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Is Pete Docter Taking Over Pixar?

More bombshell allegations against Pixar and Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer were revealed this afternoon in Vanity Fair, the third piece with original reporting on Lasseter following the articles in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

But the most fascinating paragraph in the piece was the one in which a current Pixar employee described the studio in chaos, with “employees…reeling from the news, trading gossip, and coming to the realization that the culture has been toxic for several years.”

That employee also told Vanity Fair that the big rumor circulating around the studio is that Pete Docter may replace John Lasseter as chief creative officer.

There’s no way to know how serious the discussions have been about replacing Lasseter with Docter, and if they’re talking about a permanent replacement or just during Lasseter’s “six-month sabbatical.” Either way, Docter is as strong a candidate as any person at the studio. He’s a 28-year-veteran of the company who has worked on Pixar’s features from day one, and he’s also the director of three of the studio’s most beloved films: Monsters Inc., Up, and Inside Out.

If there is such a thing as the “Pixar touch,” that ability to combine sweet emotion with comedic deftness, Docter’s films have it. While that doesn’t necessarily mean he can handle Lasseter’s role, he’s a contender well worth considering.

People who have more details, drop us a line. Anonymity guaranteed.

  • fooeymcwooey

    Isn’t Andrew Stanton creative vice-something there? Wouldn’t he be next in line?

    • John Carter kinda ruined his chances of helming Pixar. That’s not a joke, the cost against it’s success didn’t fair well for his future.

      • jjstarA113

        But then he struck gold again with Finding Dory, which made over a billion dollars. I dunno – I’m not a business guy, but three out of four sounds like a good ratio to me.

        Though Docter sounds like the more tantalizing choice for the job.

        • Michael Howe

          I felt “Dory” was his ‘peace offering’ with Disney, after Carter.

          Maybe the same could be said regarding “Incredibles 2” with Brad, after “Tomorrowland” didn’t catch on.

          • Mesterius

            Sadly, I’m afraid you’re onto something. The Walt Disney Company was in a prime position to lay additional pressure on Stanton and Bird for sequels after their live-action outings for the company didn’t catch on. (Especially so with Stanton and “John Carter”, of course, but there’s an obvious pattern.)

          • Matthew

            One wonder how much that film’s failure played into the decision to double down on remakes.

          • Barrett

            It might have been part of it. But look, all anyone I know has said regarding Brad Bird, either in animation fandom or actual working artists, is “when are they going to do Incredibles 2?” Unlike most other Pixar properties, that film is the one that deserves 2-3-4 sequels, particularly if they’r helmed by Bird. I feel like many of Brad’s best creative years were wasted with him trying to get 1906 off the ground (which did indeed sound like an interesting project) and with stuff like “Mission Impossible” and “Tomorrowland.” I thought both were pretty good films, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of other live-action directors could have handled that material. Animated film is another animal, and all anybody who loved the Incredibles has wanted from him since 2005 is *more Incredibles*!

      • Strong Enough

        lolwut? More like it ruined his live action career. his animated movies all make the big bucks. besides after directing 2 episodes of Stranger Things 2 it’s obvious he wants to continue directing in live action so a full time gig at Pixar won’t work.

      • KW

        Uh what? No his animated films have still done exceptionally well and he directed two episodes of Stranger Things season 2. John Carter didnt kill his career.

    • natef

      Stanton probably isn’t interested in running Pixar full-time since he wants to do more live action filmmaking.

    • Hankenshift

      I don’t think he works there any more.

      • natef

        He still works there but isn’t currently developing a film of his own. He’s split between being an executive there and freelance live action development. Essentially what Brad Bird had been for the early part of this decade.

  • My Name is Rio

    Hopefully he won’t as it will perpetuate the good old boys club feeling Pixar has had for years, and should REALLY step away from.

    Ditto for Stanton who’s infamously known for his ego and not for his humility.

  • Anonymous

    But remember John Carter?

    (Waiting for the “But I liked John Carter” reply.)

    • Jwalker

      I forgot all about that film until I read this comment.

    • Strong Enough

      John Carter was great. The soundtrack is amazing

    • Valjean

      I unironically LOVED John Carter.

    • Mack

      I like John Carter. But considering I bought the Blu-ray for a buck at Dollar General–seriously, it was in a bin among D-list titles–I figured not many other people do.

    • dantes342

      It was an embarrassing mess, sadly.

    • Hankenshift

      John Carter was truly awful—and deserved to be as reviled a box office bomb— the largest in Hollywood history—as it was.

    • Barrett

      I still haven’t seen John Carter From Mars (they should have kept that title) but I do still intend to. It seems like everyone who has seen it either loves it or hates it, and when it comes to polarizing movies like that (see “Mother!”) I am usually willing to gamble and see what I think of the end product.

  • Lazer-Lion

    Here’s hoping they have someone who isn’t a disgusting creep like Lasseter.

  • Strong Enough

    Get Teddy Newton :D

  • Joshua the Bronyficent

    “Man, I look at the job that guy has, and I would fail miserably. [Laughs.] He’s amazing. Just all the different things he has to balance, and I don’t know how he fits it all in his head. It’s absolutely amazing. I do not want his job. [Laughs.]“

  • waterworld

    Replace Lasseter with a woman!

    • Sakata (D)

      Darla K. Anderson, maybe?

    • Capital_7

      NO! Instead force Lassetter to become a woman! So many diversity boxes checked at once!

      Let’s do this, Lassetter!

  • Mudpuppy

    Look, I’m not really one for hiring people based on gender/race/etc solely for the purpose of increasing diversity quotient, but there are visionary, incredibly talented female creators out there that could take Lasseter’s place and maybe help make it into less of a good ol’ boys club that so many people who have worked there complained it is.

  • PKSwoop

    If Pete gets to be the next Creative Director,
    he will not have as much time as he had before to
    direct more movies himself, and it’s a pity given his
    directing talent.
    On the other hand, he’s the best suited candidate to take this seat.
    What to choose?

    • tazzman

      I would make Darla Creative Director and keep Pete as a director.

  • CountvonCount

    Even before this news about Lasseter came out, I always felt that him being the head of two different studios was not the best idea. There’s no way any one person could split their time and energy in both places and still come up with the best quality stuff. And it’s very clear that while Disney Animation is in another renaissance because of John, Pixar has been suffering.

    • Barrett

      Wasn’t he ALSO supposed to oversee Imagineering/the parks? It was insane, and I never understood why Disney would do that except for desperation for change on their part, or because Lasseter was crazy enough to ask to run all of those things at once.

      Unless he’s like Dr. Manhattan, who can create duplicates of himself so he can build a nuclear reactor in one room while screwing his girlfriend in the other room at the same time, I just don’t see how he managed all of that (AND had his own winery in Sonoma AND apparently making time to get handsy or worse with numerous women.)

  • wookie

    Darla Anderson. She produced Toy Story 3. She’s part of the senior team. She’s badass.

  • Sakata (D)

    Docter is a good choice, but I don’t think he wanna take Lasseter’s position.
    What about Darla K. Anderson, at least for Disney Pixar? She is the producer of “Coco”.

  • dantes342

    Hmmmm…oddly, female creators never seemed to get much traction at Pixar to gain the necessary experience. Maybe none of them were huggable enough.

  • Newt Salamander

    Darla Anderson has been with Pixar since the 90s. She even produced some of the TV commercials they made before Toy Story.

  • Thalesourus

    Bring back Brenda Chapman to change the culture.

    • Matthew

      Would she even come back if they asked her?

  • dromens

    It’s strange that it’s his work as a Director that is used to illustrate that he has the “Pixar touch”. He’s helped to drive many of the stories since the beginning, many of them their most inventive.

  • tehnintendofan124

    I would of preferred Andrew Stanton or Lee Unkrich, but Docter’s a pretty good pick. Not my favourite Pixar director, but he’s definitely up there.

    Anyone at Pixar can be a better leader overall than Michael Eisner was to Disney, provided they don’t get blinded by arrogance and greed like he had been.

    That being said, I wonder what Pixar would look like if they picked Brad Bird…