Friday, June 9, 2017

Newt: A Tale of the Only Cancelled PIXAR Film

By Brittany Bell

Pixar is perhaps one of the greatest animation studios and storytellers of contemporary film. Their animated tales resonate with audiences and always ask “what if?” Which leads to the topic of today's article: what if Pixar cancelled a film? That question can be answered with the story of Newt, Pixar’s only cancelled film project to date. Learn the story behind why Pixar's Newt was cancelled and see what the film would have looked like if it had reached theaters in today's new article…

Originally slated for the summer of 2012, Newt was to follow the last two blue-footed newts in the world. Here is a statement regarding the movie from a 2008 Disney press release...

What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can't stand each other? That's the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of "Newt," the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award® winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar's Oscar-nominated short, "Lifted". Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.

Newt would have been Pixar’s fourteenth feature-film and was going to be directed by Gary Rydstrom, who worked on previous Pixar films such as Finding Nemo and Toy Story. According to Rydstrom, Newt was to be a “good old-fashioned romantic comedy”. As mentioned above, the film was slated to debut in the summer of 2012 after having been pushed back a year (the first predicted release was in summer 2011). Check out some of the concept art for Newt below...


Soon after, being pushed back to 2012, it was announced that Brave would take the place of Newt in the summer 2012 spot and no further information was provided regarding Newt or its new release. These circumstances gave rise to speculation that Newt had been cancelled. A source from within the studio commented that “We [Pixar] have taken Newt off of our development schedule to allow our creative teams to focus on these upcoming projects…” John Lasseter, however, did not officially comment on the cancellation of the project.

Character concept art for Newt

It was later revealed by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of PIxar and President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, that before being scrapped, Newt had been turned over to Pete Docter (the director of Up). Catmull mentioned that "Newt was another unlikely idea that wasn't working. When we gave it to somebody new [Docter], he said, "I'll do it, but I have another idea altogether, which I think is better." And we thought it was better too.” As it turns out, that better idea was 2015’s Inside Out, which still boasts a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $857.6 million.

There is also speculation that the reason Newt was put on hold was because of its similar storyline to that of 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Animation’s Rio. Rio revolves around a domesticated macaw named Blu and his adventure upon learning that he is the last remaining male of his bird species. John Lasseter even commented that there is some plot resemblance between Newt and Rio saying: "Its [Newt’s] story was very similar to a movie that's out in theaters right now with a blue parrot. Great minds think alike, I guess. It was really pretty similar."

Though it never made it to theaters, Newt hasn’t completely disappeared from Pixar. As with many Pixar movies, there are Newt Easter eggs hidden within other films. In Toy Story 3, there is a “Newt Crossing” poster hanging on Andy’s wall...

And in Brave, the witch picks up a newt to add to the potion she is making...

Though it’s fun to wonder “what if?” in regards to Newt, Pixar definitely hasn’t skimped on the films they’ve released since then. With Cars 3 and Coco on the upcoming slate of movies for 2017, there is plenty of Pixar to go around. And, perhaps one day, Newt may come crawling back into the scene at Pixar and eventually grace the silver screen.


Brittany Bell grew up in Lewiston, Maine, about 45 minutes away from Portland. She is currently studying Public Relations and Journalism at Boston University, and hopes to one day work for the Mouse himself. She grew up in a Disney-loving home, and would watch Sleeping Beauty on repeat as a little girl. Her first trip to Walt Disney World was in the summer of 2000, at four years old. Ever since then, Brittany and her family take annual trips to the World, and have no intention of vacationing anywhere else. Her favorite places in Walt Disney World are the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Grand Floridian, and the Magic Kingdom. She can’t go without seeing Fantasmic! at least once each vacation, even though she chokes up a little at the final scene. Brittany is fascinated by how one man’s dream became an empire—one that makes dreams come true every day.

Before she became obsessed with Frozen and Queen Elsa, her favorite Disney characters were Princess Aurora and Mulan. She loves everything and anything Disney, from the parks, to the movies, to the Broadway musicals. In the near future she hopes to participate in the Disney College Program and work as a “friend of a princess”.

You can find all of Brittany's articles here.

No comments:

Post a Comment