The folks at Pixar are no stranger to significantly overhauling their films during production—Ratatouille and Toy Story 2 were both essentially started over from scratch when Brad Bird and John Lassetter replaced the previous directors, respectively—but The Good Dinosaur has been a curious case. The film was initially planned as Up co-director Bob Peterson’s first Pixar film as principal director, but Peterson was removed from the project nine months before release. Then, eight months before release, Pixar pushed The Good Dinosaur off its May 2014 release date all the way back to November 25, 2015. When Peterson was taken off the project, Pixar neglected to name a replacement and simply stated that the Pixar Brain Trust was acting as interim director for the time being.
The last official word we heard about the film was over a year ago, but now things appear to be back on track as Pixar has finally confirmed the film’s director as Peter Sohn, who was to act as Peterson’s co-director on the project. Hit the jump for more, including a short teaser video from Sohn himself.
The original story of The Good Dinosaur took place on an Earth where the asteroid never killed the dinosaurs and the creatures instead lived happily alongside humans. It’s unclear how much of that original nugget remains, as voice actor John Lithgow recently told us that the story was “dismantled and reimagined” after Peterson left the project. In a new video posted on Twitter, it appears that the central character of Arlo (voiced by Lucas Neff) remains intact, so I imagine the basic premise is still the same but the actual story of the film has probably changed significantly.
Sohn has been at Pixar for over a decade, having worked as an animator, storyboard artist, and voice actor before directing the swell Pixar short film Partly Cloudy. Pixar has a solid track record of turning out fantastic final products despite drastic story changes during production so I remain cautiously optimistic about The Good Dinosaur, but I was really looking forward to seeing a directorial effort from Peterson. Regardless, Sohn isn’t coming at the movie as an outsider so that’s reassuring.
Take a look at the teaser video below, which Pixar released on Twitter. The film also features the voices of Judy Greer, Bill Hader, and Neil Patrick Harris.
— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) October 20, 2014