RUMOR: Bob Peterson No Longer Active on Production for The Good Dinosaur – UPDATED

Bob Peterson Removed The Good Dinosaur

Updated – this rumor has been confirmed in a recent LA Times article, read our updated post here.

We would like to begin this post with a focus on one word – and that would be “rumor”. The story of Bob Peterson no longer having an active production role on Pixar’s next feature film The Good Dinosaur has been swirling over the internet for the past few days (via BlueSkyDisney and /Film).

Having heard rumblings of this rumor shortly after the 2013 D23 Expo (August 15), we didn’t want to report on the story until we had additional details, but today with the rush of articles, we felt that we had to address this story and include our thoughts regarding Peterson and Pixar.

During the 2013 D23 Expo, when co-director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream (previously not noted as a producer for the movie) took the stage, you could almost hear the whispering rumor mill on the internet wondering about Bob Peterson’s and John Walker’s absence. This came as a surprise to many since The Good Dinosaurproduction team was previously reported as, Peterson (Director), Sohn (Co-Director) and Walker as the producer. Any news of an official change of the reigns hasn’t been made and it has yet to be confirmed by Disney•Pixar.

The Good Dinosaur Concept Art

Our thoughts on the early rumors are many – from Peterson perhaps stepping down from the project himself, to perhaps stepping away from animation for a bit and working on live-action films (like Brad Bird or Andrew Stanton), to this being a story of falsehood and nothing more than a rumor. One thing that is for sure is that Pixar always focuses on the story and the quality of the film, perhaps if there were creative differences, or The Good Dinosaur needed to go into a new direction the Pixar brain trust would make the appropriate call.

Additionally, we also feel the word “removal” that is being used, could be a bit harsh of a verbiage choice when it comes to this information. If this rumor proves to be true, it is worth noting that many of our beloved Pixar films had a production change-up during filming. Starting with Ratatouille (lead Director change from Jan Pinkava to Brad Bird), to Cars 2 (lead Director change from Brad Lewis to John Lasseter) and of course Brave (Director change from Brenda Chapman to Mark Andrews). It is also worth noting that if Peterson no longer has an active production role on The Good Dinosaur, that his hard work during the pre-production and current production won’t be able to be completely removed. Although the storyline may change, you can’t just “remove” Peterson’s passion that he started the film with.

At this point, no official word of a release date change has been announced for The Good Dinosaur and is still slated for a May 2014 release – what are your thoughts? Will the release date change, will the plot points change drastically or just minimally. A few readers have already started conversations in the Pixar Post Forum regarding the Director change rumors as well as Denise Ream stepping in as a Producer – keep the conversation going.

Comments 16
  1. I just wanted to say thank you for taking on this matter properly, and not hyping it up to be this big controversy. I've seen some sites and blogs already jumping to conclusions like the film could be cancelled, and I think it is waaaaaay too early to be making crazy assumptions like that. If Peterson really is off the project, I'm sure there is a very good reason for it, and his influence on the film will not be forgotten, if this rumor ends up being true.

  2. Hey Giovanni – yeah, it's a hard subject to tackle when something like this come up. Like we mentioned above, it was really a hard thing for us to report on without a proper or quotable source. Obviously there are some things that certainly support the rumors, but we felt that it was necessary to at least address it as a rumor at this point…not necessarily saying that it's not true, but that it's hanging out there at the moment. Thank you again for your kind words and for understanding our take on the story. I agree that anything outside of the rumor of Bob Peterson and John Walker no longer being a part of the production team is purely indulgent speculation at this point.In the past Pixar has been pretty quiet during these changeovers so we may have to rely on our own thoughts for a while…but here's to hoping that we don't have to let the rumors build for too long. – T.J.

  3. First off, I want to applaud you both for taking this approach to this story. It's often that websites take news and completely blow it out of proportion and make a rumor sound fact. I feel that your viewpoint it very tactful and makes sense, like you said no one knows the truth it's all speculation now. Great post guys! I love to hear your thoughts on things as it's always an interesting and different perspective.

  4. Hmmmm,While I'll respectively concede to the Lamp studio that this modus operandi of final hour director change has shown its strengths in the past (Ratatouille), I can't condone this practice as being wholeheartedly beneficial for the long run. While I may not agree with the baseless criticisms of \”Pixar is losing touch\” or \”Pixar is Ruined Forever\”, if this rumor is true, I must admit it does nothing to alleviate my recent concerns. I know I'm in the minority on this but I was not a fan of Brave or either of the Cars films. Cars was a passion project of Lasseter's which the audience can buy into or not (metaphorically and literally) and the sequel had its gamut of production issues enough to pull John back to the director's chair so I'll be more lenient. But Brave as described in the \”Art of\” book, had a strong potential as an original fantasy adventure under Chapman, which unfortunately seems like the final version became a less high risk \”Mother-Daughter story\”. Enjoyable on its own, but ultiimately a more tepid venture.My point is not to accuse Pixar of dropping in quality or creativity (I thoroughly enjoyed Monsters University) or that its even being unfair. It's to argue that the studio is not infallible and not all of their decisions may be for the best. Like Julie and T.J. mentioned, I am sure PIXAR had their motivations for relieving Peterson and his spirit will live on in one form or another in the film. But I can't help but question whether their motivation was correct. It seems like Peterson has a extremely creative idea, and I hope this rumor will prove counterfactual.Afterall, who else is looking forward to seeing a film directed by Roz, Dug and Mr. Ray?

  5. Very insightful feedback! Also, you're probably not in the minority for not liking Brave or the Cars movies…those are certainly the most polarizing of the films that have been released.It will be interesting to see what comes of this rumor for sure.

  6. Changing the director will affect the overall mood of the film.He had a great impact on films like UP,Finding Nemo,Ratatouille and The Good Dinosaur must be next Pixar classic.Also i am sure that this decision is being made by Disney,not Pixar.It will be very sad if this rumor is true.

  7. Hey Arthur, I agree with the sentiment that this is sad. It's funny though because I don't think any other directing change has elicited this type of emotion.I would also hesitate to state that Disney made this decision on behalf of Pixar – I don't know that we'll ever know that as a fact, but what can be said is that 4 of the last 8 films have had directing changes – this one just hits home more because it's Peterson and he's so loved by the fans.Here's our writeup of the confirmation of the directing change which was just announced – http://www.pixarpost.com/2013/08/confirmed-directing-role-for-good.html

  8. I really really want to believe that he'll stay, but I can't. It's too naive to think that he'll be happily initiating/contributing to other projects while his debuting effort as a main director is yanked off his hand. Same goes with Brenda. She was hanging around \”developing\” things for a while before officially left. Plus, think about it. The brain trust is ALWAYS there to bounce ideas around and support the main director. Even if things are not that swell with Bob and his movie, they still can let him be in charge and provide constant inputs like they've always done during the production process. Having to remove Bob from the directorial chair and share the duties around the group (esp. with Unkrich and Andrews busy doing their own things at the moment) can only mean one thing: the relationship between Bob and Pixar is pretty much broken, and the differences are irreconcilable.

  9. I can certainly see how you feel that way, especially since it has happened in the past. Just remember that what has happened in the past with other director's doesn't mean that the same thing will happen in the future with Peterson. I'm not negating your view – I'm just suggesting that it may or may not happen – let's let time take its course and see what plays out.There is one thing that's for sure – this directing change has sparked the most heated debate. Is it because this has happened at Pixar again…or is it because Peterson was so loved within the company?

  10. \”Is it because this has happened at Pixar again…or is it because Peterson was so loved within the company?\” — For me, definitely the latter. I actually didn't blink when Lewis or Chapman was replaced, and probably wouldn't too if Scanlon had been chopped (as wrong as it may sound). But Peterson is a well-respected, highly regarded veteran at the studio, who had been there for decades and contributed tremendously to what we know and love. Kicking him off his project is a huge deal, especially after all these years hyping the movie up. I'm sure we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

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