Disney CEO reveals upcoming Pixar sequels, details on ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 27 2014 4:30 p.m. MDT

Twenty Stormtroopers take over the stage during a private Disney event at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in 2013.

Eric Jamison, Invision

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Some big news for Disney fans: In a meeting with shareholders in Portland, Ore., recently, Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger dropped a few unexpected hints about some future film projects, as reported by Variety.

First up, despite recent comments by Pixar head Ed Catmull that the studio will be scaling back the number of sequels it releases in the future (per Collider), Iger announced that work is already under way on yet another sequel to John Lasseter’s “Cars,” as well as “The Incredibles 2.” The latter, in particular, is likely to get people excited, as it’s one of the studio’s most beloved films.

Not many other details were given, but Iger did mention that original “Incredibles” director Brad Bird is developing the story, according to the Variety report. Whether or not he ends up directing is another question, although it seems likely given past statements. In 2011, for example, Bird told Collider’s Adam Chitwood that “(Disney) would like me to do it (‘The Incredibles 2’) … and I’ve told them I’m not really friendly to have someone else take away my child.”

One way or another, though, his involvement in any capacity is a good sign. For years, Bird has talked about the possibility of returning to the Incredibles universe, but has always said it would only happen if the story were up to snuff. In the same 2011 interview with Collider, Bird said, “I would like to think that I have several good ideas that could be incorporated into the next ‘Incredibles,’ but I don’t have a whole movie yet, and the last thing I want to do is do it just because it would open big, or something like that. … ‘Toy Story 2’ was, to me, a perfect sequel, because it absolutely respected the first film but found new places to go without selling out its characters. So if I could come up with an idea that is to ‘Incredibles’ what ‘Toy Story 2’ is to ‘Toy Story,’ I would do it in a second.”

The other big movie-related news from Iger’s meeting concerns J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel, the as-yet-untitled “Episode VII.” Revealing some of the first concrete details about the much-speculated-upon film, Iger told shareholders that it will feature “a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He also confirmed the time period, stating that it will take place 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.”

That might not seem like a lot of new information — and considering that filming starts in just two months, it really isn’t — but so far, news from the Abrams/Kathleen Kennedy camp has been scarce regarding “Episode VII.” Even confirmation like this of what many had already suspected is a nice step as we wait for the sequel to finally take shape.

Pixar's next film, "The Good Dinosaur," hits theaters Nov. 25, 2015, and "Star Wars: Episode VII" arrives the next month on Dec. 18, 2015.

Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website The Movie Scrutineer.

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