Pixar’s New Sci-Fi Movie Is Fixing The Damage Caused By Lightyear

Pixar’s new sci-fi movie Elio is repairing the damage caused by Lightyear. The upcoming Disney-Pixar animated adventure film is set to release on March 1, 2024. The film will be the first sci-fi Disney-Pixar movie since 2022’s Lightyear, which provided an original story for the beloved Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise. Although Lightyear was able to win over most critics and audiences, it still lacked in areas of the science fiction genre, leaving many feeling that the film was entertaining but uninspired.


The trailer for Pixar’s upcoming movie, Elio, introduced the fantastical story of a young misfit named Elio (Yonas Kibreab). Elio claims to the be leader of his home planet Earth to a council of intergalactic entities after suddenly getting abducted. The aliens perceive Elio as Earth’s galactic ambassador, while his mother, Olga (America Ferrera), works diligently on Earth to decipher messages from the aliens as part of a top-secret diplomatic operation. Based on the trailer alone, Elio appears to possess all the components of a successful sci-fi adventure film while still maintaining the core elements of Pixar’s legendary movies.

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Pixar’s Elio Is The Sci-Fi Movie Lightyear Could Have Been

Elio being abducted by aliens in Elio teaser trailer

Elio represents the type of immersive science fiction movie that Lightyear was aiming to encompass but ultimately could not pull off effectively. While Lightyear was able to produce some visually impressive moments and high-concept themes that felt true to the sci-fi genre, it was still missing the classic charm that has come to define Pixar movies over the past few decades. Elio seems to be able to hone in on the iconic Pixar brand of content seen in other instant animated classics such as Inside Out, Coco, The Incredibles, and more.

Lightyear had been somewhat creatively restrained due to its inspiration from the Toy Story franchise, which is some of the most celebrated and protected intellectual property that Disney-Pixar has to offer. The intense and stringent handling that likely went into creating Lightyear ultimately made it enjoyable to watch but also left it feeling somewhat safe and unimaginative. The seemingly uninhibited approach from Pixar to Elio‘s story, based on its trailer, implies that it could easily become one of Disney-Pixar’s most popular and original movies to date.

How Elio Is Different From Pixar’s WALL-E


Elio is set up to be Disney-Pixar’s first attempt at a true science-fiction adventure story, although one of its previous films, WALL-E, is also technically a sci-fi movie. WALL-E touches on the dystopian angles of a future world that becomes dull, robotic, and emotionless. Elio appears to take a broader, more universal approach that could expand the narrative possibilities for Disney-Pixar sci-fi installments for decades.

WALL-E is a visually driven film with minimal use of dialogue, whereas Elio contains bold elements of adventure, fantasy, and even comedy. WALL-E is also a robot isolated among humans, while Elio is a human among aliens, making the two protagonists essentially opposites. While WALL-E received much more critical acclaim than Lightyear, both films will likely feign in comparison to Elio which is already expected to repair the science fiction genre for Disney-Pixar and could potentially become its latest franchise.

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