D23 EXPO: “Finding Dory” Gets “Modern Family” Flavor With Ed O’Neill & Ty Burrell

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After years of public campaigning, Ellen DeGeneres has finally got her wish with a Finding Nemo sequel. This time, she’s the one being found in Finding Dory, a movie directed by Nemo helmer Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane (Toy Story of Terror).

Andrew Stanton thought his story was finished, and that he could move on from Finding Nemo. Nope; he couldn’t let go of how he left Dory. Where’s Dory’s family? He wanted more development for the character, and that’s what inspired Finding Dory, a film scheduled for June 17, 2016.

Ellen DeGeneres, who crashed the D23 EXPO for the panel, will be rejoined by Albert Brooks’ Marlin, Heydon Rolence will take over the role of Nemo (because the original actor is now 21 with a much deeper voice), and be joined by some comedy stalwarts.

Dory’s parents, Jenny and Charlie, will be voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, respectively.

After an accident and a head injury thanks to some violent undertow, Dory gets a flashback, and a memory of her family, even if it’s short-lived. All she knows is that she has to get to the Jewel of Monterey, California, and Marlin begrudgingly joins, and Nemo excitedly joins for the adventure to find Dory’s family. All we know of Marlin’s involvement comes at the end of a clip when they agree to go to Monterey, when he grumbles that “I know a guy” who can help them across the ocean. Returning character alert!

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (ABC/Image Group LA) ED O'NEILL, ELLEN DEGENERES
(ABC/Image Group LA)

Their quest will take them to the Aquarium of Marine Life in Northern California, a center that rehabilitates injured fish, where we’ll meet Hank the cantankerous and 7-limbed octopus, voiced by Ed O’Neill. To keep with the Modern Family theme, Ty Burrell will lend his comedic talents to Bailey, a beluga whale with echolocation skillz who thinks he’s suffering from a head injury, but doesn’t realize that that’s just how whale shark heads look like.  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actress Kaitlin Olson rounds out the casting announcements as Destiny, a confused whale shark unsure of her identity.

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (ABC/Image Group LA) TY BURRELL
(ABC/Image Group LA)

Finding Dory‘s stated theme is that our shortcomings aren’t our downfall, but what define us, and make us special. Aw. In the clip to close out Finding Dory‘s time in the spotlight, we find Dory, accidentally taken into quarantine at the Aquarium, where she meets the expertly camouflaged and sly Hank, trying to sneak his way INTO an aquarium in THE Cleveland. This is a creature who wants captivity, suffering from trauma in the wild, and like Marlin, is grudgingly willing to help Dory find her family if she can help him book his way into the good life in Cleveland.

I’m just happy that Cleveland is getting referenced in Finding Dory. A LeBron James voiced fish can’t be far behind. Either way, Andrew Stanton and company surely have another hit on their hands (flippers?).

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