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Monsters At Work - What We Know So Far

Released in 2001, Monsters, Inc. helped to announce to the world that Pixar was destined to be a major force in the world of animation. It was only the fourth feature from the venerable animation house (behind 1995's Toy Story1998's A Bug's Life, and 1999's Toy Story 2), but it came packed with all of the elements we've come to expect from a Pixar film: a heartfelt, whimsical story, an absolutely stacked voice cast, and jaw-dropping, lovingly rendered animation — which was at the cutting edge of its era.

The flick stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman as Mike Wazowski and James "Sully" Sullivan, respectively, a pair of good-hearted monsters who help keep the city of Monstropolis running in their roles as premier "scarers" — monsters who harvest the terrified screams of human children as an energy source. The situation becomes complicated when Sully forms an attachment to one plucky little girl.

Monsters, Inc. spawned the 2012 prequel Monsters University, which follows Mike and Sully during their college years. That was the last word on the Monsters, Inc. world until Disney's D23 convention in 2019, where it was announced that the first flick would be getting a proper sequel in the form of Monsters at Work, a series from Walt Disney Television animation in association with Pixar, which is on its way to Disney+. It's only the second TV series (after the little-remembered ABC and UPN serial Buzz Lightyear of Star Command) to be based on a Pixar property. Here's everything we know about it so far.

What is the release date for Monsters at Work?

As is the case with most projects announced in 2019, Monsters at Work has undergone a bit of a delay from its prior announced release date. The series was originally meant to drop on the streamer sometime in 2020, but that plan had to be scrapped. Fortunately, we now know when that drop will occur, and we don't have too long to wait: Monsters at Work is set to premiere on Disney+ on Friday, July 2, 2021 (via Yahoo! News).

There are still a few unknowns at this time, however. Disney has not released an episode count, nor do we know how long each episode's run time will be. For that matter, it's not clear whether this is one of those one-shot limited series (as many of Marvel Studios' MCU-set Disney+ series will be, for example) or if we can look forward to multiple seasons with Mike, Sully, and their pals. 

It also hasn't been announced whether Monsters at Work will follow the weekly release model of Disney's other recent smash hit serials, Marvel's WandaVision and Lucasfilm's The Mandalorian — but it seems like a pretty safe bet that this will be the case. While folks used to the binge-enabling model of Netflix were initially reluctant to accept Disney's more traditional release schedule, it's pretty much been proven at this point that not only does the weekly drop not discourage anyone from watching, but it also helps to keep people talking about each new narrative wrinkle for much longer. In other words, Disney's episode release strategy ain't broke, so don't expect the Mouse House to try to fix it.

Who is in the cast of Monsters at Work?

Among the ingredients to be reliably found in any Pixar project: stellar casting. Monsters at Work is no different, starting with a quartet of players reprising their roles from the feature films. The series will star Billy Crystal and John Goodman as Mike and Sully, respectively; also along for the ride is Jennifer Tilly, who appeared in the first movie as Celia Mae, the one-eyed, snake-haired love interest. Finally, it just wouldn't be Pixar without John Ratzenberger, who has lent his distinctive voice to every single film the animation house has ever produced (except Soul, which featured his mug as an Easter egg); he'll reprise his role as the Yeti from the movies.

Along with these vets, Monsters at Work boasts an impressive cast of franchise newcomers. Ben Feldman, perhaps best-known for portraying Michael Ginsberg in the classic AMC drama series Mad Men, will star as Tylor Tuskmon, a recent MU graduate who will find that his major in Scaring isn't quite the employment guarantee it used to be. While working as a mechanic on the Monsters, Inc. facilities team, Tylor gets his shot to move up to the big leagues and join his idols, Mike and Sully, on the Scare- er, Laugh Floor. The monsters in Tylor's immediate circle are also cast with a bunch of ringers: Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) stars as his girlfriend Val, Aisha Tyler (Archer) portrays his mother Millie, and Henry Winkler (Arrested Development) appears as Fritz, his boss. Also appearing in supporting roles are Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Alanna Ubach (Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce), and Stephen Stanton (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

What's the plot of Monsters at Work?

According to the series' official synopsis (via Collider), Monsters at Work takes place six months after the events of Monsters, Inc., as the organization is adjusting to its new directive to harvest laughs rather than screams. The show will follow Tylor as he attempts to fit in after spending his entire collegiate career preparing to become a Scarer, only to find that the profession is now obsolete. 

Other than that, Disney+ hasn't given us very much to go on — but if Crystal is to be believed, the creative minds behind the show are onto something special. The star's enthusiasm for the project was obvious when he was asked about it during a sit-down with Collider in January 2021. "We've created all of the new, young, great characters with some great voice actors, and John and I are reprising our parts. I tell ya, it's [been] 20 years [since the first film], and that movie looked amazing 20 years ago," Crystal said. "[The new series is] fantastic looking, it's hilarious, and we're having a lot of fun doing it."

We're pretty sure the show's audience will have just as much fun watching it. Keep it right here, because we'll bring you additional details on Monsters at Work as they become available.