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Feature Film

Hayao Miyazaki’s Retirement Officially Over — New Details on How It Happened

The news has been floating around for a while that Hayao Miyazaki was ready to un-retire and directed another feature film, but it wasn’t until this past Thursday that the news was made official by Studio Ghibli chairman Toshio Suzuki.

Suzuki dropped the big news at an Oscar event celebrating the nominated features that took place at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, California. Cartoon Brew was in attendance at the event and was among the first media outlets to report the news with this tweet:

Suzuki was attending due to his role as a producer on Michael Dudok de Wit’s Oscar-nominated feature The Red Turtle. (Dudok de Wit did not attend because of the César Awards that took place in Paris yesterday.) Dudok de Wit’s film, indeed, played a role in bringing Miyazaki out of a self-imposed “retirement” that he announced with great fanfare in 2013.

At the end of the discussion about The Red Turtle, one of the event moderators, Pixar director Pete Docter, asked Suzuki if he had any other news that he wanted to share about what was happening at Studio Ghibli nowadays.

Suzuki, through a translator, gave a long answer about how Hayao Miyazaki had approached him last July with about 20 minutes’ worth of storyboards for a feature idea. Miyazaki wanted to know if the idea was any good. Suzuki joked that he knew if he told Miyazaki the idea was good, he could forget about his own retirement, but he told Miyazaki that the idea had promise and that he should keep developing it.

Miyazaki, said Suzuki, was in part motivated by the production of Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle to return to feature filmmaking. Though The Red Turtle was animated in Europe, Miyazaki watched Suzuki produce the film and kept close tabs on its production.

Suzuki decided in December 2016 that Miyazaki’s film was solid enough to produce, and they’re now gearing up to produce the feature. In other words, this is a story that’s just getting started.

  • Marti386

    I swear, if I had a nickle for every time Miyazaki un-retires, I could retire. :P

    • At this point, they might as well be called sabbaticals.

      • Marti386

        “And in other news today, Hayao Miyazaki returned from vacation…..” :D

    • Mermaid Warrior

      When he dies, he’ll probably come back to life after a year to make another movie.

      • KW

        It’ll be like a Tupac thing. They’ll keep making movies based off unreleased scripts, drawings, and storyboard

  • Memorian

    I was more sad about Studio Ghibli producing less to no feature length films than Miyazaki retiring….. because I knew he’d be back lol. It’s in his blood. He’s the type of artist that if he has a story he has to get it out. He just has that kind of creatively restless mind. Honestly he should just stop saying he’s retired and say he’s going on a break.

  • Felix Sputnik

    Possibly the greatest bit of news on the planet.
    At least for me.

  • ea

    Knowing his politics, I wonder if the election of a certain leader had anything to do with his unretirement…

    • Too Many Cooks

      Aha! Trump was right! We won’t stop winning after all!

    • He started storyboarding this before Trump won the election. Don’t expect something overtly political. But it’s possible that some aspects of the story may be a response to the current US administration, like Howl’s Moving Castle was to the Iraq war…

    • Akira Kurusu

      Does Miyazaki actually care about US politics?

  • “Miyazaki unretires”

    That’s all I need. Let’s go!

  • Ed-S

    I’m looking forward to this next outing from him.