Are you ready for more Mike and Sully? A special behind-the-scenes preview and a brand new trailer for Pixar's "Monsters University" offers up a treasure trove of new details – additional plot information, character designs, and footage – that make us inch towards genuine excitement about this monster-filled prequel.
Dan Scanlon, whos is making his feature debut as a director with "Monsters University," hosts the preview. Scanlon is, despite having yet to hit his fortieth birthday, a longtime animation vet who got his start storyboarding direct-to-video sequels for Disney and DreamWorks Animation in the early aughts, before moving to Pixar to become a story artist on "Cars" (where he also provided "additional screenplay material") and "Toy Story 3" (for "Brave" he is credited as being a part of Pixar's "senior creative team"). Scanlon also served as co-director on the spooky-fun short film "Mater and the Ghostlight," which appeared on the home video release of "Cars."
Scanlon runs down the basics – Billy Crystal and John Goodman will be returning to their beloved roles as Mike Wazowski and James "Sulley" Sullivan, only this time they're in college! He briefly describes the characters' college-age redesign, which is hardly radical (Mike is smaller and has braces; Sulley is shaggier and slimmer), and runs down the basics of the plot. In the monsters world, Scanlon explains, being a scarer is like being an astronaut – it's something every monster aspires to. When they enter college Mike and Sulley are mortal enemies, both gunning for that #1 spot, and because of their rivalry end up flunking out of the scare program. Mike comes up with the idea to compete in the Greek Scare Games, a fraternity and sorority-wide scaring competition whose winners can be re-admitted into the program. Of course, the only fraternity that will accept them is the loser fraternity made up of (in Scanlon's words) "other scare rejects."
Maybe most tantalizing are the designs for the new characters. Scanlon says that they're "filling the world with new monsters," and what's so funny is that every college subculture seems to be accounted for, in monster form – the jocks, hippies, student protestors, sorority girls, Goths – they're all there. And the designs look totally outlandish and amazing, keeping with the aesthetic of the first film but pushing things further and into weird new terrain. We also get our first look at the dragon-like Dean Hardscrabble, which we understand is the character being played by Julia Sweeney.
As for the new trailer, it serves up the goods, with the movie very definitely offering up a new world for audiences to explore with Mike and Sully, though living up to the original "Monsters Inc." will be a very tall order. "Monsters University" opens on June 21st. Check out the trailer, featurette and Chinese New Year posters below. [AICN/HeyUGuys/RecentMoviePosters]