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

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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

Disney Pixar is ready to confront the emotions of teenagehood in the upcoming Inside Out 2 (2024) coming this summer and it may see a repeat of the backlash another coming-of-age movie received two years ago.

Joy cheering as the other emotions look on
Credit: Pixar

Inside Out‘s release in 2015 gave Disney and Pixar Animation Studios another commercial hit. Netting over $850 million at the global box office, Pete Docter’s movie followed young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) and her emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black). Inside Out charted Riley and her family’s move across the country and how that significantly impacted her emotional state–almost ten years later, the award-winning studio will do it again with its highly-anticipated sequel.

The 'Inside Out' emotions cowering from Anxiety in a promotional image for Pixar Animation Studios' 'Inside Out 2'
Credit: Pixar

Inside Out 2 was revealed just over one year ago at the D23 Expo 2022. There, Peter Docter–now Chief Creative Officer of Pixar–shared that a sequel to the hit 2015 movie was being made. Amy Poehler joined him to make the announcement. The Parks and Recreation actress will be reprising her role as Joy, as will Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black as Sadness and Anger, respectively. Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, though, have been replaced with Tony Hale and Liza Lapira for the sequel.

Disgust living up to her name as Joy, Sadness, and Anger hide in the corner
Credit: Pixar

While it is not fully clear what the plot will be for Inside Out 2, it is apparent that the animated film will follow a teenage Riley (played here by Kensington Tallman) as she enters the world of high school. Per the recent trailer, new emotions will also join Joy and the gang. Those include Maya Hawke’s Anxiety, Ayo Edebiri as Envy, Adèle Exarchopoulos as Ennui, and Paul Walter Hauser as Embarrassment. Some fans theorized that Riley’s high school journey might be one of her discovering her sexuality, too, with scenes involving a newcomer called Val (Lilimar Hernandez) suggesting attraction.

Embarrassment, Anxiety, Envy, and Ennui working the control board in Inside Out 2
Credit: Pixar

And it seems Disney and Pixar are not shying away from the coming-of-age narrative. News out of CinemaCon 2024, where the first 35 minutes of Inside Out 2 was shared, highlights the hilarity of the film, with Straw Hat Goofy–the mind behind the podcast Get Rec’d w/ Straw Hat Goofy–confirming some key elements of the upcoming sequel. In this TikTok video, the creator shares a list of these components.


#movies #fyp #foryou #filmtok

♬ original sound – Straw Hat Goofy

The list includes the following: the introduction of “the Belief System” and sense of self, a “beautiful” scene where audiences see Riley’s own belief system, the clash of Riley’s emotions, and a hilarious portrayal of how Riley going through puberty sends her emotions into overdrive.

It’s not entirely unexpected the direction Disney and Pixar are taking Inside Out 2, considering it’s about emotions inside a young person’s head. Still, the risk of entering this territory is high. Thanks to previous backlash surrounding similar topics, the studios are opening themselves up for a challenge at the box office. Sure, the majority of Disney fans will welcome Inside Out 2 with open arms, but some of the more vocal naysayers will likely take issue.

Riley in 'Inside Out'
Credit: Pixar

Related: Disney Pixar Dragged Through the Dirt After Taking Part in Viral Video Trend

In 2022, Pixar released Turning Red on Disney+. Domee Shi’s animated movie was the third Pixar film to be sent straight to the streamer, following Soul (2020) and Luca (2021). Turning Red also created discourse by using a young girl turning into a giant red panda as commentary on growing up. A scene involving a mother offering Mei, the main character, a tampon generated intense scrutiny, with some viewers claiming it was not family-friendly…

The discussion of what should and shouldn’t be in a Disney or Pixar film is likely to rear its head once again this June when Inside Out 2 opens exclusively in movie theaters. However, there could also be less noise depending on how the studio deals with the growing-up element. At the end of 2023, Bob Iger said that Disney was about entertainment first, not messaging.

turning red period scene
Credit: Pixar

“…entertain first, not messages,” the Disney CEO said at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, adding that “‘positive messages for the world’ can be great but that it shouldn’t be forced upon an audience” (via World of Reel).

The discontent over Disney and Pixar movies came after a string of box office failures with the likes of Pixar’s Lightyear and Disney’s own Strange World in 2022. The former failed to capture the magic of the Toy Story series, while a scene involving a same-sex kiss got it banned in multiple territories. Similarly, Strange World‘s inclusion of Disney’s first openly gay teenager sparked controversy and aided in the film’s historic box office failings.

A female couple and their young child in 'Lightyear,' a scene that fired up crowds who accused Disney of being woke.
Credit: Pixar

Related: 30 Individuals Hired and Tasked With Resurrecting Disney Studio, Told To Bring the “Magic” Back

“Woke” is a term thrown around often when it comes to The Walt Disney Company, and as the Mouse House continues to navigate the incredibly diverse world we live in, will their upcoming offerings be hits or misses?

Inside Out 2 is scheduled to be released on June 14, 2024. Kelsey Mann directs the Pixar sequel.

Are you looking forward to Inside Out 2? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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