Yesterday we got our first real info about Pixar's Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, which takes place about a year after Nemo: joining the returning voice cast are Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy and Ty Burrell. We also got the lovely bit of concept art above. But yesterday also brought an interesting, potentially spoiler-filled, rumour that suggested Pixar higher-ups are considering changing the film's ending.
Obviously it's very early in the game to be talking about an ending to a film whose beginning we scarcely even know, but the rumour, which comes from The LA Times, says that CCO John Lasseter and Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton sat down with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite in April. Blackfish is a documentary which takes a negative view of SeaWorld and the ilk, and raises questions about whales in captivity. This meeting apparently gave cause for the Pixar Brain Trust to retool the hotly anticipated sequel's ending.
Yet the report of the change of direction comes from Louie Psihoyos (director of dolphin documentary The Cove), who "heard about the meeting through a friend" (so treat this with a grain of salt). Psihoyos said "at the end of the [Pixar] movie, some marine mammals are sent to an aquatic park/rehab facility -- a SeaWorld-type environment. After seeing ‘Blackfish,’ they retooled the film so that the sea creatures now have the choice to leave that marine park. They told Gabriela they didn’t want to look back on this film in 50 years and have it be their ‘Song of the South.'"
Disney and Pixar must be a little skittish about the association with the hot topic of SeaWorld and captive whales right now if they're drawing parallels with Song of the South, now widely written off as racist. Modern Family's Ty Burrell voices a Beluga whale named Bailey in the film, it's possible that this is the character to which this rewrite refers. Pixar, though, declined to comment; Cowperthwaite would only confirm that she had screened the film for the studio.
This is only the latest big Dory-related report to emerge this week, The Pixar Times also uncovered a somewhat under-the-radar interview with Andrew Stanton where he admitted there had been "a polite inquiry from Disney" about a Nemo sequel. While that's not at all shocking, it is a little bracing to have Andrew admit it so candidly.
Finding Dory will also see the return of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks; you can sea it for yourself on 25th November, 2015. Check out new details about the casts and plots of Pixar's next two films before that, though, here.