They found Nemo. But the director of 2003 Pixar smash Andrew Stanton was still worried about the little blue fish, Dory. After all, unlike everyone else, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) was the only loyal companion who journeyed with Marlin, Nemo’s dad, to find his captured son across the Australian seas. Dory deserved a movie of her own.
“I remember thinking, I actually worry about Dory. I worry she’ll get lost again,” says Stanton. “In my mind, she was always a tragic figure – there’s no way you can wander the ocean with that kind of handicap. She didn’t know where her family was. And I thought, I’d love to have her not see herself as somebody with a deficiency and know that she could find her way back if she were on her own.”Indeed, Stanton and his crew focused on the positive aspects of Dory’s personality this summer, emphasizing that every individual has a unique personality. With a little bit of optimism and hard work that unique individuality can shine no matter the situation.
But who plans to make a sequel 13 years later? For months, Stanton secretly worked on the sequel’s story alone until he felt he was ready to share his intentions with the rest of Pixar.
When Dory learns that stingrays are migrating to their original homes, she remembers that she too has a home. With the help of Nemo and Marlin as well as her new friends Bailey, Destiny, and Hank, she sets off on an adventure to be reunited with her parents. Finding Dory, the movie, finally hit American theaters in late June and in less than a month it has already grossed over $659 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo.Even though the story’s main plot revolves around Dory’s individual journey to embrace her individuality and personal identity, almost all of the characters’ personalities are so unique and eye-catching that focusing on Dory alone proves to be a very hard task. Indeed, it took the team a total of 103,639 storyboards until they were able to come up with the plot and character designs.
The crew went as far as to claim that the creation of the grumpy, introverted septopus was one of the hardest challenges they had faced in the last 18 years in their professional fields. Hank’s persona indeed is a very intriguing one. With his cartoonish abilities to blend into virtually anything yet move like a real octopus, as well as his dream of swapping “kiddie touch pools with solitary deep-water confinement,” he well deserves to have a movie of his own one day. After all, it was Stanton himself who said, “Still, the ocean is so big, so vast…you can never be quite sure who may get lost next.”
On a complete side note: if you thought Baby Nemo was the cutest creature ever, wait till you see Dory’s face at the beginning of the film!