In a story that resembles the second act of a Pixar movie that Bob Peterson would likely not be asked to direct, The L.A. Times reports that Bob Peterson has been removed as director of The Good Dinosaur (though not from Pixar), confirming rumors first floated by Blue Sky Disney that he was on his way out. Studio president Ed Catmull put a positive spin on the news, saying, “Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process,” presumably just before dramatically clearing his throat and pointing to a nearby Lone Ranger poster.
Suspicion that there might be trouble brewing with The Good Dinosaur began around Disney’s D23 Expo, where Peterson didn’t show up to present footage from the film about an alternate-universe Earth where dinosaurs never went extinct, and therefore endure the arguably much worse fate of having to get jobs and shit like that. Also casting a pall was the fact that the footage was reportedly fairly underwhelming, with some unfavorably comparing its main plot, a “mismatched buddy” comedy between a dinosaur and a caveman, to The Croods, now the ultimate in caveman movie-related disses. (Good news, Year One.)
That sense of worry apparently continued within Pixar’s offices, where Peterson has now been temporarily replaced by a rotating team—including Pixar chief John Lasseter, Toy Story 3’s Lee Unkrich, Brave’s Mark Andrews, and original co-director Peter Sohn—who will each tackle separate parts of the film as it hurtles toward its May 2014 release, like an asteroid that didn’t kill the dinosaurs Bob Peterson no longer works with. Again, were this only a Pixar movie, now would be the time that Peterson, rejected by those who no longer believe in him, goes on a journey of self-discovery and returns a stronger director, ready to save the day. Instead he’s just going to work on something else for a while. Real life sucks.