Who Is Directing Monsters Inc 2? And What Is Pete Docter's Mystery Project?

After over a year of speculation, yesterday it was finally officially announced that Pixar is working on a Monsters Inc sequel. Not only that, but Monsters Inc 2 even has a release date: November 16th 2012.But the one thing absent from the announcement was any mention of a writer or director. Who is writing Monsters Inc 2? What is Pete Docter's mystery project? We delve into these questions and more, after the jump.

Who is directing Monsters Inc 2? Lets take a look at the usual suspects:

PEte Docter

Pete Docter directed the original film and has a story credit. Could he be working on the sequel? Nope.

At Comic-Con 2008, director Pete Docter responded to an audience question about the prospects of a sequel by admitting that "We've thought about it... We've got a couple ideas." When talking to New York Magazine last year for Up, the filmmaker was asked if this project was the rumored Monsters Inc 2 — Docter replied "I'm not working on ... I'm working on something else, but I cannot announce what it is." He confirmed that the project would probably be ready for the big screen in 2013 or 2014.

Which begs another question, what is Pete Docter's mystery project?

Harry Knowles revealed yesterday that Little Miss Sunshine/Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt was working with Docter on his next project. What Harry didn't know for sure at the time is that Docter's next project is not the Monsters Inc sequel.Cinematical recently talked to Doctor, who again confirmed "the film I'm developing now is an original project." Here is an excerpt from that interview:

"That's the hard part, but it's also the exciting part. It's the part where you start to lose your hair and you wake up at three in the morning, but looking back, it's the part that's most rewarding." ... "I'm on a couple of different things that are pretty early on; one's being storyboarded and put up on reels, which is where the rubber meets the road. That's the hard part of it. The early days, usually you can think of all these great ideas, and they sound interesting and intriguing, and then you get in there and you have to storyboard it to make each beat work. Make you care about the character, yet have him flawed so he can have growth throughout the film. Those are hard things to do! And just when you think you understand now how you're going to do it, the next film comes up and hits you from the side and you didn't see it coming. It's not easy!"

So if Docter is working on his own thing, then who is writing and directing the new Monsters Inc movie?

lee unkrichLee Unkrich was a Co-Director on the first film, but he is still knee deep in his directorial debut Toy Story 3 — so cross his name off the list.Andrew StantonAndrew Stanton, who provided some of the story for the first film is also onto his own project, a live-action adaptation of John Carter of Mars. So it can't be him either.

I did some asking around, and almost no one seems to know who is involved. If Emmerville has a leak, I can't seem to find it. I did however receive an e-mail from a source within the animation industry who said the following:

... and from what I've heard (not recently this was last year) Pete Docter isn't heading Monsters 2.  It's a first-time feature director, and I'm pretty sure it was mentioned that he's done a short for Pixar in the past.  Got no info beyond that- nobody told me anything directly, this is just me cobbling the bits of info I've heard from various sources.  Probably just confirming what everyone already knows, giving that feature directors at Pixar tend to get their start doing shorts there.  But... at least it narrows down the list.

Bob Peterson

Rumor has it that it might be either Up co-director Bob Peterson or Doug Sweetland, who was the directing animator on the original movie and the writer/director of the 2008 Academy Award-nominated Pixar short film Presto. Peterson is working on something, but hasn't directed a short film himself.

The one final name to throw into the mix is Gary Rydstrom.

Gary Rydstrom

Gary pitched three ideas for a short film to Pixar, and Lifted was accepted. Rydstrom received his fourteenth Academy Award nomination for directing the short film, which was released theatrically with Pixar's Ratatouille. Rydstrom is an award winning sound designer who began his career at Skywalker Sound in 1983. Gary worked on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spaceballs, Backdraft, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Jurassic Park, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and Finding Nemo.

pixar's newt

Rydstrom was supposed to make his feature directorial debut with a Pixar film called newt. But the original film, announced for Summer 2011, has been removed from the upcoming release slate and is claimed to be dead by animation insiders. Is it possible that Rydstrom moved on to the Monsters Inc sequel instead?

It is possible they don't want to announce a creative team yet because it could always change. Remember, Brad Bird was brought on late in the game to replace another director on Ratatouille. Things like that happen all the time, and Pixar is known to be a creative enviorment where the idea begins as a group discussion.

And on to another bit of speculation – what is the movie going to be about? That we don't know yet. Docter has repeatedly said:

Well, it's like anything else at Pixar; we try to only attack something or take it on if there's something intriguing about it. So if we don't find a story and a wrinkle to these characters that makes us feel compelled to do it, then we won't.

So what about the characters? Where are they now? What if I told you that we may have already seen a glimpse of Monsters Inc 2 in the movie trailer for Toy Story 3?


in every Pixar movie, they try to hide a character or two from one of their upcoming films. For example, Boo's fish toy in Monsters Inc ended up being the title character of Finding Nemo. A kid in the doctor's office in Finding Nemo was reading a comic book of The Incredibles. WALL-E appeared in 2D on the Ratatouille DVD short film Your Friend the Rat. And Up's Dug the dog appeared in silhouette in Brad Bird's Ratatouille chasing Remy through the walls of a building.

Dug in ratatouille

In Peter Docter's Up:


The cute little pink teddy bear underneath the bed of sequence where Carl's house floats by a child's bedroom window is a new Toy Story 3 character named Lots-o'-Huggins Bear, and he is voiced by Ned Beatty. But what about Monsters Inc 2? Is there a clue in one of Pixar's recent films? I'm not sure. But since the premiere of the recent Toy Story 3 trailer, Pixar fanatics have been speculating that one of the young girls at the daycare center looks suspiciously like a more grown up version of Boo:


Is the girl in the photo above, Boo?

Boo from Monsters Inc

You decide.

Until we get more answers, this is all I have for you.