One familiar Pixar world is getting its fourth tale, but another still has a long way to go before part three.
With Toy Story 4 on the horizon and Monsters, Inc. celebrating its 15th (already!?) anniversary on Wednesday, EW had to get in touch with resident Pixar filmmaker Pete Docter, who directed the latter and has been an integral story trust member on the Toy Story franchise.
While Docter offered up a slew of stories about the early production of Monsters (which you can look forward to reading Wednesday on EW.com ), he also commented on whether audiences could ever expect to see another adventure for the film’s main monster duo, Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman). The pair did get a second film — 2013’s prequel, Monsters University — so Mike and Sulley’s journeys beyond the events of Monsters, Inc. are still rife for exploration.
“You never say never — who knows what will happen?” Docter says. “We purposely went with a prequel for Monsters University because we didn’t want to answer some of the questions about what happens to Boo, and how does she grow up, and things like that. It would have to be really compelling, which is hopefully the benchmark for all of our sequels, anyway.”
The internet has generated its fair share of completely unfounded rumors about a purported Monsters, Inc. 3, but the most frequent speculation always seems to come back to Boo, the adorable babbling toddler from the first film. For one reason or another, fans seem to want an update on whereabouts (she’d be around high school age by now). Strangely enough, such a Boo-focused sequel would actually return the Monsters, Inc. story to one of its earliest, albeit scrapped, pitches: an adult interacts with the monsters of his youth. “Part of that idea was like a Peter Pan-type thing, where [Wendy] had been visited by Peter Pan as a kid and had sort of half-forgotten who he was,” Docter explains.
But, to reiterate, a Monsters, Inc. sequel is not nigh, nor is it even on the table right now at Pixar, which has three sequels in development and only originals planned after that. Docter’s next directorial effort is an original story, and since Pixar favors sequels only when a film’s director is involved, he hasn’t embarked on a five-year-journey follow-up to Monsters Inc. — or even Inside Out 2 for that matter.
What is happening, though, is Toy Story 4, a franchise reboot that Docter is hoping won’t retread territory from the original trilogy, but will offer a thoroughly new take on the tale of Woody, Buzz, and friends that audiences haven’t seen yet. Pixar just announced it had movied The Incredibles 2 to 2018, thus pushing Toy Story 4 back to 2019; Docter, who is only helping develop the film’s story, assures that everything is going well and, as it were, perfectly shiny.
“It’s hard, because as we get in there, we realize you don’t want this to just be another regurgitation of something we’ve seen,” he updates. “We’ve really plumbed the depths of these characters with Woody and Buzz, so to find something new that hasn’t been done, I feel like we’re onto it now. But it’s taken some real deep investigative work.”
At EW’s last check-in with Pixar chief John Lasseter, the film was said to focus on the relationship between Woody and Bo Peep, who was absent in Toy Story 3. Docter confirms that the rom-com aspect is still very much alive.
“The last I saw, those were still elements that they’re playing with,” he says of the script, currently being penned by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. “Again, it brings it to something that you haven’t seen before, which I think is what people want. On the one hand, you like the familiarity, you like these characters, you want to see them again — but if it was the same movie or it felt like, ‘Eh, it was a little bit like Toy Story 2,’ then we’re kind of sunk.”
Well, shoot — don’t even get us started on Finding Nemo 3.