Back at the Studio Showcase at the D23 Expo in 2022, Pixar revealed it was working on a brand new movie called, “Elio”, which is a brand new original story about Elio, an underdog with an active imagination who finds himself inadvertently beamed up to the Communiverse, an interplanetary organization with representatives from galaxies far and wide. Mistakenly identified as Earth’s ambassador to the rest of the universe and completely unprepared for that kind of pressure, Elio must form new bonds with eccentric alien lifeforms, survive a series of formidable trials, and somehow discover who he is truly meant to be.

The new film will star America Ferrera, Yonas Kibreab, Jameela Jamil and Brad Garrett.  It was announced that the film would be directed by Adrian Molina, who was the screenwriter and co-director of “Coco” and produced by Mary Alice Drumm, who also worked on “Coco”.

Originally, Disney was going to release “Elio” in cinemas back on February 29th 2024. However, Disney decided to delay the film’s release until June 13th 2025, due to the writer’s and actor’s strikes of last summer.  

There has also been speculation that the movie was delayed as part of Disney’s focus on getting the Pixar brand back on track after some lacklustre box office results and reactions from audiences.  With the push to create more content like shorts and series for Disney+, in addition to theatrical films, most of Disney’s studios, including Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar, struggled with the demand and the quality suffered.

With “Elio” getting a fifteen-month delay, it seemed to be much more likely the film was going through a creative refresh to make sure it appealed to a more mainstream audience than the last few releases.

But it looks like the film has also undergone a major creative shake-up. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter revealed that Domee Shi was directing “Elio.” 

“I have a great slide of the directors from seven years ago versus the directors now, and it’s a whole wide group of filmmakers. Regardless of diversity, any time someone goes in for the first time, there’s a steep learning curve. Domee Shi, who’s already done Turning Red, is working on Elio, and you can see the experience level. Enrico Casarosa, who did Luca, is doing another one that’s just night and day. “

With Pixar releasing “Inside Out 2” in cinemas this weekend, there is a lot of pressure on the studio to deliver a huge hit and they have been putting everything into making sure the film does well.  This seems to have included bumping back “Elio” and the Disney+ series “Win Or Lose”, to make sure the studio is completely focused on one major project, while also retraining audiences not to expect Pixar content to arrive on Disney+ straight away.

Pete also shared another update on the film during the same interview.

Everyone has sat under the night sky and thought, Are we alone? Are we the only intelligent life in the universe? So it’s tickling that, and then thematically, it also talks about something that’s very central to our own experience in the same way of, Am I the only one going through this? It feels that one, from the beginning, has proven to check all those boxes of something that is a universal concept in terms of the overall conceit and deeper theme. Obviously, it slipped behind Inside Out 2 for a lot of different reasons, but I think it’s in a good place. 

Roger’s Take:  It doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see a change in director for “Elio”, as Pixar needs to keep the momentum building and can’t risk putting out something that will alienate audiences or underperform.  It wouldn’t surprise me if “Elio” ends up being listed as being co-directed by both Domee and Adrian, like “Coco”, “Soul” or “Finding Dory”.  But bringing “Turning Red’s” director in will hopefully get the film on the right track, as with another year until it is set to arrive in cinemas, they’ve got plenty of time to course correct to make it better.

What do you think of this change?  Let me know on social media!



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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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