Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Almost Had A Very Similar Plot To Detective Pikachu

The newest little piece of A24 magic is in theaters, only this time it doesn't involve lamb children, multiversal sex toy combat, or bear suit boyfriends. Instead, the adorable living shell Marcel (played by the talented Jenny Slate) is coming to your cineplex in director Dean Fleischer-Camp's "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On," a charming story about Marcel being interviewed by a documentarian (Fleischer-Camp) as the young shell tries to reunite with his family. 

The film is the product of years of careful work and plotting by Fleischer-Camp and co-writer/co-creator Jenny Slate to carve out a story that actually fits Marcel and the story world ... but they had some surprising offers that would have produced a wildly different outing. After their wildly popular first short film over a decade ago, Fleischer-Camp and Slate had studios coming out of the woodwork to try and land different potential feature ideas for the young shell-person's adventures. One studio suggested a crime-fighting team-up between Marcel and gin-slinging A-lister Ryan Reynolds, widely known for films like "Deadpool" and "Detective Pikachu." Here's the problem.... that Marcel pitch basically was "Detective Pikachu" before the latter even existed.

When Marcel isn't wearing a lentil for a hat, he's investigating I guess

In an interview soon to be published with Dean Fleischer-Camp, it's revealed that one of the studios spitballing about potential Marcel adventures clearly had an outing where someone investigates alongside a cute, crime-fighting side-kick on the brain. Of the many fielded pitches, Fleischer-Camp explains "there definitely was one where a studio had suggested that we partner him with Ryan Reynolds and they fight crime together." That's clearly not the route Fleischer-Camp went, but as time went by and Warner Bros.' "Detective Pikachu" dropped in theaters, Fleischer-Camp had a revelation:

"And then a few years later'Detective Pikachu' came out and I was like, 'Did we get pitched 'Detective Pikachu,' and they finally found a character?' But anyways, there was that. There was Marcel, 'Babe 2 Pig in the City' kind of style, Marcel getting lost in Paris. There was a whole thing we fleshed out where he's attending a school for music called the Academy of Toons, and they just all felt pretty wrong.

Before the heartwarming A24 outing, a lot of the Marcel pitches were entirely divorced from what makes the character memorable (namely that he's small, inquisitive, and charming in a great, relatively big world). We nearly had a number of Warner Bros.-style outings, including "Detective Marcel" (or whatever they'd have called it). In a way, we're left with the best of both worlds: we can enjoy a Ryan Reynolds-voiced electric critter solving crime and a decidedly Marcel-style search for a lovely family of shell-people.

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is in theaters June 24th, 2022.