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Pixar Soul Joe holding metaphysical pizza

Ryan Coogler’s been a member of the Disney family since he was brought on to direct and co-write Black Panther, the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coogler is continuing to contribute to the superhero franchise by helming and penning Black Panther 2, but now he has a foothold in different area of the Disney empire. It turns out that he’s credited on the next Pixar movie, Soul.

Soul drops on Disney+ Christmas Day, and if you look closely, you’ll see Ryan Coogler’s name in the credits. To be clear, Coogler wasn’t one of the main creative minds behind Pixar’s latest feature-length offering, but producer Dana Murray recently explained to Slashfilm why the Black Panther 2 filmmaker got a “special thanks” credit, saying:

He’s an Oakland guy, and we’re based in Emeryville. Being the friendly studio we are, we have a lot of space, and I think he was looking for a place to hide and write the films he’s working on. So we took advantage of the fact that he was around and asked him to take a look at the reels and we had a notes session with him, and he was really helpful. He’s a really nice guy.

So while Ryan Coogler didn’t have an active guiding hand with putting Soul together, because he was in the same area as those who were working on the Pixar movie, he provided notes from time to time. This sort of thing happens every now and then on major productions. For instance, Donald Glover gave Coogler some notes on the Black Panther script, and even George Lucas gave a suggestion for Solo: A Star Wars Story when he visited the set. So it was nice of Coogler to help the Soul folks out, and obviously appropriate of them to credit him in the final product.

The 23rd Pixar movie (and arriving nine months after its predecessor, Onward), Soul follows Jamie Foxx’s Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher who finally gets the opportunity to play jazz onstage. However, he then suffers an accident that puts him at death’s door and separates his soul from his body. Initially forced to embark into The Great Beyond, Joe manages to escape to The Great Before, the world where should are given personalities, quirks and traits before they’re sent to Earth. Joe must work with these souls-in-training so that he can return to his body before he dies. The cast also includes Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett and Graham Norton.

Going back to Ryan Coogler, he scored the Black Panther gig after directing 2013’s Fruitvale Station and 2015’s Creed, both of which were critically and commercially successful. Black Panther also performed admirably, not only scoring critical acclaim, but also crossing the $1 billion mark, making it the second highest-grossing movie of 2018 (second only to fellow MCU entry Avengers: Infinity War). So it’s hardly surprising that Marvel Studios decided to bring Coogler back for the sequel.

No Black Panther 2 plot details have been revealed yet, although the sequel’s development was complicated by Chadwick Boseman’s passing at the end of August. Last week, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that T’Challa will not be recast for Black Panther 2, meaning that someone else will inherit the Wakandan mantle. The confirmed cast members include Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett and Winston Duke, and Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta is in talks to play an antagonist.

Black Panther 2 is expected to begin filming next June and currently slated for July 8, 2022, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on its progress. Once again, Soul will premiere on Disney+ December 25, and if you’re not already subscribed to the Mouse House’s streaming service, you can use the following link to do so.

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