Hollywood has spent decades trying to give us a glimpse of what the world looked like filled with dinosaurs – and while many of those visions are entirely inaccurate, movies and television shows have helped us grasp what these giant creatures used to look like. In the making of their new movie, The Good Dinosaur, the folks at Pixar have once again utilized many of these classic designs, but what may surprise you is that some of the beasts will actually have radically new looks. Why? How? Because in the film, dinosaurs continued to evolve as a result of a giant asteroid never hitting Earth and wiping them all out.

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with The Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn while on a trip up to Pixar Animation Studios, and it was during our chat that we discussed why certain familiar dinos are going to look a bit different than you expect in the new animated movie. We hit on the subject after I asked the filmmaker about whether or not there were ever plans to make the creatures more realistic by including feathers on all of the designs – as it’s been discovered in the last few years that just about every dinosaur had them. Sohn discussed why they ultimately decided not to go in that direction – wanting to make sure that his characters were baseline familiar to the audience - but he did explain why not all of them look exactly like we’ve seen them in textbooks over the years. Said the director,
It was fun to keep what I knew and love about the dinosaurs to a certain idea, because we’d be flipping so much. I didn’t want people to be like, ‘Wait, what kind of dinosaur is that?’ And because we did the big "What If?" because of evolution we can kind of play around a bit more with what we want to play with.

The big "What If?" he’s referring to is the question of what would have happened if the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs had never hit Earth – and it seems that a significant part of that query is the suggestion that the look dinosaurs continued to change and advance as generations passed.

Of course, as you can see in the image above, The Good Dinosaur didn’t exactly completely abandon the idea of using feathers either. The creatures you see in the photo are the movie’s Velociraptors, and as you can see, the feathers are being used to give them a very different look than what we are used to seeing. Said Sohn,
We wanted to honor the feather thing too. So with the raptors, if we flip them in that way – having herbivores become the farmers, T-Rexs become ranchers – maybe these raptors could be another element in this frontier world. They’re kind of playing those hillbilly characters. So that was all part of the flip.

Stay tuned for more from our trip up to Pixar Animation Studios, and get ready for The Good Dinosaur to drop in theaters November 25th.

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