If you're reading that headline and wondering who Circle 7 is and why they'd be making a sequel to a Pixar property like 'Monsters Inc.,' allow us to fill you in.

Back in 2004, it appeared as though Disney and Pixar would part ways after negotiations for a new deal to extend their partnership fell through. Pixar was unhappy and felt they'd be better off teaming with another studio. Disney, meanwhile, prepared to move ahead on sequels to popular Disney Pixar franchises without the Emeryville-based animation studio's involvement. To start the process, managers at Mickey's house formed Circle 7, a new animation studio that would work on those very sequels.

Circle 7 had begun working on several projects before Disney acquired Pixar in a 2006 deal. When that happened, all development on those films at Circle 7 stopped and the materials that had been produced were scrapped. Part of the new deal was that no one but Pixar employees would work on Pixar projects.

At the time of the deal, Circle 7, which critics took to calling "Pixaren't," was working on early versions of 'Toy Story 3' and 'Monsters Inc. 2.' Naturally, those projects never came to fruition, and the labors of the Circle 7 folks were considered lost forever when Pixar's head, John Lasseter, refused to even look at any of the material the studio produced because he didn't want the vision of others influencing Pixar's work. However, the Internet is a funny place, a giant repository for all sorts of things. And thanks to screenwriters Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir, we have a peek [via JHM] at an early concept art trailer for their take on 'Monsters, Inc. 2.'


For years, people in the know have claimed that Circle 7's 'Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost in Scaradise' was every bit as good as Pixar's original and maybe even better. We'll never know if that was really the case, but the new clip comprised of storyboard art is still quite cool and hints at a sequel that had a lot of potential.

In the follow-up, Sulley and Mike return to see Boo, only to discover she's no longer living in her house. Since the last time our monsters saw her, Boo and her family have moved, and Sulley is so determined to see her that he's willing to cross into the human world to find her. The catch is Sulley and Mike can't get back to the Monstropolis until they find Boo. That sets off a series of new adventures for the duo.

It sounds like a cool tale, and it has nothing to do with the 'Monsters, Inc.' prequel Pixar is currently working on. Watching the above clip, it's sad to know this film and Circle 7's take on 'Toy Story 3' (you can see concept art for that at /Film) will never see the light of day.