He also talks about why a “Nightmare” sequel won’t happen.
When Disney debuted The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993, there had not been anything quite like it before or since, especially coming from the Mouse House. Something truly spectacular took place once the studio gave up control of the production to the skilled hands of director Henry Selick, director Tim Burton, and composer Danny Elfman. This was a departure from the traditional princess storyline.
During the premiere of Wendell & Wild at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Collider’s Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with the stop-motion director Henry Selick. Wendell & Wild is the most recent collaboration between Selick and Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele. Naturally, the subject of Selick’s masterwork was brought up, and Weintraub, being a lover of the director’s work, inquired as to whether or not there were any future intentions to return to the Nightmare universe. Selick did have other ideas, though, despite the fact that a full-length sequel might not be in the cards just yet.
When it comes to sequels, producers and spectators are both aware of the potential downsides, despite the fact that it’s natural to want more from our beloved cinematic worlds. To paraphrase the character Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast, “If it’s not Baroque, don’t repair it.”
Despite this, the desire to create a sequel or prequel and the possibility of doing so successfully are always present and cannot be ignored. When Weintraub proposed the idea of remaking Nightmare for the Toronto International Film Festival, Selick confessed that a “sequel had come up multiple times. In the beginning, they would always say, “But CG will have to be the solution.” For me, that was not even a discussion worth having. That was the case for Tim Burton, for sure.”
Stop-motion animation, which provides the film with its distinctive look and is something that director Henry Selick is immensely enthusiastic about, contributes in no small part to the whimsical quality of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” making it one of the most iconic films of all time. Due to the length of time required to complete this style of animation, Disney is less likely to give the go-ahead for full production, but we were intrigued as to whether the director had contemplated taking the route of producing animated shorts.
At one time, Burton would have been content to make Nightmare into a short film if it meant that the studio would have given him the opportunity to bring his characters to life. In regard to the continuation of the story, Selick stated that “In the past, there was never any consideration given to producing a short… I believe that Tim is open to the possibility of a short.” and proceeded by noting, “It would have to be so revitalizing…such a new viewpoint in order to justify shooting a sequel, but a short film makes a lot of sense.”
The release of Disney+ has made it possible for the studio to publish additional content with the intention of expanding their respective universes. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have the option of either working their way through the One-Shot collection or watching the limited series, such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.
More recently, Disney has created Cars on the Road, which is a continuation of the adventures of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) through a series of shorts. In addition, Disney has released the I Am Groot and Olaf Presents series. The pressures of continuity, advancement and years’ worth of production are alleviated for creators when they are able to share more of these intricate worlds with their audiences in the form of shorter works such as these.
In the case of Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, the ability to investigate specific characters or parts of their world-building that couldn’t be covered in a single feature-length picture might be afforded to them by the format of a short film. Have any of us not been curious about what was hiding beyond the other Holiday Doors in the Hinterlands?
During the meeting, Selick took Weintraub’s concept and snowballed off of it, and the solution that he came up with is flawless. The director hinted at the possibility of producing “…a short that’s about Zero… his viewpoint of the world or a day in his life” as a special for either Halloween or Christmas. Moreover, he continued, which is encouraging, “I believe that to be an excellent suggestion and achievable. It’s my guess that Tim will support [it] then.” In all honesty, it makes absolutely no sense to not turn this into a collection of shorter films.
Wendell & Wild, Henry Selick’s most recent invention, will make its debut in select theatres on October 21 and on Netflix on October 28. The Nightmare Before Christmas is currently available to stream on Disney+. Have a look at the complete interview down below. You can fast-forward the video to the 19:50 mark if all you care about is what Henry Selick had to say about The Nightmare Before Christmas.
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