Disney just announced the release date and official synopsis for their new Monsters Inc. spin-off show Monsters at Work, and it sounds like exactly the kind of series people might expect. Following a new cast of characters while staying grounded in the universe audiences have grown to love, it looks like it's time to introduce a whole new generation to the charms of Monstropolis.
Officially premiering on July 2nd, Monsters at Work will go in a decidedly different direction than Pixar's most recent detail-filled offering, Soul. The sequel series will focus on Tylor Tuskmon, an eager new Scarer at the titular Monsters Inc. company fresh out of Monsters University. Having graduated at the top of his class, the young hopeful has dreamed of becoming a Scarer at the famous factory. The only problem is, just one day earlier, Monsters Inc. changed its entire operation to begin harvesting laughs instead of screams, and now Tylor's whole skillset may be entirely worthless at his new job.
The premise directly follows up on the conclusion of 2001's Monsters Inc., which introduced the idea of a city powered entirely by the screams of children. Using specialized doors to transport them into the rooms of kids around the world, the company's Scarers would use their frightening abilities to terrify their targets, allowing their handlers back in Monstropolis to collect the scream energy. Through a series of events, main characters Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) discovered that laughs were actually exponentially more potent than screams, ultimately resulting in a change in focus for Monsters Inc. The creative premise is just one of many reasons it remains among Pixar's top-rated films.
Ben Feldman (Superstore, Mad Men) will voice Tylor, and the Scarer out of water will be joined by a colorful group of new faces. Fritz, Tylor's boss, will be played by Happy Days' Henry Winkler, while Raising Hope's Lucas Neff will portray the plumber Duncan. Alanna Ubach of Coco fame will also return to the Disney animation fold to play the by-the-books stickler named Cutter. Aside from a few returning characters, other cast members include John Ratzenberger and Aisha Tyler as Tylor's parents, signaling the former's now traditional appearance in every Pixar property (even extending to an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 3).
This seems to be just the right kind of series to follow up Monsters Inc. While workplace comedies aren't exactly as popular as they used to be, they're by no means completely out of style. The film set up a living, breathing world just begging for new stories to be told, and the whole idea of fantastical creatures all living rather mundane lives has a certain novelty to it. Hopefully, the show can live up to its legacy.
Some may argue that the story was wrapped up perfectly in Monsters Inc. and that there's no need for a sequel. But just because one story is over doesn't mean another can't begin. Besides, as shown by this Animal Crossing tribute to the Pixar film, love for the classic cuddly monster movie is still alive and well.
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