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Pixar's New 'Suburban Fantasy' Sounds Like A Real Tearjerker

Director Dan Scanlon was inspired by the father he never knew

Pixar has a history of taking audiences to places they've never seen before, from the mind of an 11-year-old girl where emotions run amok to infinity and beyond. For a forthcoming project, the celebrated animation studio is headed to yet another new place: a "suburban fantasy world."

Pixar Animation announced a new animated film from the talented team behind Monsters University at D23 over the weekend. Director Dan Scanlon joined Pixar chief John Lasseter to share a few details about the original feature film that's currently in production at the studio. The story is a personal one for Scanlon.

"When I was a year old, my father passed away," Scanlon told the crowd at D23. "I don't remember him and neither does my brother, who was 3 at the time."

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Director Dan Scanlon announces his new untiled Pixar film at D23.

He then went on to tell the story of how when he and his brother were teenagers a relative came forward with an audio recording of their late father. Scanlon played the recording to the D23 crowd, who sat in rapt silence. The only words he spoke were "hi" and "bye," but for Scanlon, that was enough.

"I have always wondered who my father was," Scanlon said. "And that question became the blueprint for this movie."

The story takes place in a modern fantasy world where there once was magic — real magic — but it was hard to do and complicated to learn, so people just lost interest. In this world, a mix of "the fantastical and the everyday," humans don't exist. There are only elves, trolls, and sprites — or "anything that would be on the side of a van in the '70s," the director said. Oh, and unicorns are everywhere. They roam the streets of this modern, magical suburbia like rodents.

"In the film, we're going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him," Scanlon said. "But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father."

And we're already crying.

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There's no release date attached to Pixar's untitled urban fantasy, but the project will most likely debut sometime in 2020 or 2021.