Pixar’s Next Sci-Fi Movie Is Telling Exactly The Opposite Story To WALL-E

Pixar’s upcoming sci-fi movie Elio has a plot that tells the opposite of WALL-E‘s story. WALL-E was Pixar’s first foray into science fiction, and the story of the titular robot proved to be a critical and commercial success. Despite the popularity of WALL-E, Pixar hasn’t delved into science fiction very often; the only other film from the animation studio that could be considered sci-fi is 2022’s Lightyear (with the possible exception of projects like Cars and The Incredibles), which gave a backstory to Toy Story‘s Buzz Lightyear. It’s exciting that Pixar has developed another science fiction film, though its premise does share some similarities with WALL-E’s.


The teaser trailer for Elio shows Elio Solis, an 11-year-old boy, getting beamed up by aliens and taken to the Communiverse, an interplanetary organization with alien representatives from different planets. Elio is mistaken for the ambassador of Earth, and decides to keep up the case of mistaken identity after an alien mentions that Earth is on trial. With the Earth possibly in trouble, it may be up to the imaginative Elio to help save the world. Meanwhile, Elio’s mother Olga is working on a top-secret operation to decode alien messages. Elio‘s premise is certainly intriguing, and could make for a very fun watch if executed correctly. However, the sketchy details of the story suggest a completely different approach from WALL-E.

Pixar’s Elio Does WALL-E’s Story In Reverse

Elio being abducted by aliens in Elio teaser trailer

Interestingly Elio seems to be doing WALL-E‘s story in reverse. WALL-E was about a robot being thrust into a human environment and becoming Earth’s unlikely savior. Meanwhile, Elio‘s story is about a human being thrust into an alien environment, before presumably saving the day. Like WALL-E, Elio also finds the main character having to be Earth’s savior. Saving the Earth is a common sci-fi plot, but it’s interesting that Elio‘s version of the trope is basically an inverted version of WALL-E’s story.

Related: Pixar’s Elio: Release Date, Cast, Story Details & Everything We Know

It’s intriguing how Elio‘s plot mirrors WALL-E‘s. WALL-E is essentially isolated until the arrival of space probe EVE. Elio is also lonely before he’s beamed up to space and ends up befriending an alien. Both films focus on their protagonists becoming unlikely heroes in unfamiliar environments. However, though Elio and WALL-E have similar beats in their plots, the role reversal in Elio‘s premise is an interesting twist that does differentiate the film and keeps it from being a total retread.

Elio Is Tonally The Opposite To Pixar’s WALL-E

Elio looking concerned and confused in Elio teaser trailer

However, Elio‘s teaser trailer has shown that Pixar’s new sci-fi movie will be tonally different from WALL-E. WALL-E has a somewhat muted visual palette that was fitting for its dull, dystopian setting and very little dialogue. The first half hour of the film is mainly driven by its beautiful visuals. It’s also very much a heartwarming romantic story between WALL-E and EVE. On the other hand, Elio has an extremely bright color palette and its protagonist seems quite chatty, so the film will probably be more dialogue-driven. Elio seems more focused on comedy and adventure than WALL-E and has a higher energy compared to WALL-E’s quietness.

The tonal difference benefits Elio. The two plots may be comparable, but it seems that Elio will be using a different approach to the story than WALL-E. WALL-E is a beautiful and compelling movie, but a more comedic sci-fi movie can still be entertaining. It’s good that Elio is establishing its own tone and differentiating itself from Pixar’s other science fiction films. Elio has the potential to be a very fun adventure film and a worthy addition to Pixar’s sci-fi lineup.

Elio’s WALL-E Similarities Highlight A Pixar Problem

Wall-E looking up at the stars.

Elio‘s similarities to WALL-E highlight an issue with Pixar. While there’s only one trailer to go off of so far, it seems as if Pixar is rehashing ideas. WALL-E brilliantly executed its premise, and it’s unknown if Elio will handle its story with as much care. Pixar has been accused of recycling ideas in the past with its sequels, and it seems like its original films aren’t immune to this issue. If more similarities between Elio and WALL-E are revealed later on, this won’t bode well for the upcoming Pixar film and will serve as more proof that Pixar is running out of ideas.

Related: Pixar’s Elio Voice Cast Guide: What The Characters Look Like In Real Life

Still, it’s possible that Elio can further distinguish itself from WALL-E. It’s already got a different tone and a protagonist who is the polar opposite of WALL-E’s, and more plot details are sure to help Elio form its own identity. Though there are similarities to WALL-E, Elio‘s story is compelling in its own way. WALL-E offered astute commentary on humanity, but having a human be the protagonist of Elio gives the film a chance to explore humanity and identity differently.

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