.
The One Major ChangeIt’s probably a good idea that it has taken a while for Pixar to develop and animate Finding Dory, because real-life issues led to a crucial change in the movie’s ending. From what we were told, the original conclusion to Finding Dory was going to be set in Sea World (or, a Sea World type facility). Then, following the events depicted in the controversial documentary Blackfish, Pixar decided to change it, completely rewriting the ending to avoid push back. Because it’s animation, this is slightly easier than changing the ending to a live-action film. What did they come up with? We will find out when Pixar’s Finding Dory opens in theatres on June 17, 2016.