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Minions: The Rise Of Gru - What We Know So Far

If there's one thing the world needs right now, it's more Minions. Yes, we mean that. Illumination Entertainment's most twee creations have been off our screens for far too long and, as we slowly return to theaters, it's about time we catch up with them on their many adventures. Luckily for us, a new installment in Universal Pictures' "Minions" franchise (a prequel spin-off of the ongoing "Despicable Me" animated franchise) is coming to theaters in 2022 — four years after the release of "Despicable Me 3." Within the "Despicable Me" franchise timeline, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" falls between "Minions" and "Despicable Me." Additionally, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is the fifth movie in what has become one of Universal Pictures' biggest franchises, with all previous "Despicable Me" and "Minions" movies collectively grossing approximately $3.7 billion to date (via The Numbers).

Directed by Kyle Balda ("The Lorax") with co-directors Brad Ableson ("The Simpsons") and Jonathan del Val ("The Secret Life of Pets 2"), "Minions: The Rise of Gru" will deliver to audiences another piece of the puzzle that is supervillain Gru's (Steve Carell) formative years as it transports us back into the groovy (or should that be "Gru"-vy?) 1970s when the egg-shaped ne'er-do-well was a young boy. Joining young Gru in "Minions: The Rise of Gru" are his many Minions, including Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, whom we met in the first "Minions" movie released back in 2015. 

Here's what we know so far about "Minions: The Rise of Gru," including the latest release date, the cast, and the plot.

What is the release date of Minions: Rise of Gru?

"Minions: The Rise of Gru" is expected to premiere theatrically on July 1, 2022. The second "Minions" movie has weathered a few notable release date shifts since its initial date was first set. At first, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" was slated for release on July 3, 2020 (via Deadline). The release date was announced in the same breath as news that the movie's was announced, too. However, in April 2020, Universal Pictures opted to push the release date back one year to July 2, 2021 (via CNBC). This was largely due to nationwide theatrical shutdowns and COVID-related concerns in the early days of the pandemic. 

Then, the release date shifted for a third time, earlier this year: in March, Deadline reported that Universal was once again pushing the "Minions: The Rise of Gru" release date to July 2022. Deadline noted the reason behind Universal's latest release date push was due to the studio's interest in allowing marketing partners to give the sequel their full promotional support, ostensibly in an effort to ensure promising box office returns on opening weekend.

Who is in the Minions: Rise of Gru cast?

The cast of "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is impressive, to say the least. As previously mentioned, Carell will once again voice the role of Gru, but it will no doubt be fun to hear the "Despicable Me" star tweak his voice performance to reflect a younger version of the character. Joining Carell are a few key supporting characters. Julie Andrews is back as Marlena Gru, Gru's imposing mother. Russell Brand will return playing a younger version of Dr. Nefarious, who will eventually grow up to be one of Gru's closest allies. And it wouldn't be a "Minions" movie without franchise mainstay Pierre Coffin, who provides the voices for main Minions Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, as well as additional Minions in any given scene. 

In addition to Carell and Coffin, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" will feature the voice talents of Taraji P. Henson, Alan Arkin, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo, Michelle Yeoh, and Russell Brand. Henson, Van Damme, Lawless, Lundgren, and Trejo each voice one of the members of The Vicious 6, the notorious villain supergroup Gru so desperately wants to join. Henson will play Belle Bottom, Van Damme will play Jean Clawed, Lawless will play Nunchuk, Lundgren will play Svengeance, and Trejo will play Stronghold. Alan Arkin will also appear as Wild Knuckles the former leader of The Vicious 6 before Belle Bottom took over.

What is the plot of Minions: Rise of Gru?

The plot of "Minions: The Rise of Gru" will transport audiences back to the 1970s, where a young Gru dreams of nothing but becoming one of the world's great supervillains. Per Universal Pictures' official page for the "Minions" sequel, "When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles, Gru interviews to become their newest member. It doesn't go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil." 

Gru's plans to prove himself to The Vicious 6 go even further awry when Otto, one of the newest members of his Minion horde, manages to lose the precious item Gru was hoping to use as a pawn in his negotiations to join The Vicious 6. And so, Gru, Otto, and the Minions must band together to fix Otto's mistake and evade the clutches of The Vicious 6, all in an effort to make sure Gru's dream of achieving supervillain status comes true.

Is there a trailer for Minions: Rise of Gru?

A full-length trailer for "Minions: The Rise of Gru" was released on February 5, 2020. The trailer arrived just a few days after a teaser for the upcoming "Minions" spin-off franchise installment was unveiled during the 2020 Super Bowl. The official trailer is equal parts high energy and light comedy as it introduces us to the continuing "Minions" franchise story. Over the course of nearly three minutes, the trailer reveals the pre-teen Gru attending an interview to become part of The Vicious 6. The interview doesn't go well, but Gru still manages to get the team's attention after stealing a prized item right in front of them. Gru is then seen making the fatal mistake of entrusting the object to Otto, one of his Minions, as he and the rest of the core minion gang ride off to fight The Vicious 6. Things then get very awkward when Otto proudly reveals he traded the item for a pet rock — news Gru is not too pleased to receive.

Although the official "Minions: The Rise of Gru" trailer has been out for well over a year at this point, it is quite possible that Universal Pictures will craft a newer trailer for the "Minions" sequel, as the July 1, 2022 release date gets closer. Keep your eyes peeled — this isn't the last we've seen in the way of footage from "Minions: The Rise of Gru."