2015 D23 Expo Animation Panel Wrap Up: ‘Coco’, ‘Finding Dory’, ‘Toy Story 4’, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ & More (Video & Photos)

Read our wrap up post of all the Pixar news from the 2015 D23 Expo event. Upcoming films, behind-the-scenes info and more.
Pixar film lineup 2015 D23 Expo

As the excitement of the 2015 D23 Expo continues, news from yesterday’s Upcoming Animation keynote presentation hosted by none other than John Lasseter continues to excite fans for the upcoming lineup of Pixar films. Below is a highlight of each film presented with a summary of photos, information, and a video highlight reel. This is a longer post, but we assure you the information is packed so read along and enjoy.

John Lasseter at the 2015 D23 Expo

John Lasseter stepped onto the stage of HallD23 and immediately captivated the crowd of 7,800 fans with his energy, charm, and excitement. He quipped about his exclusive Reyn Spooner “Lasseter-style” Hawaiian shirt (available exclusively at the Expo) and then used a t-shirt cannon to give some away before getting to the news of the event.

The panel of Disney animated films was up first and covered Zootopia, Gigantic, and the gorgeously designed, Moana. Saving the Pixar lineup for the end, the crowd was treated to looks at Riley’s First Date, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, the newly titled Coco, and some brief news of Toy Story 4.


As soon as John wrapped up his introduction, he quickly passed the stage to Inside Out Director, Pete Docter, Producer Jonas Rivera and Josh Cooley. Josh (screenwriter on Inside Out & director of Riley’s First Date) told an all-too-true story of how his own daughter’s future of dating inspired the short film (releasing with the Inside Out Blu-ray on November 3).

“We were working on Inside Out, we had this connection because we all have daughters. We would talk about our kids and it eventually became a fathers-of-daughters support group,” Cooley explained. “One of them said, ‘Just wait until she’s old enough to bring home her first boy.’ That became the premise of the short film.”

The crowd then experienced the world premiere of Riley’s First Date and all initial reactions have been extremely positive. The short’s fast-paced action and humor left many in the audience wanting more. Apparently, the short also features a guitar-driven song from the band AC/DC as well.

Read more details, watch a sample clip & view more images from Riley’s First Date in our earlier post.


News pertaining to The Good Dinosaur was up next and Director, Peter Sohn, and Producer, Denise Ream were on stage to show two additional clips which had never been shown to audiences before.

Pete mention that it was great to finally start sharing some of their project (which they’ve worked on for a long time) outside of two short trailers which have been released. The clips shown expand on the trailers and explain some of the moments where Arlo and Spot are howling at the moon. Additionally, the wise, yet eccentric dinosaur (shown below) which walks out of the woods with all the animals on his head (he believes they give him powers) is explained further.

“Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest,” said Sohn. “It is epic in scope, soul-enriching, and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he’s truly made of.”


Andrew Stanton (Director), Angus MacLane (Co-Director), and Lindsey Collins (Producer) came to the stage next and excited the crowd with a two-minute clip of the underwater wonderland. Dan the Pixar Fan posted in the forum that the new actor voicing Nemo, Hayden Rolance nailed Nemo’s voice saying, “If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought it was the original actor.” The Pixar team reportedly had to go with a different actor since Alex Gould’s voice has changed too much – which makes sense over 12 years.

The clip shown features Dory sleep-talking while dreaming of her parents. Upon waking she wants to go on a journey to find them while Marlin, being the worry-wart that he is, tries to convince her not to go. Said Stanton, “In ‘Finding Dory,’ we can expect to address the one emotionally open-ended issue that remained from the first movie: Where is Dory’s family, and will this overly-optimistic fish with short-term memory loss ever be able to find them again? Her issue has also given us the opportunity to travel to very different locations, on land and sea, and meet a variety of new sea creatures that expand the world of Nemo, Marlin, and Dory.”

Along with the new clip, Ellen Degeneres, Ty Burell, Ed O’Neill, and Kaitlin Olson join the Pixar team on stage to talk about their characters. Kaitlin plays Destiny, a whale shark that is a bad swimmer and doesn’t want to be associated with sharks since they’re scary and instead only identifies with the “whale” portion of her species.

Ty plays Bailey, a Beluga Whale who thinks he has a head injury and Ed plays Hank, a cantankerous octopus who was born in captivity. The screenshot below shows Hank and Dory, but what’s interesting is that you can see that Dory has a tracking tag placed on her. There’s also a photo of Darla (the Dentist’s Niece from Finding Nemo) in the background and is our first Easter Egg from the film.


Coco was previously known as the Untitled Dia de los Muertos film from Lee Unkrich. As much as that had a fun “ring” to it, we’re thrilled to know the final title now and see the official logo for the film. Lee Unkrich and Darla Anderson were on-hand to tell the story of their film and introduce Miguel, the 12-year old main character of the film. (Full details on the history of Coco can be found in our post culling the news from 2012 to now.)

Coco is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.

“As artists and filmmakers, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration’s core themes of family, remembrance, and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message.

“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance.”

The clip shown starts in a graveyard showing people paying their respects and quick shifts to the celebratory streets of Miguel’s town. Flashing lights, dancing skeletons, and music fill the streets as the disguised people celebrate the lives of their loved ones.


John Lasseter once again took the stage and joked with the crowd as he introduced himself as the director of Toy Story 4. The film’s initial treatment was by Andrew Stanton but contains a personal element as John noted that the story is inspired by him and Nancy (his wife). As revealed yesterday, the film will center around the love story of Woody and Bo Peep and will find Buzz and Woody on a journey to find Bo.


As the event came to a close, John reflected momentarily about the fact that the first Toy Story film is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. He mentioned that when you think of Toy Story, you instantly think of Randy Newman’s amazing soundtrack and score. Randy joined John on stage and sang what is arguably the most memorable song from a Pixar film, You’ve Got A Friend In Me while performers dressed as Green Army Men repelled from the ceiling and the rest of Andy’s toys danced on stage. Confetti burst into the crowd as the show ended and people applauded the close to three-hour presentation showcasing the lineup of films from Disney and Pixar. (Although posters were revealed for Cars 3 and The Incredibles 2, no news was revealed for those films.)

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