Pixar films have found ways to tell more stories beyond just the traditional sequels, or in some cases, prequels. As we have seen in the past, the shorts revisit some of our favorite characters from their respective films as they encounter some unique, but never not funny, situations. And for “Soul” is getting a short of its own called “22 vs. Earth.” It will explore the origins of 22’s (Tina Fey) cynicism and why she is so against going to Earth.
Set before the events of “Soul,” the original short is directed by 21-year Pixar veteran Kevin Nolting. “While making ‘Soul,’ we talked about the why of a new soul not wanting to live on Earth, but it didn’t ultimately belong in that movie,” said Nolting. “’22 vs. Earth’ was a chance to explore some of the unanswered questions we had about why 22 was so cynical. As a fairly cynical person myself, it felt like perfect material.”
In the short, 22 defies the rules of The Great Before and refuses to go to Earth, enlisting a gang of five other new souls in her attempt at rebellion. However, as her cohorts’ activities lead to unexpected results, 22’s subversive plot may actually lead to a surprising revelation about the meaning of life.
“I think the new souls make the short so fun—the contrast of their pure innocence and delight with the cynical expectations of 22,” said Nolting. “The other new souls are what 22 once was before she took another path—purely innocent, blank slates to be guided by the counselors in their mostly uneventful journey to the earth portal. 22 sees an opening in that and attempts to guide them herself into her way of thinking.”
It seems strange that there needs to be an entire short based on the premise of how a soft and soft blue colored blob becomes so cynical. While Pixar has always provided an emotionally encompassing story that is both thought-provoking and entertaining, “22 vs. Earth” seems like a downer because of how it will all end up, even though we know 22 gets her happy ending.
However, if you are a fan of “Soul,” then “22 vs. Earth” may be for you, as you’ll get to see 22’s zany antics as she tries to recruit other souls to join her rebellion.
“22 vs. Earth” debuts exclusively on Disney+ on April 22, 2021.