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Monsters at Work: What to know about the Monsters, Inc. sequel series on Disney+
Picking up several months after the monster world has switched over to laugh power, a young monster named Tylor Tuskman finds himself heading down a vastly different career path now that his terrifying appearance is completely obsolete. Unable to put his scare talents to good use, a dejected Tylor becomes a factory mechanic. Not exactly the job he was hoping for, but it's certainly a stepping stone to becoming a laugh harvester.
OK, that's the basic set-up, but there's plenty more to know about this return to Monstropolis. Check out our primer on Monsters at Work, which hits Disney+ on July 7.
How to watch
Monsters at Work is a Disney+ Original, meaning that you'll need a subscription to the Mouse House streaming platform if you want to catch it. Originally set to premiere on July 2, the show was recently pushed off by five days to July 7.
The decision to postpone may have been due to the fact that this year's Fourth of July weekend is packed with major genre releases such as The Forever Purge, The Boss Baby: Back in Business, The Tomorrow War, and the first entry in Netflix's long-awaited Fear Street trilogy. Like its streaming competitors, Disney+ usually drops new episodes around 12 a.m. PT / 3 a.m. ET, so if you're based on the East Coast, you'll need to stay up super late or just wait until first thing in the morning.
Behind the closet door
Released in 2001, Monsters, Inc. was written by the duo of Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and Dan Gerson (Monsters University) and directed by Pete Docter (he'd go on to helm Up and Inside Out). Monsters at Work, meanwhile, was developed for television by Bobs Gannaway, who has served as an executive producer on a number of small-screen Disney spinoffs like 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, and The Emperor's New School.
Gannaway's support team on this new series consists of producers Sean Laurie and Ferrell Barron and supervising directors Steve Anderson and Kathleen Good. Dominic Lewis is composing the music (taking over the franchise reins from Randy Newman).
"We feel like this show is a revolution in episodic programming," Barron said at D23 Expo in 2019. "We built a team that comes from Pixar, from Disney Animation, from television animation, and we've merged it all together to try to give Disney+ something that's unique and special ... We really focused on what Pixar thinks of when they think of filmmaking, which is there is no better business plan than quality. Quality is the best business plan and that's how we're approaching Monsters at Work."
Veteran Pixar animator Rob Gibbs (whose young daughter, Mary, was the voice of Boo in the original movie) directed several episodes before passing away last April.
The scary set-up
Monsters at Work takes place six months after the events of the first movie, wherein Sulley and Mike discovered that laughter was 10 times more powerful than screams. With Mr. Waternoose arrested by the Child Detection Agency (CDA), the two buddies are placed in charge of the Monstropolis power company. However, the show isn't really about them; it's more about an ambitious young monster named Tylor Tuskman.
A recent graduate of Monsters University, Tylor hopes to become a scarer, but has his hopes dashed upon discovering that Monsters, Inc. is no longer looking for terrifying employees. Since his appearance is not conducive to eliciting chuckles from children, he's sent to work for MIFT (Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team), a group of misfits who keep the factory running smoothly.
At least that's what they're supposed to do. Based on the trailer, it doesn't look like the MIFT crew is very good at their jobs, but Tylor could change all that with his fresh perspective (his new goal is to become a professional Jokester).
Voices (old and new)
Let's start with the returning cast members. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are both returning to the iconic roles of Mike Wazowski and James P. "Sulley" Sullivan, respectively. Other established cast members include John Ratzenberger (Bernard and Yeti), Jennifer Tilly (Celia Mae), Bob Peterson (Roze), Bonnie Hunt (Ms. Flint), and Stephen Stanton (Smitty and Needleman).
Ben Feldman (Superstore) leads the newcomers as the voice of Tylor. Aisha Tyler (Archer), Mindy Kaling (The Office), Lucas Neff (Big Hero 6: The Series), Henry Winkler (Barry), and Alanna Ubach (Mythic Quest) co-star. Tyler is playing Tylor's mother, Millie Tuskmon, while the remaining names take on the leading members of MIFT. Kaling and Ubach previously worked with Pixar on Inside Out and Coco, respectively.
"They've created all of these new, young, great characters with some great voice actors," Crystal told Collider earlier this year. "I tell ya, it's 20 years since [the first movie] and that movie looked amazing 20 years ago. It's coming up to the 20th anniversary [in the fall] and it's fantastic-looking and it's hilarious and we're having a lot of fun doing it ... We've done a bunch. We've been on a break because of the pandemic, but some of it I was able to do at home and some I was able to do in a very deserted studio out in Burbank. To be the only one on the lot was a little weird."