Disney and Pixar delivered an extensive look at their swiftly upcoming animated feature, Coco. Director Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina, and producer Darla K. Anderson took the stage at D23 to talk about the film.
Inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos and developed with significant input from Mexican writers and artists, Coco tells the story of a young boy named Miguel and his quest to discover the secret of an old family wound. Along the way, he stumbles into the Land of the Dead, the world of his ancestors. Miguel dreams of becoming a musician, and loves the famous guitarist and singer, Ernesto de la Cruz, and discovers that de la Cruz was his great-great-grandfather. But Miguel’s family believes that music is a curse — and takes his guitar from him.
The first clip the crew shared showed Miguel dashing through town to find another guitar, so he can play in the plaza with the other local musicians. He winds up in Ernesto’s shrine in the cemetery, where he also happens upon Ernesto’s prized guitar. Strumming it transports him to the realm of the Dead, in the very same cemetery, full of ancestors visiting their families on Día de los Muertos.
According to Coco’s crew, Miguel will meet a character named Hector there, voiced by Gael García Bernal, a charming calaca (a coloquial term for skeleton), and together they set out to solve the mystery of Miguel’s family.
Another clip showed the Department of Family Reunions, where Miguel and some of his new friends attempt to work things out for him. They run into the formidable Mama Imelda, his great-great-grandmother and find out that he must get his family’s blessing by sunrise, or he will turn into a calaca himself. Mama Imelda will only give her blessing if he agrees to never play music again. He refuses, and the rest of his family are unwilling to defy Imelda. She does not want him to go down the same path that Ernesto did — which is when Miguel realizes that he has other family in the Land of the Dead.
Pixar has released multiple clips from Coco already — including a short film about the adventures of Miguel’s faithful hound, Dante. The film will hit theaters on Nov. 22, 2017, along with “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” an accompanying holiday-themed musical short spinning off of 2013’s Frozen.