Pixar's Soul: 6 Huge Questions After The New Trailer

Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner in Soul
(Image credit: (Pixar))

Following the suburban fantasy of Onward, Pixar has another emotional epic up its sleeves with Soul coming in just a few months. And if you thought Inside Out got really existential, get ready for this premise. The animated release will follow the soul of a middle school music teacher who accidentally falls down a hole just shortly after nabbing a jazz gig. Now that the full Soul trailer is out we have some burning questions about what’s to come in the emotional film.

Soul is co-written and co-directed by the new chief creative officer of Pixar Pete Docter, who has previously helmed Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out. In other words, he’s the guy responsible for our most teary-eyed Pixar viewings. The upcoming film stars Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner – the man whose soul goes on an adventure and Tina Fey is the voice of 22 – a soul who Joe meets along the way. Additional cast members include Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs and obviously John Ratzenberger. But now to the questions! Here’s what we want to know following that trailer drop:

the emotions in Inside Out, Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Anger

(Image credit: (Pixar))

How Much Will Soul Remind Us Of Inside Out?

As soon as the concept of Soul was revealed, the first thing that popped in our heads is Inside Out. Is this another adventure of its kind? The 2015 movie is undoubtedly one of the studio’s most crowning achievements, namely in the way it answered the question of what’s going on inside our brains. The filmmakers used some beautiful and clever creative liberties to take audiences into the minds. Our “trains of thought”, memories and specific emotions now have a completely new definition in many of our own heads. But, Inside Out set a really high bar. Is Soul attempting to build on the success of the Oscar winner? And how many ideas will be borrowed from it?

The Great Beyond in Soul

(Image credit: (Pixar))

Will Pixar’s Soul Depict ‘The Great Beyond’?

Now on to the nitty gritty of the trailer. As seen in our first full look at Soul, once Joe Gardner falls down the hole he finds his soul-self lined up with a ton of other souls who are heading to “The Great Beyond”. It’s basically another phrase for heaven and we never thought we’d see the day that Pixar would explore the idea of life after death. It’s one of humanity's biggest questions, but how will the studio address it? There’s a ton of competing ideas here between religious ones and everyone’s own personal theories about what life looks like after death… or if there’s anything in the first place. “The Great Beyond” is certainly teased in the trailer, but will we see it?

Tina Fey as 22 in Soul

(Image credit: (Pixar))

Is Tina Fey’s Character Supposed To Be A Baby?

As the trailer shows, Joe Gardner’s soul runs in panic from The Great Beyond and ends up in The Great Before, which is a place where souls begin their journey and become who they are. How Soul explains it, The Great Before is where “new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth.” By that estimation, this is the world that souls live in before they find themselves in their human bodies. This is where Joe meets 22 (Tina Fey), who is rejecting going to Earth. She then forms an unlikely friendship with Joe as he seems to try to convince her of Earth’s offerings. But for the time being, this concept is a little confusing. Does this mean if 22 decides to go to Earth she’ll do so in the form of a baby?

Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner in hospital in Soul

(Image credit: (Pixar))

Will Joe Gardner’s Soul Return To His Body?

Another massive reveal in the new Soul trailer is the fact that Joe Gardner seems to not be dead after all. He’s had a critical fall that has caused his soul to leave his body. As one might expect, since Joe’s soul refused to go to The Great Beyond, as long as he reunites with his body Joe will remain alive on Earth. We’re certainly interested to see how Pixar decides to handle Joe’s life in the movie. Will his soul’s adventure be just what he needs to return to Earth and live out his dreams in music, or will he not get there in time and allow Soul to be an examination of death? Considering Pixar’s big audience are families, chances are he’ll survive… but the studio has dealt with heavy subjects before.

Joe and 22 traveling in portal in Soul

(Image credit: (Pixar))

Do Joe and 22 Travel To Earth in Soul?

Near the end of the Soul trailer soon after Joe learns his body is alive in a hospital, he talks about having to go back. It shows Joe and 22 traveling through a large portal and then the scene cuts to the film’s title. It's not clear what’s going to happen. Will Joe and 22 end up at the exact spot where Joe’s body lies allowing him to wake up? Or is there more story involved for Joe’s soul to join into his body? Will the pair of souls be able to wander around Earth in real time and interact with what’s going on as Joe’s body lies there? That seems like something that’s more for ghosts to take part in. It’s a great tease because we still don’t completely know what to expect from Soul.

Soul trailer The Great Beyond

(Image credit: (Pixar))

Did The Soul Trailer Introduce Any Villains?

We expect most movies to have villains. It moves the plot forward and creates stakes. But after this Soul trailer we’re not too sure there are any. At the very end of the trailer, two figures notice their scales are off balance and are concerned about it. Does this mean they will be the threats that Joe and 22 must face? My guess is it will add a time element to Joe’s journey to return to his body. Maybe the unknown figures need to find out who is missing and then take them to where they belong: Joe to The Great Beyond and 22 to The Great Before. Or maybe Joe’s actions offset the balance so much that it messes with the system in some grander way?

The answers to these big questions will come our way when Soul hits theaters on June 19, 2020. Were you sold on the new Pixar movie after seeing the latest trailer? Vote in our poll below.

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.