On November 29, 2016, Director Jorge R. Gutiérrez tweeted a movie poster for The Book of Life 2. An accompanying message simply said, “Who wants to see this movie? Asking for a friend.” After getting our hopes up, Gutiérrez – who wrote The Book of Life – actually explained that the poster was for Sequel, an art exhibition that has creatives come up with posters for possible sequels. But on Wednesday, at this year’s Annecy Festival, he announced that TBOL2 is actually happening.
According to Variety, Gutiérrez will direct the 3D film, which will follow the characters we meet in part 1. “The sequel grew from that and people asking what was gonna happen with the characters, what’s gonna happen to the gods? The sequel embraces all these things and, in a weird way, is a continuation of the story with everybody you love from the first movie.”
Hopefully, this means that we get to hear Diego Luna sing once again. In the first part, Luna played Manolo Sánchez, a bullfighter who really wants to be a musician. Therefore, we’re treated to Luna’s cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Maria (Zoe Saldaña) lies at the center of the story. In the Mexican town of San Ángel, best friends Joaquín (Channing Tatum) and Manolo vie for her love. When La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and her husband (Xibalba) – two spirits from the Land of Remembered – take note of the love triangle, they place bets to see who will win María’s hand in marriage and set the lovers off into a wild and richly colorful adventure unlike any other.
The follow up to the highly successful animated movie is only in the beginning stages. But Gutiérrez already knows what questions he hopes TBOL2 will answer and he knows he wants to work with the same team again. Guillermo del Toro produced the Book of Life, and Gustavo Santaolalla wrote songs for the film.
Reel FX’s CEO Steve O’Brien describes the Dia de Muertos-themed movie as “one of those rare films that has really continued to build long after its release. There is an amazing and passionate underground fanbase.” And it’s likely that no one knows that better than the team behind Pixar’s Coco. Just like The Book of Life, Coco explores Dia de Muertos. Some fans of TBOL believe Disney movie is ripping off Gutierrez’s work, according to Polygon. In actuality, Pixar’s Lee Unkrich pitched Coco – which was originally going to be called Dia de los Muertos – after Toy Story 3‘s theatrical release in 2010. In 2012 – the same year The Book of Life went into production – Pixar first announced the film. There may be other reasons to criticize the Pixar flick, but stealing Gutiérrez’s work is not one of them.
For his part, Gutiérrez doesn’t feel any animosity toward the team at Disney. In fact, on multiple occasions, he’s said he’s rooting for them.