Before there was the massive bust-a-roonie that was John Carter, Andrew Stanton was one of Pixar’s most essential and beloved filmmakers – he not only helped write and conceive of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, he also penned A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., WALL-E, and Finding Nemo (all of which he directed or co-directed, save for Monsters, Inc.). However, despite his stand-out animation resume, Stanton (like so many other before him) itched to jump into live-action, which is how he ended up with John Carter, and well, we all know how that turned out.
After this year’s live-action flop, some mused if Stanton would be put into “director jail,” barred from ever making anything of substance or note again. Yet, one massive misstep does not always spell disaster for filmmakers and, fortunately for Stanton, he still has that completely awe-inspiring resume to back up his work – particularly when it comes to animation. And, if Deadline Sydney is to be believed, Stanton is returning to his roots in more ways than one. The writer and director is now reportedly set to direct a Finding Nemo sequel for Disney and Pixar, and while that’s nice and everything, why the heck does Finding Nemo need a sequel, even with Stanton at the helm?
Pixar, despite a legacy of creativity and originality, has not balked at sequels for even its most adored properties – just look at the Toy Story franchise, the upcoming Monsters, Inc. prequel, and Cars 2 – and Nemo is one of their biggest hits. It’s an Oscar-winning feature that is Pixar’s second highest grossing film and Disney’s third highest grossing animated film. But it’s also had some trouble getting a second act going before.
Remember Circle 7 Animation? Back in 2005, Disney opened up the animation house with the express intent to use it to make sequels to its Pixar films, specifically Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc. 2, and – you guessed it – Finding Nemo 2 (while this was before Disney acquired Pixar, they had a distribution deal that allowed them to make these sequels). Disney even went so far as to hire screenwriter Laurie Craig to draft a screenplay for the Nemo sequel (which is believed to have been a role reversal of the first film, in which Marlin is lost and Nemo needs to go searching for him).
Did I mention that people hated Circle 7? And that people called it “Pixaren’t”? And then Disney bought Pixar and shut Circle 7 down and Pixar went ahead and made their own sequels? That all happened, and damn if it wasn’t messy.
But, in a silver lining move, the destruction of the already ill-conceived Circle 7 meant that Pixar made their own sequels, including Stanton’s Finding Nemo 2 (which will reportedly come from “a concept the studio loves” that Stanton has cooked up himself with a screenplay by Victoria Strouse).
However, no matter how jazzed Pixar is about this new idea, it doesn’t change the fact that Nemo is one of the studio’s very best films – and one that has not now, or ever, cried out for a sequel. It’s a lovely standalone story, a complete tale, and one that doesn’t need to be potentially sullied by even a well-intentioned addition by one of its own creators. Let’s hope it’s better than John Carter, and let’s also hope that it’s a bit more imaginative than a Finding Marlin type affair. [THR, Wikipedia]