‘Inside Out 2’ Changes Story, Cuts Controversial New German Emotion

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Animated characters from the movie "inside out" with joy in the center, surrounded by sadness, anger, and disgust, in a colorful setting, expressing a range of emotions.

Credit: Disney Pixar

Pixar Animation Studios is hoping that Inside Out 2 will turn things around for Disney’s struggling box office numbers, which is probably why it decided to cut this controversial new German emotion from the story.

Inside Out 2 characters showing varied emotions inside a colorful, futuristic setting, with Joy looking surprised, Fear anxious, Anger yelling, Disgust annoyed, and Sadness apprehensive.
Credit: Pixar

Pixar did better than most other arms of the Walt Disney Company when it came to theatrical releases in 2023. Where Marvel Studios bombed hard with The Marvels (2023), Lucasfilm lost $134 million over Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), and Walt Disney Animation Studios disappointed audiences with the much-promoted Wish (2023), the acclaimed animation studio managed to turn Elemental (2023) into a sleeper hit.

Elemental, the studio’s most recent feature film release, initially premiered to underwhelming numbers but stuck around in theaters far longer than expected. The movie, directed by Peter Sohn and starring the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, was boosted by good word of mouth and grossed nearly half a billion dollars, ending up as one of the few bright spots in Disney’s fiscal year.

Ember and Wade from Elemental eating snacks together.
Credit: Pixar

Related: ‘Inside Out 2’ Gets the ‘Turning Red’ Treatment, Introduces Puberty and “The Belief System”

Now, Pixar chief Pete Docter is hoping that Inside Out 2, the sequel to his film Inside Out (2015), will keep that momentum going. The first film starred Amy Poehler as Joy, one of several anthropomorphic emotions in the mind of Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias), a young girl struggling with her family’s recent move and the trials of childhood. The film also featured Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Richard Kind (Bing Bong), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), and Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan as Riley’s parents.

Riley in 'Inside Out'
Credit: Pixar

Inside Out was a huge success for Pixar and Disney, grossing $858.8 million and winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Unsurprisingly, Disney is positioning Inside Out 2 as part of a wave of upcoming sequels with which it hopes to regain the critical and commercial adoration that Pixar once held.

The studio is not hedging its bets with the movie, however. Inside Out 2 will bring back Amy Poehler and several of the first movie’s stars as emotions but has recast several voice actors and will introduce four new emotions to indicate Riley’s (now voiced by Kensington Tallman) journey into adolescence.

Four Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Anxiety (Maya Hawke), and Envy (Ayo Edebiri) in Inside Out 2 characters showing varying emotions and styles plus colorful backgrounds: blue drenched and sad, pink and surprised, orange and quirky, and purple and dreamy.
Credit: Pixar

One new emotion that didn’t make the cut? Schadenfreude. Apparently, Pete Docter (who handed over directorial duties to Kelsey Mann) previously wanted to include the curious German emotion of schadenfreude in the first movie but was unable to figure out how. Mann has revealed (via Slashfilm) that he attempted to include the new emotion in Inside Out 2 through various story changes but just couldn’t make it work. He said:

“I just wanted to see if there was any gems that were like in there that I could bring back in. One of them is the emotion of schadenfreude…”

“But my first pass, my first screening that we did, nine new emotions showed up. I really wanted Joy to feel overwhelmed by all of these new emotions that showed up. And I was like, well, let’s have a lot show up. And then you couldn’t keep track. There were so many emotions and they all canceled each other out, because you couldn’t keep up with everybody. And my first note from the first screening was: simplify.”

Related: “Her New Emotion Is Lesbianism,” ‘Inside Out 2’ Goes Viral After Disney Drops Update

Schadenfreude (which translates to literally “damage-joy”) is often described as the emotion of “shameful happiness” or the joy that one feels at another’s misfortune. It is a highly specific feeling that was first described in 1853’s On the Study of Words by Archbishop Richard Chenevix Trench, who described it as a “mournful record of the strange wickednesses which the genius of man, so fertile in evil, has invented.”

Joy cheering as the other emotions look on
Credit: Pixar

In other words, probably not an easy new emotion to translate to a visual medium. On the other hand, it could have been interesting for Inside Out 2 to feature a dark mirror of Amy Poehler’s Joy, a kind of malicious version of her hopeful, perky attitude. Maybe by the time Inside Out 2 rolls around, Pixar will have figured out that story.

Inside Out 2 is scheduled to be released in theaters on June 14. It will feature the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan, with new actors Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, and Kensington Tallman all joining the cast.

What new emotion would you like to see in Inside Out 2? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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