Next summer brings us Pixar’s first original fairy tale, Brave, and today brings a significant update. Entertainment Weekly got their hands on some very cool concept art and a couple announcements in regards to the voice cast and direction credit. First up, Reese Witherspoon will not be lending her voice to the lead character, Merida, because of scheduling issues. Instead, that character will be given life by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, Trainspotting) which is appropriate because the film is set in Scotland. The rest of the cast will also be from across the pond. Merida’s parents, King Fergus and Queen Elinor, will be voiced by Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson, a wise woman who plays an important role will be voiced by Julie Walters and three comedic lords will be voiced by Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.

Also, while there had been some controversy surrounding Pixar’s first female director Brenda Chapman, who left the project last year, she’ll now officially receive a co-director credit with Mark Andrews, who is now finishing the film. Read some new plot details and see the concept art after the break.

Thanks to Entertainment Weekly for their exclusive update on Brave. Here are the concept images.

And here’s a brief plot description thanks to EW:

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).

Also, an alternate plot description from Disney confirms the film will be in 3D and more:

The rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland serve as the backdrop for Brave, a new tale that joins the lands ancient lore, stories of epic battles and mystical legends passed down for generations. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, Brave is the grand adventure of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer who confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts to discover the true meaning of courage.  The film also features the voices of Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. Brave, full of heart, memorable characters and Pixar’s signature humor, takes aim at theaters on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D in select theaters.

Brave is set for release on June 22, 2012. I’d love to see a trailer in front of Cars 2, what about you?

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