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'Elemental': Opposites attract in first teaser trailer for Pixar's next original feature

Elemental is slated for release in June 2023, but will it hit theaters or Disney+?

By Josh Weiss

Fire and water don't usually mix, but nothing is impossible for the imaginative folks over at Pixar. The celebrated animation studio behind Toy Story and Inside Out just debuted a teaser trailer for its next original feature: Elemental.

Set against the backdrop of Element City — a metropolis where anthropomorphic beings of fire, water, land, and air live together — the film (releasing wide next summer) centers around the relationship between the fiery Ember (Nancy Drew's Leah Lewis) and go-with-the-flow Wade (Jurassic World Dominion's Mamoudou Athie). This project marks the second feature-length outing for director Peter Sohn (helmer of The Good Dinosaur and voice of Emile in Ratatouille). Denise Ream (Toy Story 4) serves as lead producer.

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When the movie was first announced earlier this year, Sohn explained that the overall idea was inspired by his own parents achieving the American Dream after they emigrated from Korea to New York City in the 1970s. “We were among many families who ventured to a new land with hopes and dreams — all of us mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages, and beautiful little neighborhoods," he said. "That’s what led me to Elemental. Our story is based on the classic elements — fire, water, land, and air. Some elements mix with each other, and some don’t. What if these elements were alive?"

Watch the teaser below:

"The thing that we’re building so much on is Ember, and then when she meets Wade, and how they journey through this world, the city of elements, and how that affects her identity," Sohn teased during a recent interview with Collider. "I hope people can connect to that journey, for sure. It’s also about families, and how different families can be. I married someone that isn’t Korean, and it was shocking how different our cultures were. We’ve tried to bring those ingredients. I hope people can connect to it, in that way."

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sohn addressed a question about whether Avatar: The Last Airbender was an influence on this particular story. "No, it wasn't a touchstone, but I love the show," he said. "I saw it with my kids and it's great, but we're so different from it. There's no martial arts in our world. There's not anything like that. It's this city story with the romance, and this family drama. But I do appreciate the connection that people are making just 'cause they love that and hopefully they can love this, too."

Elemental arrives on June 16, 2023, although it's unclear if the film will receive a theatrical or streaming rollout. The disappointing box office returns of Lightyear this past summer may signify a major shift in Disney's release strategy for Pixar efforts.

ELEMENTAL (2023) Key Art

Looking for more kid-friendly content to tide you over until summer 2023? The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon, The Lorax, and more DreamWorks Animation classics are now streaming on Peacock.