“Brave” Creator Brenda Chapman Quits Pixar For Lucasfilm

Brenda Chapman

From the No-Big-Surprise Department: Brenda Chapman, who developed Pixar’s Brave and was its original director before being replaced by Mark Andrews, officially ended her Pixar employment at the end of July. Pixar Portal reported on Monday that, “She is now working as a consultant for Lucasfilm animation, but wasn’t able to share any details about the project.” Chapman had been with Pixar since 2003. Prior to that, she co-directed the first DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt and served as story supervisor on Disney’s The Lion King.


  • Jett

    Good luck, Brenda! Can’t wait to see what you accomplish there!

  • wever

    Actually there IS a surprise in all this: why she didn’t do this sooner.

    • Sarah

      Pretty sure that if she wanted to get her name on ‘Brave’, she needed to “stay” with Pixar till it came out.

    • Robert Fiore

      My guess would be that she didn’t do it before now because of her contract.

  • http://ryanrosendal.blogspot.com Ryan

    Wow, Lucasfilm Animation’s stepping up; that’s a pretty big name to have on as a consultant.

    Can’t wait to find out more.

  • Schultz!!!!!

    It would be interesting to see the original Brenda Chapman script for “Brave”. Any chance this shows up from the script merchants?

    • wever

      Reportedly, the script was supposed to expand on Mordu’s back story which was supposed to be more prominent, thereby making the film darker.

  • A Writer

    I never got what happened over there. Anyone know why?

    • http://www.Segaltoons.com Steve Segal

      This is second or third hand, but I heard that they gave her several times to try and fix the story (story fixing is standard procedure at Pixar, as you know) each time the story problems were still there. This happened with Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille, those turned out better than Brave IMO.

      • Talita Fukumoto

        Pixar Brain Trust’s story fixing = “for every laugh there should be a tear”.

      • High Minded Civilian

        One can only wonder if these were actually “problems” or simply components that weren’t commercial enough…

      • Kevin Martinez

        And of course, “if it ain’t broke….”

        I’m sure that the “story fixing” is more about eliminating any idea the “brain trust” doesn’t personally approve of. Pixar’s movies haven’t had strong stories for years now.

      • hb

        “Pixar’s movies haven’t had strong stories for years now.”

        Please tell me when these “years” started. I don’t love every Pixar movie that comes out, and I am not particularly interested in the upcoming sequels, but as far as I can tell, Pixar’s only faltered in quality twice in the last 6 years: both Cars films (I say this as someone who’s only seen the first one, so forgive the assumption).

        I don’t want to be a Pixar apologist; I really like a lot of their films, but I’m not the head of any fan clubs. As a professional animator I do get irritated hearing my colleagues endlessly prattle on about how excited they are for the next Pixar flick, but I can’t stand it when people only speak in extremes or make wild exaggerations like the one you made. Yes Cars 2 was, presumably, not good, yes Monsters University is another sequel (or prequel), no Pixar hasn’t been bad for years.

  • Walt

    She a very talented person. I wish here all the best!

  • Eric Faulkner

    Odd thing is that Pixar use to be part Lucasfilm.

  • http://mrcontro.tumblr.com Tres Swygert

    Hopefully Brenda will get better opportunities to let her vision shine over at LucasFilms. Godspeed Brenda, we’re rooting for you!

  • Jason

    Keep it real Brenda!!!

  • Tanuki

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted."]

  • http://www.twitter.com/jasclarkewriter James Clarke

    This is very exciting news for sure.

  • Bud

    George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy are so lucky. Here’s hoping they listen to her!

  • Kevin Martinez

    So, Chris Sanders, Glen Keane and now Brenda Chapman have abandoned ship (each after having a major film ripped out from under them).

    Oh, yeah. Pixar is sure a great place for creative talent. sigh.

    • Bob

      Let’s not forget Brad Lewis (Cars 2) and Jan Pinkava ( Ratatouille)

      • Bud

        Well, Jan Pinkava, at least. I don’t think anyone considers brad lewis a “director.”

      • Bob

        The last time I looked he was credited with the director title just like Pinkava or Chapman was and that is all that matters.

    • hb

      Uh, Chris Sanders and Glen Keane left Disney, not Pixar. True Pixar was guiding Disney when Glen Keane left the company, but they had nothing to do with Chris Sanders leaving Bolt. Also, I think Glen Keane’s heart attack probably played more into him stepping back from directing than anyone ripping it away from him.

      And no offence to Jan Pinkava, but Ratatouille was great, so let’s not get into revisionist history or hypotheticals.

      Best of luck to Brenda Chapman at her new job. I’d say it’s now up to her to top Brave, but it seems everyone’s already decided based on no evidence that she would have done an infinitely better job. So she’ll be fine.

      • Bud

        [Comment removed by editors. Unless you have firsthand knowledge, don't post hearsay as fact.]

      • A

        Sanders left Disney after Lasseter took creative control, and it was the “brain trust”, namely Lasseter and Andrews that tried to make Sanders radically change the vision and direction of his “American Dog” (which became Bolt).
        Those irreconcilable differences in vision is what forced Sanders to leave.

    • Joe

      You know, I’m really glad that they left. Disney and Pixar are just too generic now, doing the same things over and over again instead of taking a chance on making something ambitious.

  • akira

    Brenda, please tell George to release the trilogy in original form or hand over the elements to Criterion and let them do it right! (this move would earn a lot of money, and respect back for Lucasfilm)

    this is great it seems like brenda is the type of person who would be able to point out some problems in the prequel scripts and casting, not just be a yes man like many of the others over there

  • Jennifer

    Good luck Brenda!

  • Mel

    It’s cool that she’ll get away from paranoid control freaks to work for George Lucas.

    • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

      Lucas is stepping down from Lucasfilm. He’s had it with geeks like myself who kept accusing him of raping their childhood memories ;)

  • Scarabim

    If Brenda is taking requests…heh…

    How about a CGI-animated Star Wars film featuring the original characters (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, Yoda etc.), in a new adventure and voiced by the original human actors?

    (Incidentally, I think that’d also be a good idea for the much-rumored Ghostbusters reboot).

    • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

      I think that those are the worst ideas i have heard all day… and today has been a stinker.. bloody heck, more lunch boxes anyone? I admire your satire

      let’s hope she enables the production of something that isn’t tired and used up.

      • Kevin Martinez

        Actually, that’d be a great idea… for George Lucas’ bank account.

        I’d much rather see Lucas use his massive clout to back up an original animated idea, like he did with Twice Upon a Time all those years ago. Maybe Brenda can steer Lucasfilm in this direction.

      • Mel

        The trouble is Lucas can’t forget that “Twice Upon A Time” made no money at the box office, despite its low budget. Too bad as it was a fresh technique in American feature animation in its day that wouldn’t make it past the concept stage in 2012 because cut out tissue paper is 2D.

  • http://MrFun Floyd Norman

    For years we’ve often heard, “There’s life after Disney.”

    Now, it appears there’s life after Pixar.

  • Slap Happy

    Brenda Chapman has been involved with a lot of good projects over the years but I cannot think of a single one where I’d consider her the author. Yes, I know animation is collaborative but the greats like Brad Bird and Chris Sanders have a definite signature. What is her vision? What is a “Brenda Chapman Film” like? I’d love to know because a lot of folk seem to hero worship her and – I just don’t get it.

    • BLUES

      Yeah I’m not sure what the hubbub is about. I guess it has something to do with people just being sympathetic because she’s apparently a victim of. . .something? It’s not that I’m trying to discredit her but like the above poster states, we just don’t know enough about her work to even have an opinion.

  • Rick Farmiloe

    Brenda has been involved with a lot of projects over the years and has been a major contributor to them all. I’ve known Brenda since she first started at Disney. Her mark is seen in almost every film she’s worked on. Head of Story on LION KING is a pretty huge credit, and she co-directed THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, which I animated on. BRAVE was HER idea, and most of what you see in the film is hers. I don’t think she’s getting attention due to sympathy or sexism. She gets attention because of her talent. I’m sure very soon we’ll all see HER vision, undiluted on the screen. Then everyone will know what the rest of us have known about her for years……she’s a major talent in the art of animation.

    • Blues

      That’s great but until she DOES make said masterpiece, I feel slightly uncomfortable about raising someone on a pedestal based on hearsay alone. Especially since the tendency is to vilify Pixar because of it.

  • Rick Farmiloe

    Then take Pixar out of the mix. She can stand on her own talent. I don’t think anyone expects a ‘masterpiece’ from her……just really nice work that stands out.

  • http://MrFun Floyd Norman

    “based on hearsay alone?”

    Miss Chapman’s career is NOT based on “hearsay.”

    Educate yourself.

  • Andrew

    I gotta say, reading these comments really makes me think that the industry I work in is extremely negative. So many of you sound so jaded and just like to rip in to people. You make these comments, but you don’t really know what you are talking about. Just be happy for someone and wish them the best… Have some integrity… For god sake, we are working on cartoons…

  • https://www.facebook.com/CounterCon?ref=stream jerrybrice

    I met Brenda Chapman when she was a suite mate in the dorms at Cal-Arts, and we all made our own student films and I can tell you, that she is one of the most talented and creative animation artist I have met..and I know some of the great ones…like Brenda.
    I recently had a conversation with Chris Sanders about getting our fellow alumnae from Cal-Arts to put together a screening of several of our student films from the 80′s so the fans will get to see their brilliance that was so clear to see even at that level.
    He is in to the idea…so is Bruce..and when it comes to pass, please show up, take notes, and like Rick Farmiloe told you, the general public of newbies and fans will get an inside view of us who know, that sadly , as seen by some of the comments here, the fans do not know, and have not had an opportunity to see what we can all do by ourselves, straight up with only our own god given creative ability.Believe me, Brenda is the real deal…