“Finding Dory” is the long-expected sequel to Pixar’s 2003 animated feature “Finding Nemo”. Although more than a dozen years have passed here in the real world since Nemo set the kiddies hearts aflutter, the official Disney press release for the Finding Dory movie says the story will take place a scant one year after the events of its much-heralded predecessor. (I guess when you’re Disney you can pretty much play with the space-time continuum to your heart’s content.)

Finding Dory, which re-unites talk show host Ellen Degeneres with the little blue tang fish from the 2003 feature, will have some hefty saltwater shoes to fill as Nemo was nominated for numerous Academy Awards and won in the Best Animated Feature category. Finding Nemo also went on to be named one of the ten best animated films ever made by the American Film Institute and is currently among the highest grossing animated films ever. So Dory has her work cut out for her if she’s to crawl out from under the shadow of her ginormous predecessor.

It also remains to be seen if fans of the original will be of a mind to watch Finding Dory after having grown into adults while they waited for the sequel to slog its way through development. It could be the film will need to target an entirely new generation of viewers or it could be that we’ll discover Nemo’s fans are just as rabid and unwilling to let go as the 50-somethings who kept heading back to the multiplex this past holiday season to watch Star Wars: The Remake Awakens.

Storyline

Although Disney is being coy with story details, a few have leaked and paint a picture of our favourite amnesiac Dory undertaking a quest to be reunited with her family. The coast of California will supply the setting for story. Executive Producer John Lasseter recently let slip during an interview at the Cannes Film Festival that Dory’s quest would take her to abandoned shipping containers on the ocean floor and through a kelp forest off the northern coast of California. She will apparently also have a frightening encounter with a giant squid and make some new friends along the way, including a shark named Destiny who thinks she’s a whale and an octopus named “Hank”.

Finding Dory will also see the return of Nemo himself (voiced this time around by Hayden Rolence in what will likely be little more than a glorified cameo if the casting hierarchy on IMDB is any indication), as well as Marlin (Albert Brooks) and the Tank Gang.

Misc.

13 years ago Finding Nemo had a budget of $94 million and went on to gross nearly 10 times that amount worldwide. As of this writing I’ve been unable to find a budget for Finding Dory online but you can be fairly certain it will be juuuuust a tad higher. The fact that Dory the character has some 25 million likes on Facebook probably indicates the film won’t have much trouble making back its production budget no matter how large that actually turns out to be.

Finding Dory will no doubt be one of the tentpole animated experiences of the summer of ‘16. With an impeccable pedigree and years of pent up anticipation filling its sails, it’s possible that Dory will become only the 4th animated feature to navigate across the $1 billion mark worldwide (5th if Zootopia manages to find a final $50 million somewhere and sneak across the line in the meantime.)

Watch Finding Dory at a theatre near you beginning June 17th or watch the full movie here for free!