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After this summer's disappointing Cars 2, Pixar will be back next year with another original story, and one that finally gives the studio a female heroine to follow. Brave, a kind of fairy tale set in the Scottish highlands, is set for release on June 22 next year, and Apple just premiered the first trailer. You can watch it in gorgeous HD over there or embedded below.

The beginning of the trailer covers a lot of the same territory as the gorgeous teaser trailer from earlier this summer, but in addition to the misty Scottish landscapes we also now have a sense of the main characters, particularly the fiery Merida, who in the tradition of a lot of movie princesses, isn't content to spend her life wearing pretty dresses and acting like a lady. Voiced by the terrific Kelly MacDonald, Merida's personality seems right in line with her hair-- big, bright and unwilling to be tamed.

The trailer in some ways plays right down the line of the typical princess narrative, like Mulan set in Scotland, but there still seems to be a lot we don't know, and I'm counting on the rigorous Pixar storytelling method to get some surprises in there. I'm all for a story about a tomboy with a bow and arrow fighting a giant black monster, but I'm also counting on Pixar to show us something there we haven't seen. I just love the way she says at the end "If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?" It might just sound more mischievous because of the Scottish accent, but Merida seems to be coming of age in an uncommon, Pixar-ish way. The visuals are definitely there-- it's hard to imagine anything more gorgeous in animation, including How To Train Your Dragon-- and I'll be waiting anxiously to see how the story follows suit.