Following the removal of Bob Peterson from the lead director position on Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, changes to the film’s story were expected. After all, when Brad Bird took over Ratatouille and Mark Andrews sprang onto Brave, they not only brought new leadership to their films – they also led the way for a shift in the films’ plot. Peter Sohn, who was originally announced as the co-director on The Good Dinosaur, eventually took over and has introduced significant changes to the story that Peterson developed. Find more details of what you can expect after the break!
The LA Times outlined several changes that Sohn himself came up with. Although the basic premise of the film stays the same – it takes place in a world where the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs actually missed the Earth – there are other elements that were removed. The dinosaurs were originally designed to be farmers, inspired by Amish farmers, but that is no longer the case. Several of the scenes from the original story that Disney and Pixar showed to the public at the D23 Expo showed how the different dinosaurs worked together to farm the land. Given that those scenes will never be seen again (except maybe as deleted scenes on the DVD and Blu-ray sets), even after months of work, it demonstrates how focused Pixar leadership is on turning around what the studio saw as a film that was simply “fine” rather than “great” as studio president Jim Morris states in the article.
Sohn further described the changes to the film’s world, explaining that the story still follows Arlo the dinosaur who takes a human named Spot as a pet, but “Nature has become a character.” It is difficult to speculate what Sohn really means by nature becoming a character – do the trees and the mountains interact with Arlo and Spot or is Sohn simply referencing the importance of nature to the film’s story? We will have to wait and see.
One of Pixar’s favorite stories to tell is the buddy comedy (the Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. films), so it is not surprising to see that the film will give us a story demonstrating how Arlo and Spot develop a close friendship, which was at the heart of Peterson’s version. It seems that the essence of Peterson’s story will make it through to the final cut, even though several significant changes have been made. The film remains on track for a November 2015 release, putting the film at approximately one year out from its premiere. 2015 is still set to be the first year that we will see not one, but two, Pixar feature films (Inside Out is rolling into theaters in June). Although 2014 was the first year in a decade we did not see the studio release a film, it is now mostly behind us. With Pixar implementing dramatic changes to its films and its studio, I am excited to see where their upcoming films land creatively!