D23 2011: First Look At Monsters University – New Details, 20+ Character Images

Before today, Monsters University was a fairly mysterious film. Sure, we knew that it would take us on a journey through the early relationship of Mike and Sulley in a college setting, but other details were hard to come by. Additionally, the only visual we had seen for the film was the logo, which was released a few months ago. Needless to say, people were anxious for more information about this prequel to the beloved Monsters, Inc.. Read on for details on the film, the voice cast, and a look at over 20 images of the characters’ designs.

John Lasseter described Monsters University as an “animated college movie.” The film shows us the early relationship of Mike and Sulley, during a time period when they were enemies. They met in grade school (yes, that Mike line from the original Monsters, Inc., where he says “You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade, pal” does hold true). When they both show up at the same university, fireworks and hilarity ensue.

The designs of the characters had to be adjusted, as the characters are younger (18-years-old). Mike is shorter, has freckles on his cheeks, and now fashions a retainer. Sulley has been made thinner and looks shaggier (which is helped by the fact that Pixar can do hair really well now).

Similar to the “carification” that occurred in Cars 2, where buildings were designed to fit in more believably with the Cars world, “monsterization” had to take place for the designs of the buildings in Monsters University, such as the college campus on which much of the film takes place.

In order to perform research for the prequel, Pixar literally went back to school. The film’s creative team visited schools around the country, such as M.I.T. and Harvard. While the Scaring School is one of Monsters University’s elite programs, many other subjects are also taught at the school. This meant that the filmmakers needed to understand all aspects of college life, so visiting various universities proved to be of great help.

Actors were also announced for the film:

  • Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles as Mike and Sulley
  • Steve Buscemi also returns to voice Randall
  • Dave Foley (Flik in A Bug’s Life) returns to Pixar to voice a new character
  • Joel Murray (The Cable Guy, Mad Men)
  • Julia Sweeney (Pulp Fiction)
  • Peter Sohn (co-director of Pixar’s new dinosaur film)

Billy Crystal surprised fans at the Walt Disney Studios panel and the place went absolutely nuts, as attendees gave him a standing ovation. He stated that it has been 10 years since the last film and he has enjoyed coming back. He reiterated that the film was “really funny,” “really great,” and “really different from Monsters, Inc.”.

Later, during a panel focusing on the character design of Mike and Sulley in Monsters University, director Dan Scanlon and production designer Ricky Nierva shared many images. Take a look at the pictures here (Note: The quality of our images is less than stellar. Pictures were tough to grab, as the room was packed, so please excuse the blurry nature and the random locks of hair that are seen in the corners of some images). View the 20+ images below, which start with concepts and are followed by final designs.

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  • Hailey

    Very cool! But how come nobody has shown any Brave concept art yet?

  • THE Abominable Snowman

    I don’t like the new looks, but i’ll probably become used to it