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6 Unproduced Pixar Films and Sequels

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For more than 20 years, Pixar has dominated theatrical animated releases with high-grossing films and critical acclaim. Along the way, there have been a handful of ideas they haven't moved forward on. Here are six unproduced short films, feature films, and sequels from Pixar and Disney.

1. Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost In Scaradise

Before Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Disney’s distribution deal with the animation studio included retaining the Pixar characters' sequel rights—so if Disney wanted to make a sequel to a Pixar film, they could without the involvement of Pixar. Disney opened an animation studio called Circle 7 whose sole purpose was to develop sequels to Pixar properties.

Enter Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost In Scaradise. The unproduced film’s storyline followed Mike and Sulley from the first Monsters, Inc. film as they drop in to surprise their friend Boo for her birthday in the human world. But when they discover that Boo’s family has moved away, Mike and Sulley go on an adventure to try to find her.

The sequel film was later scrapped when Disney closed down Circle 7 in 2006 as part of the Pixar acquisition, but not before Circle 7 developed unproduced sequels for Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo. Pixar followed up Monsters, Inc. with the prequel Monsters University, which hits theaters today.

2. A Tin Toy Christmas

In 1988, John Lasseter won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Pixar’s Tin Toy. Following the Oscar win, Pixar started getting more commercial and television work. In 1989, Pixar was commissioned to make a Christmas TV special called A Tin Toy Christmas. When funding for the project ran out, Pixar shelved the project to develop a feature film instead.

A Tin Toy Christmas eventually evolved into the first Toy Story film. Tinny the tin toy soldier became Buzz Lightyear, while the ventriloquist’s dummy became his friend Woody.

3. George and A.J.

After the success of the film Up in 2009, Pixar wanted to make a short film that followed the Shady Oaks Retirement Village employees George and A.J. The short film followed their misadventures after Up’s protagonist Carl Friederickson levitated his house with over 20,000 helium-filled balloons. The film was never finished, but because of Up’s popularity, Pixar decided to release the short film as a bonus feature.

The animation is crude and in a limited “storyboard/animatic” style, but in true Pixar fashion, the short film still conveys a lot of big laughs and touching moments.

4. Car Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales - Backwards to the Forwards

One of the most successful Pixar properties is, surprisingly, Cars. Although the films aren’t as successful as other properties like the Toy Story trilogy or Finding Nemo, Cars merchandise is one of the highest selling markets for Pixar, so spinning off the Cars characters is a top priority.

Pixar has made a number of short films surrounding Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen, but Backwards to the Forwards was one that Pixar abandoned. The short followed the Cars pair through a mysterious thunderstorm that opens up a time portal where Mater and Lightning become trapped. The short was a parody of the science fiction film Back To The Future.

Animator Scott Morse developed the story for the short film, but then scrapped the idea when it wasn’t coming together. Scott Morse also worked on Your Friend the Rat, which accompanied Ratatouille’s DVD release.

5. and 6. The Original Storylines for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3

Toy Story 2 was originally supposed to be an hour-long direct-to-video sequel, but when Disney executives watched a few completed sequences, they wanted to open the film in theaters instead. So Pixar's artists and writers had to re-assemble the film’s storyline to make it longer for a theatrical release. Pixar executive John Lasseter took over the project and started the story process over again, with only nine months until the film was due to be released in theaters.

While Toy Story 2’s storyline always involved Woody being kidnapped so a toy collector could complete his set of limited edition toys, the original storyline incorporated different toys as part of “Woody’s Roundup” gang. The film introduced a Prospector, who was later developed to become Stinky Pete; Bullseye, Woody’s horse who could talk in the original version; and Senorita Cactus, the Prospector’s evil sidekick, who was eventually replaced with Jessie in the film’s final version.

Toy Story 2’s original storyline was expanded with the addition of Jessie the Cowgirl. Her character gave the final film much needed heart, along with the film’s theme of a toy left behind and forgotten by its owner.

During the film’s nine-month redevelopment, Toy Story 2 was almost completely erased from Pixar’s network and mainframe. Someone at Pixar mistakenly used a command keystroke that led to the film’s disappearance from the Pixar servers. With Toy Story 2’s backup files also corrupted, Pixar would have to start the animation process again with only a few months until its release date. Luckily, the film’s technical director made copies of the film on her home computer, so Toy Story 2’s production was miraculously saved.

In 2005, Disney’s Circle 7 animation studios developed a sequel to Toy Story 2 without Pixar’s involvement. Disney’s script for Toy Story 3 involved a worldwide recall of the Buzz Lightyear toy, so Andy’s mom sent Buzz back to Taiwan, where he had been manufactured, while Andy’s other toys planned a daring escape to save their friend. Tim Allen agreed to voice the character of Buzz Lightyear even if Pixar refused to return.

But in 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, and the original Disney storyline for Toy Story 3 was scrapped. Pixar developed their own version of Toy Story 3. Lee Unkrich was named director and Michael Arndt was commissioned to write a new screenplay. The film was released in 2010 and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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6 Surprising Facts About Nintendo's Animal Crossing

by Ryan Lambie

Animal Crossing is one of the most unusual series of games Nintendo has ever produced. Casting you as a newcomer in a woodland town populated by garrulous and sometimes eccentric creatures, Animal Crossing is about conversation, friendship, and collecting things rather than competition or shooting enemies. It’s a formula that has grown over successive generations, with the 3DS version now one of the most popular games available for that system—which is all the more impressive, given the game’s obscure origins almost 15 years ago. Here are a few things you might not have known about the video game.

1. ITS INSPIRATION CAME FROM AN UNLIKELY PLACE.

By the late 1990s, Katsuya Eguchi had already worked on some of Nintendo’s greatest games. He’d designed the levels for the classic Super Mario Bros 3. He was the director of Star Fox (or Star Wing, as it was known in the UK), and the designer behind the adorable Yoshi’s Story. But Animal Crossing was inspired by Eguchi’s experiences from his earlier days, when he was a 21-year-old graduate who’d taken the decisive step of moving from Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where he’d grown up and studied, to Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto.

Eguchi wanted to recreate the feeling of being alone in a new town, away from friends and family. “I wondered for a long time if there would be a way to recreate that feeling, and that was the impetus behind Animal Crossing,” Eguchi told Edge magazine in 2008. Receiving letters from your mother, getting a job (from the game’s resident raccoon capitalist, Tom Nook), and gradually filling your empty house with furniture and collectibles all sprang from Eguchi’s memories of first moving to Kyoto.

2. IT WAS ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE N64.

Although Animal Crossing would eventually become best known as a GameCube title—to the point where many assume that this is where the series began—the game actually appeared first on the N64. First developed for the ill-fated 64DD add-on, Animal Crossing (or Doubutsu no Mori, which translates to Animal Forest) was ultimately released as a standard cartridge. But by the time Animal Crossing emerged in Japan in 2001, the N64 was already nearing the end of its lifespan, and was never localized for a worldwide release.

3. TRANSLATING THE GAME FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE WAS A DIFFICULT TASK.

The GameCube version of Animal Crossing was released in Japan in December 2001, about eight months after the N64 edition. Thanks to the added capacity of the console’s discs, they could include characters like Tortimer or Blathers that weren’t in the N64 iteration, and Animal Crossing soon became a hit with Japanese critics and players alike.

Porting Animal Crossing for an international audience would prove to be a considerable task, however, with the game’s reams of dialogue and cultural references all requiring careful translation. But the effort that writers Nate Bihldorff and Rich Amtower put into the English-language version would soon pay off; Nintendo’s bosses in Japan were so impressed with the additional festivals and sheer personality present in the western version of Animal Crossing that they decided to have that version of the game translated back into Japanese. This new version of the game, called Doubutsu no Mori e+, was released in 2003.

4. K.K. SLIDER IS BASED ON ON THE GAME'S COMPOSER.

One of Animal Crossing’s most recognizable and popular characters is K.K. Slider, the laidback canine musician. He’s said to be based, both in looks and name, on Kazumi Totaka, the prolific composer and voice actor who co-wrote Animal Crossing’s music. In the Japanese version of Animal Crossing, K.K. Slider is called Totakeke—a play on the real musician’s name. K.K. Slider’s almost as prolific as Totaka, too: Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS contains a total of 91 tracks performed by the character.

5. ONE CHARACTER HAS BEEN KNOWN TO MAKE PLAYERS CRY.

A more controversial character than K.K. Slider, Mr. Resetti is an angry mole created to remind players to save the game before switching off their console. And the more often players forget to save their game, the angrier Mr. Resetti gets. Mr. Resetti’s anger apparently disturbed some younger players, though, as Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s project leader Aya Kyogoku revealed in an interview with Nintendo's former president, the late Satoru Iwata.

“We really weren't sure about Mr. Resetti, as he really divides people," Kyogoku said. “Some people love him, of course, but there are others who don't like being shouted at in his rough accent.”

“It seems like younger female players, in particular, are scared,” Iwata agreed. “I've heard that some of them have even cried.”

To avoid the tears, Mr. Resetti plays a less prominent role in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and only appears if the player first builds a Reset Surveillance Centre. Divisive though he is, Mr. Resetti’s been designed and written with as much care as any of the other characters in Animal Crossing; his first name’s Sonny, he has a brother called Don and a cousin called Vinnie, and he prefers his coffee black with no sugar.

6. THE SERIES IS STILL EVOLVING.

Since its first appearance in 2001, the quirky and disarming Animal Crossing has grown to encompass toys, a movie, and no fewer than four main games (or five if you count the version released for the N64 as a separate entry). All told, the Animal Crossing games have sold more than 30 million copies, and the series is still growing. In late 2017, the mobile title Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was released for iOS and Android. It's a big step for the franchise, as Nintendo is famously selective about which of its series get a mobile makeover. A game once inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new town has now become one of Nintendo’s most successful and beloved franchises.

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