Ever wonder what new soul 22 has against Earth in Disney and Pixar’s hit 2020 feature film Soul? A new short from Pixar Animation Studios revisits the skeptical soul long before she ever met Joe Gardner. Debuting on Disney+ on April 30, 22 vs. Earth welcomes Tina Fey back to The Great Before as the voice of quick-witted and sarcastic soul 22.
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.”
Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Directed by Docter (Inside Out, Up) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short Lou), Soul features an all-star voice cast that includes, Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained), Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Angela Bassett (Black Panther), Ahmir Questlove Thompson (The Roots), and Daveed Diggs (Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid).
Soul is now streaming on Disney+.