It’s been a tough ride through the rumor mill for Pixar’s Newt.
Originally announced in April of 2008, Gary Rydtsrom’s directorial debut went from a Summer 2011 release to an indefinite abyss in the digital world after it was removed from company archivist Dave Smith’s Disney A to Z supplement.
Suspicions arose in late ’08 after Cars 2 was pushed forward to a mid-2011 release. At that point, fans speculated that Newt had simply been moved back, which most definitely could have been the case. Then came Floyd Norman’s infamous comment on The Animation Guild blog earlier this year.
"Oh, and "Newt" is dead." Five simple words rocked the animation community. Regardless, fans still held hope. Two months later, rumors began to heat up again when Monsters, Inc. 2 was announced for 2012 (the same year as Brave), debunking the previous assumption that Newt had migrated forward.
Now it seems The Pixar Blog has gotten confirmation of Newt’s "cancellation". But all of the above begs the question: Why is Newt dead?
The first thing that comes to mind is story problems. Many people like to point out that Newt’s story, about the last two newts on Earth, may be a bit controversial. Honestly, I don’t believe that’s the case. But I’m sure there were some major problems along the way story wise.
Here’s where it gets controversial. It’s not just that the plot wasn’t coming together, but that the film may not have been worth making in the long run. I hear you gasp, readers, but I’m with you in that Newt’s concept was exciting.
While reading, keep this in mind: "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?" As you know, that’s Newt’s official synopsis.
Gary Rydstrom’s follow up to his short film, Academy Award nominated Lifted, sounds like the kind of movie I’d love Pixar to make, and originally, I was looking forward to it more than anything on the calendar. But what if I told you that the intelligent concept was in jeopardy all this time?
Read on: "—- is a rare species of —-… who believes he is the last of his kind. When he learns that another —- was spotted in —-, and that she is female, he leaves —- and travels to —- to find her." That’s the plot synopsis of Blue Sky’s upcoming film, Rio, starring Macaws in Brazil.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s almost the exact same idea behind Newt — with different creatures in a modified setting, of course. Coincidence? I think not, it’s even set for 2011. Nothing against the studio, but lately, I haven’t been feeling them.
I’m only speculating, but when I see things like this: "Kate and Humphrey are forced to work together to get back home. Along the way, they fall in love." It makes me wonder where some animation studios get their ideas. That’s from the plot of Alpha and Omega, another upcoming CGI animated film.
Pixar’s decision to walk away from this story may have been the best thing to do. Who knows, Newt’s characters may debut in the future in an even better idea. Only time will tell.
In fact, Bob Iger assured us today that Pixar is continuing development of original features and that all of the sequels that have been green lit to this day have not been by request of the corporation. I presume that in the future, the company won’t be announcing projects like these so far in advance.
Remember, Pixar’s ideas never seem to die. So, let’s hope Newt is resurrected, and this time, the studio’s lips will stay sealed for sure. I wish Gary Rydstrom the best; Lifted is one of my favorites.
Like they say at Pixar, story is king. Your thoughts?