We only just received Pixar's newest feature film Luca into our hearts, but the studio is already moving forward to promote it's next adventure. Interestingly, Turning Red will also deal with a story about a kid who can look both human, and like something very different. However, that's where similarities end, because the first trailer for Turning Red shows us a much more modern tale about a young girl who transforms into a giant red panda. It's like Teen Wolf, but cuter. Check out the trailer above.
Turning Red introduces us to Mei, a young girl in school who, when she realizes her mother has followed her and is spying on her for some reason, gets so stressed out, that it causes her to transform into a red panda. That would be weird and terrifying enough, except in this case the red panda also looks to be about five times her size. The trailer doesn't show us much more than her freaking out over the transformation, but I suppose that's not too surprising. Although, if the excitement that comes from turning back into a human is enough to force the change back into a red panda, then Mei is clearly going to have some trouble keeping all this under control.
The Teen Wolf vibes are pretty strong here. It's a modern story where a kid turns into an animal at school. Although, it actually looks like Mei might be able to escape this scene in the trailer without anybody, other than her mother, actually seeing what happened. And one gets the impression that mom is perhaps not as shocked by what she sees as she could be. It's likely why mom is spying on her daughter in the first place.
Turning Red was originally revealed at Disney's major Investor Day event at the end of 2020. It's directed by Domee Shi who previously won an Oscar for her animated short Bao. It was also revealed then that Mei, being a teen girl, is a fan of boy bands, making the inclusion of a Backstreet Boys song here likely not a simple musical choice.
Mei's mother is voiced by Sandra Oh, and while the movie's plot may ultimately follow a girl with a really strange puberty metaphor, the relationship between mother and daughter is likely the real center of the story, and the thing that will have people reaching for tissues in the theater.
And hey, Turning Red will likely be the first Pixar movie to open in theaters, and not see them close, since 2019's Toy Story 4. Onward was brand new in theaters when they were shut down in 2020 and the last two Pixar films were released straight to Disney+. Turning Red looks like it will be a welcome return for the animation studio. The film will open March 11, 2022.