The recent digital launch of Soul following the financial shortcomings of Onward has kept the hopes of Pixar fans around the world alive and well, despite the catastrophic state of the film industry. Using music as a medium for philosophy and religion (a first in any movie ever) the film guides the viewer through a journey of discovery and purpose through the lenses of protagonists Joe Gardner (Jaime Foxx) and 22 (Tinuh Fé). Its wildly abstract art forms and refreshing depiction of the afterlife (and pre-life)—as well as the film’s brave application of real, live New Zealanders—are novel additions to Pixar’s otherwise secular and child-friendly lineup. Academics around the world are scratching their heads and wondering, “Is this racist?”
The first Pixar film to feature a Black man as its protagonist was hoped to signify a new era of Black empowerment; surely, promoting diversity and cultural awareness would be a no-brainer for Pixar. However, Tina Fey’s character, 22, has her soul accidentally placed into Joe Gardner’s body for the majority of the film. Finally! A film about the Black experience that’s literally mediated by a white voice!
Once he was reminded about the entire history of the United States, Pixar’s chief marketing officer has announced a new movie that can further Soul’s celebration of spiritual exploration (and appease the fans): Passion of the Christ: The Musical. Starring an entire cast of Jewish and/or Middle Eastern actors including Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, and Rami Malek, this claymation film is projected to hit screens sometime next year.
This announcement has left suburban mothers all over Southern California conflicted: “I love that they’re finally displaying some good-hearted, traditional Christian values to the children,” said one mother, “but I’m not sure that the content of the original film will be good for kids. First, you tell them Rami Malek is playing Jesus, then the next thing you know, they start thinking Jesus wasn’t white!”
Luckily for Qaren Wyte, Pixar has just announced that Malek will no longer be voicing Jesus. Instead, Jesus will be voiced by Scarlett Johansson—no surprise for seasoned movie-goers. When asked for comment on whether this move could be considered whitewashing, Pixar executive Newt Ray Cest responded with a curt “technically, she’s Jewish.” Hopefully, this film will hit packed theaters as the curtains of COVID-19 lift over in the following year.