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'Monsters University' Exclusive: Director Dan Scanlon Talks Prequels, Pixar Humor and Little Mike Wazowski

Sean OConnell

By now, you likely already know that Pixar’s latest, Monsters University, is a prequel that’s meant to explore how Monsters Inc. all-stars Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) met in college and learned to work as a team. It’s the first prequel in Pixar history, and a unique opportunity for Pixar fans to spend quality time with beloved characters in an original setting that inspires new jokes and unexpected character developments. 
 
For example, we get to meet elementary school-aged Mike, who might be one of the most endearing characters in the Pixar universe! More on him in a moment. 
 
A few weeks back, I was able to visit Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California to discuss Monsters University with director Dan Scanlon and his creative team of storytelling geniuses. We’ll have several clips from the Pixar visit as we get closer to release, but I’m starting with an audio podcast with Scanlon, who opens up about: 
 
 
 
- The way Pixar writers tailor jokes for parents as well as kids in each new Pixar feature.
 
- The ability to “hit the ground running” with Monsters University because it focuses on characters audiences already know and love.
 
- The fact that Monsters U. really ends up being Mike’s story, starting with the introduction of the adorable adolescent Mike, pictured below:
 
 
- The age range Pixar targeted with Monsters University
 
- The person who started him down the path of professional animation, and the inspirations he drew from early animation classics, so that he could finally get a job at Pixar. 
 
- And finally, the adjustments the animators made when working with 3D, helping to add a depth and impressive scale to Monsters University that really serves the story. 
 
We’ll have plenty more on Pixar’s Monsters University as we get closer to the film’s June 21 opening. For now, have you grabbed your tickets yet?
 
 

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