“Those guys are all middle-aged or older now and they’re not going to be the filmmakers ten years from now. They’re not going to necessarily be the ones that have their finger on the zeitgeist. And we knew that. Animated films come from people of their time, if that makes any sense. Just as John was, and Andrew, Pete, and Lee were when they made their first films.”
For the record, Docter, currently 51, Unkrich, 52, and Stanton, 53, will all be younger ten years from now than Morris is today. Apparently, it’s fine for older people to be studio executives, just not filmmakers.
Then again, perhaps Morris knows more about the plans for these filmmakers than he lets on in the interview. (Heck, we’d put money on either Bird or Stanton directing a film for a streaming service in the coming years.) Nevertheless, Morris’s suggestion that these filmmakers won’t be able to direct films at Pixar even if they wanted to is a peculiar way of showing gratitude to a studio’s most successful filmmakers, particularly the ones who have generated billions of dollars worth of box office revenue and developed memorable and iconic characters for a company. It would be interesting to learn if there’s more to this story.