The most exciting thing about Coco, the next feature from Pixar, is that it's not a sequel, meaning we'll see things in it that movie we've never seen before. One of those things is a pretty amazing looking new character. Coco's director tweeted out an image of Pepita, the most colorful chimera you've ever seen, and a key character in the new film. Check out the amazing creature in the image below.
Pepita is an alebrije. Alebrijes are small figures traditionally made of wood or paper mache, which depict strange animal mash ups. In the case of Pepita, she combines elements of a jaguar, eagle, ram, and iguana. The combination doesn't sound like it should work but Pepita looks absolutely amazing. Coco looks to be one of the most colorful movies produced by Pixar and this bright green flying creature only adds to that intriguing animation design.
Pepita is more than simply an interesting looking creation, however. Coco co-director Ardian Molina told Remezcla that Pepita plays the part of a spiritual guide for the great-great grandmother of the film's primary character, Miguel. Originally, Pepita was designed to be a Xolo dog, the same breed that travels with Miguel, though the one in the Land of the Dead, would be much more colorful. Eventually, it was decided to make Pepita an alebrije as the filmmakers wanted to find a way to bring the traditional figures into the story, and doing so opened up the character in different ways. There will apparently be several other alebrijes in Coco, all made up of different combinations of animals.
The alebrije is a creation of Mexican artist Pedro Linares who reportedly conceived of the creatures as part of a fever dream in the 1930s. Since then, the characters have become a traditional part of folklore, though not necessarily as part of the Day of the Dead.
Pixar's last two releases have been sequels to popular franchises (Finding Dory, Cars 3) and its got two more sequels planned for the coming years (Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4). However, in between the sequel-fest we have a single original concept coming with Coco. It promises to sound as good as it looks as the film makes music a key part of its plot, something else which is fairly new for Pixar. If you need an established brand to convince you to check out Coco, don't forget the film will be preceded by a Frozen featurette, rather than the traditional Pixar short.
Between Pepita, and the numerous skeleton characters that make up Coco, the new film looks to be a visually spectacular experience. We certainly can't wait to see the final product. Coco arrives in theaters November 22.