It’s been seven years since esteemed animator and storyteller Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature films. Studio Ghibli halted production of its mind-bending films, and many of its gifted employees went off to change the future of animation with Studio Ponoc, a new animation company responsible for the iconic film Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Modest Heroes. Fans across the world assumed they would never see a new Studio Ghibli film — luckily they were all dead wrong!
Miyazaki came out of retirement in 2017 to create one last film for his grandson (too cute). The creative genius has confirmed that Studio Ghibli is working on not one but two new films this year, one of which will be Miyazaki’s first feature film since coming out of retirement. Many past collaborators have returned to finish the new film, and numerous three-year contracts were issued upon its production launch.
The timeless Japanese animation studio revealed its plans in their annual New Year’s message, in which it detailed the news of a second project alongside its new Miyazaki-directed feature film How Do You Live? Miyazaki’s coming-of-age fantasy adventure was set to release before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. However, producer Toshio Suzuki’s recent predictions suggest that the film is more likely to be released between next year and 2022.
Studio Ghibli’s new announcement did not provide any other details about the expected release window for this film or the second title in development, but it did recap earlier announcements, including the studio’s upcoming theme park and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind kabuki stage play. The kabuki play is a Japanese dance-drama that follows the story of Nausicaä with traditional theatre makeup and an elaborate performance.
These fresh reveals come shortly after HBO Max acquired U.S. streaming rights to Studio Ghibli films, meaning that some of your favorites, such as Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and more, will be available on Warner Media’s new streaming service when it launches this spring.
Photos: Studio Ghibli