Pixar is returning to the world of Soul with a new short that serves as a prequel to the Oscar-nominated film.
Tina Fey will reprise her voice role of 22, the soul Jamie Foxx’s Joe Gardner meets in The Great Before during the events of Soul. 22 vs. Earth, directed by Kevin Nolting, is set well before the events of the movie and will see early attempts by 22 to stop herself from going to earth. Those include enlisting a gang of five other souls to form a rebellion.
Nolting is a 21-year veteran of Pixar who worked on films like Finding Nemo and Up. He also served as an editor and creative advisor on Soul.
“While making Soul, we talked about the why of a new soul not wanting to live on Earth, but it didn’t ultimately belong in that movie,” Nolting explained in a statement accompanying the news of his short. “22 vs. Earth was a chance to explore some of the unanswered questions we had about why 22 was so cynical. As a fairly cynical person myself, it felt like perfect material.”
“I think the new souls make the short so fun — the contrast of their pure innocence and delight with the cynical expectations of 22,” he added. “The other new souls are what 22 once was before she took another path — purely innocent, blank slates to be guided by the counselors in their mostly uneventful journey to the earth portal. 22 sees an opening in that and attempts to guide them herself into her way of thinking.”
22 vs. Earth will be released on Disney+ April 30.
Soul was directed by Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter and One Night in Miami… scribe Kemp Powers. While the film has racked up quite a bit of love this awards season, winning Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes and being the shoe-in to win the same category at the Oscars this weekend, it wasn’t without criticism.
There were those who took issue with the concept of the film, which saw 22, voiced by a white woman, inadvertently taking over the body of Joe, a Black man, who rarely has agency in his own body over the course of the story. Joe falls into a coma at the beginning of the film, setting his soul on a desperate journey to return to his human form. This caused some critics and viewers to take issue with the themes and imagery at play.
22 vs. Earth now seems to center wholly on the 22 characters, though Pixar previously debuted a one-and-a-half-minute Soul of the City short on Disney+ as part of its Pixar Popcorn collection.Source: EW