If you want to celebrate Pixar for their originality, the next few years are going to be tough. With the exception of Lee Unkrich’s Coco, the studio is going all-in on sequels. They’ll be releasing Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and The Incredibles 2 in the years to come, and while sequels aren’t always inherently bad (Toy Story 2 is one of the best films to come from Pixar), it’s a bit disheartening to see such a reliance on franchises.
Pixar President Jim Morris explains to EW that this isn’t a strategy as much as a byproduct of a filmmaker-driven studio and those filmmakers had ideas for sequels:
“Our plan had been to make an original every year and a sequel every other year, if the idea came forth to do it,” says Morris. “If we add the next films after the current ones, it actually comes out to exactly that: seven sequels in a spate of 21 originals, from the time we were acquired by Disney [in 2006]. So it’s penciled out to be the same portfolio, just not in the order we thought they would be. And a lot of that has to do with when Andrew had a sequel idea, and Brad had a sequel idea…sometimes that’s just how it happens.”
The good news is that after The Incredibles 2, Pixar has at least four original movies in the pipeline:
“Everything after Toy Story and The Incredibles is an original right now.” Following The Incredibles 2 in 2019, Pixar’s next two films — currently listed on Disney’s release schedule for March and June of 2020, respectively — are both originals, independent of one another but both of which take place in “unusual but believable worlds that take us in even other directions than we’ve pursued in the past.” Following those two, Morris says, are two more original films in early development that aren’t dated on the studio’s schedule yet but are “highly likely.” No other sequels are planned at the moment, Morris says.
While I love Pixar movies like Up, Ratatouille, and WALL-E, I’m okay with not delving into sequels for them. I’d rather see the next Inside Out than another Inside Out.