Disney and Pixar Animation Studios may still be angling for the intriguing Soul to meet its current November release date, but the pair is also now moving onto the next project with the announcement of Luca.
The previously untitled film slated for June 18, 2021 was unveiled by Pixar on Tuesday after the movie’s name, Luca, leaked online earlier this week. That was due to Disney filing a trademark application for the title. Now we have our first concept artwork from the film, visible above, as well as new details about the animated movie, which is set in the Italian Riviera.
“This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it’s set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship,” director Enrico Casarosa said in a statement. “Core friendships often set the course of who we want to become and it is those bonds that are at the heart of our story in ‘Luca.’ So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca.”
Casarosa previously directed the popular “La Luna” Pixar short in 2011, and has worked as storyboard artist and/or designer on a variety of Pixar films, including Ratatouille, Up, and Coco. He was also among Pixar’s senior leadership on the latter film, as well as Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4.
The setup for Luca is that its title character is a young boy living off the Italian coast. It is there he shares adventures with a newfound best friend who has a dark secret: this friend is not actually fully human but a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface. This secret may even come to tear their friendship asunder…
The premise sounds oddly like an imaginative reworking of The Little Mermaid, but told from the human’s perspective. We suspect it might also feature a deeper connection that gets explored.
Pixar announcing that the film arrives in June also appears to signal the Walt Disney Company is fairly certain that Soul will meet its Nov. 20, 2020 release. That movie is co-directed by Peter Docter, the director of Up and Inside Out, so it is of keen interest to most Pixar fans, this writer included. One does wonder though if Luca keeps the June date, and Disney has already moved the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Raya and the Last Dragon to March 2021, if this might signal Soul will come out in time for Thanksgiving, movie theaters or not…