Pixar Unveils First Plot Details, Concept Art for New Film ‘Elemental’

Pete Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur”) directs the original film inspired by his chlidhood

Concept art from "Elementals" (Disney/Pixar)

On the cusp of releasing “Lightyear” in theaters this summer, Pixar Animation Studios is pulling back the curtain on another new film coming from the studio in 2023: “Elemental.”

This new original film hails from “The Good Dinosaur” filmmaker Peter Sohn, who directs the story of an unlikely pair – Ember and Wade – living in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. A mismatched buddy story, the film follows a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy who “are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.”

The film was inspired by Sohn’s own childhood in New York. “My parents emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx,” said the director in a statement. “We were among many families who ventured to a new land with hopes and dreams—all of us mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages and beautiful little neighborhoods. That’s what led me to ‘Elemental.’”

“Our story is based on the classic elements—fire, water, land and air,” Sohn continued. “Some elements mix with each other, and some don’t. What if these elements were alive?”

The film is being produced by Denise Ream, who produced “Cars 2” and “The Good Dinosaur.”

“Elemental” will be the next film released after “Lightyear” this June, and will open on June 16, 2023. It comes as Pixar is pushing deeper into more diverse and specific stories from new filmmakers, as 2021 saw the release of Italian-American director Enrico Casarosa’s “Luca” based on his childhood and this past March, “Turning Red” was unveiled as a story that was personal to Chinese-born Canadian director Domee Shi.

“Lightyear,” which tells the story of the “real” Buzz Lightyear astronaut, will be the first Pixar film released in theaters since 2020’s “Onward.” During the pandemic, Disney released Pixar’s “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red” directly on the streaming service Disney+.

The “Elemental” announcement does not specify whether the film will get a theatrical release.