Pixar has released the trailer for its upcoming flick Elio, coming spring 2024. Named for the adorable, polite boy at the heart of the movie, what little we’ve seen of the animated tale already hints at a joyful, heartfelt story. 

Elio’s mother works at what appears to be a NASA-like corporation, focused on studying—and waiting for—the first intergalactic communication. When that first alien message comes through, it declares a variation of a familiar message: “Bring us your leader.” As her equipment receives this message, though, Elio’s mother answers a phone call from her son, inadvertently sending poor Elio directly to the otherworldly source of the message. There, he is presumed to be Earth’s leader. (Has anyone else started singing “Queen of Mars” from “Phineas and Ferb” yet?) 

If Ambassador Grigon’s comment about a “trial” is any indication, Elio might have to prove to the Communiverse that Earth is a planet worthy of galactic existence. A spring release is perfect for the film, with Earth Day in April. It is clear that Elio’s perspective on his home planet—as well as ours—will change over the course of his defense. As is the case with all Pixar films, audiences will undoubtedly find themselves teary-eyed by the conclusion. 

Elio promises plenty of humor alongside its heart. Ambassador Grigon, who looks like a cross between Mr. Waternoose and Emperor Zurg, illustrates the comedy the film has in store. I’m sure audiences will laugh at the intergalactic cultural differences. (To any aliens reading this: no, we do not end our conversations with strangers by saying, “Okay, bye, I love you!”) 

Elio himself is sure to captivate audiences. He clearly has a big heart but is probably not a popular child in his class. His initial call to his mother seems to be a distress call from summer camp or a similar social event. Watching him gain confidence and find his place in the galaxy will be rewarding. Additionally, speculation has already begun over the patch Elio wears to cover his left eye. Online commenters think the patch might be a treatment for Elio’s amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye. This condition occurs in early childhood and can often be corrected by wearing a patch over the affected eye. If this is indeed Elio’s reason for wearing such a patch, he would be the first Disney/Pixar character to deal with amblyopia. 

Yonas Kibreab is the voice behind our hero. He is a thirteen-year-old actor with credits in “Raven’s Home,” “Sweet Tooth,” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” America Ferrera lends her voice to Olga, Elio’s mother, while Brad Garrett and Jameela Jamil are Ambassadors Grigon and Questa, respectively. This will be Garrett’s fourth time as a Pixar character. He also voiced A Bug’s Life’s Dim, Bloat from both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille. Jamil is also no stranger to voice acting, having most recently lent her voice to Wonder Woman in 2022’s DC League of Super Pets.

Elio was written and directed by Adrian Molina, a Pixar’s creative team member since 2007. Although he has worked on Monsters University, Luca, and Lightyear, to name a few, he is best known for creating the story behind and writing the screenplay for 2017’s Coco.

Elio will be Pixar’s twenty-eighth film. It is Pixar’s first feature-length project about aliens. 2006’s Lifted was a five-minute short, and although WALL-E takes place mostly in space, its non-mechanical characters are all human. 

“Elio” will be in theatres on March 1, 2024.