During the recent Disney Press Day, we got to see a brief clip showing off one of Pixar’s upcoming animated movies, The Good Dinosaur. The clip showed us the Earth millions of years ago, filled with dinosaurs, all completely oblivious of a giant asteroid heading towards them. And they remained completely oblivious as the asteroid didn’t slam into the Earth, ending most prehistoric life as we know it, but rather just sailed on by, allowing dinosaurs to flourish and build up a great big society. It’s a pretty cool idea and one that will definitely make for an interesting Pixar movie. That is if that’s still what the movie is actually about.
The film had been in development for a long time under the guidance of Pixar stalwart Bob Peterson (Up, Toy Story), who had actually come up with the premise, and was originally scheduled to be released earlier this year. But by August 2013, after several big decisions on the movie were still left unmade, Peterson (who was directing solo for the first time) was removed, and the film was delayed by more than a year to November 25, 2015. Since then a Pixar Brain Trust has been steering the development, and everything appeared to be back on track.
However, when Collider recently spoke to John Lithgow, one of the voice actors in The Good Dinosaur, the veteran actor revealed that some major shakeups were actually taking place on the movie.
“I recorded the entire role in Good Dinosaur. They have now dismantled it and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story. So I’m gonna record again on it within the next month. Don’t worry. It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.”
Lithgow certainly seems very positive that the new direction, whatever it may be, is an improvement over the original concept, which already sounded pretty great. That concept, by the way, was originally described as this, back when Peterson was still involved:
“The Good Dinosaur” asks the generations-old question: What if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In theaters May 30, 2014, the film is a humorous and exciting original story about Arlo, a lively 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus with a big heart. After a traumatic event rattles Arlo’s tranquil community, he sets out on a quest to restore peace, gaining an unlikely companion along the way—a young human boy named Spot.
Just how much of that premise remains intact is unclear at this point, but thanks to Lithgow adding to his earlier statement, we know at least one thing will be staying the same.
“Me and Frannie McDormand, we’re still playing Momma and Poppa dinosaur.”
Frannie, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is actually Oscar winner Frances McDormand. She was originally part of the voice cast that included Lucas Neff as Arlo, Bill Hader and Neil Patrick Harris as brothers Forrest and Cliff, and Judy Greer as their sister Ivy. Just how many of them remain in those roles is still to be seen.
With 2014 now marking the first time in 12 years that we haven’t seen an annual release from Pixar, the decision to delay and rework The Good Dinosaur could not have been taken lightly. But with this and the absolutely incredible looking Inside Out (which was easily the highlight of the Disney Press Day for me – yes, even better than seeing footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron) now both hitting next, 2015 looks like a very good time to be a Pixar fan.
Last Updated: August 20, 2014