Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, Gabrielle Union, and Jaboukie Young-White have joined Strange World. They join previously announced Jake Gyllenhaal as key cast members for the Walt Disney Animation Studios feature. The full voice cast was revealed during a Walt Disney Animation Studios showcase at France’s Annecy Animation Festival.
Strange World’s official synopsis reads:
“The original action-adventure journeys deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest — and by far — most crucial mission.”
The Clade family is composed of: Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a farmer who finds himself thrust into an adventure in a strange world; Quaid as Searcher Clade’s larger-than-life explorer father Jaeger Clade; Young-White as Ethan Clade, Searcher’s 16-year-old son who longs for adventure beyond his father’s farm while also navigating a school crush; and Union as Meridian Clade, a pilot and natural leader, mom to Ethan, and wife of Searcher. Lucy Liu voices Callisto Mal, the head of the land of Avalonia and the leader of the exploration into the strange world.
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During their presentation, Disney presented three sequences (totaling more than 10 minutes) of Strange World. The first sequence showed a young Ethan flirting with his crush Diazo as his father approvingly looks on. The second sequence featured the Clade family deep in exploration mode inside a bright green aircraft when an attack causes Searcher and his dog Legend to fall out of the aircraft. The final sequence showed Searcher and Legend meeting Splat, a blue bob that Strange World producer Ray Conli warned “might become your favorite character.”
According to director Don Hall, Strange World is an homage to the popular pulp magazines of the early 1900s that were printed on cheap pulp paper. In an official statement released last December, the director said:
“I loved reading the old issues of pulps growing up. They were big adventures in which a group of explorers might discover a hidden world or ancient creatures. They’ve been a huge inspiration for Strange World.”
Strange World is directed by Oscar-winner Hall (Big Hero 6) and Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon). The animated feature is produced by Conli (Tangled). Strange World is scheduled for release on November 23.
Disney at Annecy
During Disney’s presentation at the Annecy Festival, Oscar-winning filmmaker and Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios Jennifer Lee received the festival’s Honorary Cristal Award. Lee is best known for writing and directing Frozen and Frozen II. She earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Frozen. While receiving the Honorary Cristal Award, she said:
“We look ahead, together. The ‘we’ is more important than ever as our studio can only truly shine when everyone feels welcome, feels the pride and responsibility of our legacy, and feels inspired to create, together.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios also released unannounced episodes of Baymax! and Zootopia+. Baymax! is Disney Animation’s first-ever series. It centers around the Big Hero Six character (voiced by Scott Adsit), as he sets out to help others. Zootopia+ is a short-form series that features some of film’s most popular characters, including Fru Fru and Flash.
Baymax! debuts June 29 on Disney+ while Zootopia+ makes its premiere on the streamer on November 9.