Joe Gardner [is] a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz … Just when Joe thinks his dream might be in reach, a single unexpected step sends him to a fantastical place where he’s forced to think again about what it truly means to have soul. That’s where he meets and ultimately teams up with 22 (Tina Fey), a soul who doesn’t think life on Earth is all it’s cracked up to be.
Entertainment Weekly filled in a lot more plot details:
Soul… sees Joe accidentally dying after getting his dreamed-about job of a lifetime. His soul then ends up at You Seminar, a celestial space where souls are made and given personalities before sent off to human bodies. With his soul at You Seminar, Joe meets 22, a soul who loathes humans and avoids earth. According to Docter, she’s the teenager with the attitude: “You know, it’s all boring and dull. Who cares? It’s all stupid.” … Joe and 22 eventually team up and try to get his soul back to his body on Earth, which involves a journey through cosmic realms.
The film shares the inward-looking existential tone of Inside Out. In their design, the “souls” — wispy blueish sprites — even recall that film’s “emotions.”
Docter explains the story’s genesis: “It started with my son — he’s 23 now — but the instant he was born, he already had a personality. Where did that come from? I thought your personality developed through your interaction with the world. And yet, it was pretty clear that we’re all born with a very unique, specific sense of who we are.”
Soul will be the second original feature released by the studio next year, following Dan Scanlon’s Onward. This marks a change of course: four of Pixar’s last five features were sequels. Its last original feature was Coco, released in 2017.
Soul is co-directed by Kemp Powers, an established playwright, who wrote the screenplay with Docter and Mike Jones. The producer is Dana Murray, who was Oscar-nominated for the studio’s 2017 short Lou. The cast also includes Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, and Daveed Diggs.
The film will be released on June 19, 2020.